As I travel the globe representing Honk; the innovative Canadian payment app transforming parking, 9 times out of 10 my introduction is immediately greeted by a joke about how difficult it must be to find parking near my igloo “eh?”. Original, I know.
Igloo jokes aside, I pride myself on being an ambassador abroad and can talk about my love for hockey with my boys, hiking the Rockies, and canoeing and portaging through our great country’s lakes and rivers. There’s never a dull moment living in the Great White North.
When I reflect on the reasons I love this country (poutine offerings aside), I become even more thankful that Honk is Canadian. This past year, Honk has been able to expand from coast to coast – quite literally, from Victoria, BC to Corner Brook, Newfoundland. Partnering with municipalities, universities, real estate owners and parking operators to get Canadians to their destinations faster and more efficiently. This growth is largely driven by Canada’s increasingly favourable business environment for tech – “Silicon Valley North”. This label is no myth. Honk, like many other startups, are thriving in Canada’s innovative, diverse and rapidly growing tech hubs.
Canada’s welcoming business environment leads the G20. We benefit from having access to one of the most highly educated workforces in the world, rapid growth in research and development, low business costs and flexible immigration. Venture capital is on the rise with investors from all around the world looking for a piece of the action. The message has never been clearer – Canada is open for business.
But this isn’t simply a fleeting boom. I’ve been in the tech industry for over two decades and this is like nothing I’ve ever seen before. The energy is different and most importantly, so are the results. Canadian tech companies are now emerging as leaders on the world stage and this success is contagious.
The Great White North is a startup nation. This is our moment.
Our 150th gives us an opportunity to not only reflect on the past but also plan for a brighter future. I believe the best is yet to come for our young nation. Success won’t come easy and Canadian tech entrepreneurs need to build quickly on this momentum.
We must tell our story to get ahead, even if that means putting politeness and humility aside. Canadians must support our own businesses first and prioritize their success. Our tech leaders must be bold, embrace inevitable failures and continue to welcome the best and the brightest with open arms.
Fellow Canadians, we have so much to be proud of this holiday. Happy Birthday to our beloved nation – now, if I could just park my truck in my igloo..
Founder and CEO of Honk