Our kids are smart, our banks are sound, our health care system is humane, our democracy is stable—but technological change is about to disrupt our economy and threaten our way of life. Canadians aren’t ready for the race to the future. Can we still catch up—or even win?
Yes, says Anthony Lacavera, one of Canada’s most successful entrepreneurs and venture capitalists. His new book “How We Can Win,” co-authored with journalist Kate Fillion, shows that we need to change the way we think and talk about our own abilities—dream bigger, aim higher and go for gold, not bronze.
We also desperately need to change the way we do business. Our dominant business culture is traditional, backward-looking, insular, timid, greedy, unoriginal—everything that Canadians themselves are not. And that unCanadian business culture, protected by outmoded regulations and government policies, is stifling our economic growth.
Lacavera faced those roadblocks himself, when he was building WIND—an epic battle against the big three telecommunications giants in Canada he draws on in the book as his “Exhibit A.” But he’s certain we have the talent and the brains to tear those roadblocks down, because he’s seen the evidence in the dozens of start-ups he’s staked with his own money and in the entrepreneurs he mentors in our country’s excellent business incubators. He argues that Canada’s most important natural resources are this new breed of entrepreneur, whose businesses are Canadian to the core but also internationally competitive. But we are shipping far too many of them to the United States, gift-wrapped in our tax dollars. They don’t want to leave—they’re forced out because it’s just too difficult to build big, bold businesses in Canada. That has to change.
Urgent, exciting and provocative, “How We Can Win” shows us a multitude of ways that Canada can own the podium in business in the digital age. It will be on sale on October 3rd.
From the introduction of “How We Can Win”:
“We are up against countries that already have a big lead on us because they got started earlier or because they have advantages we don’t have, or both. Simply to catch up, we must embrace competition. If we want to win, we have to do even more: let go of some cherished egalitarian ideals and focus our energy and resources on those sectors, companies and people that have the very best chances of succeeding. If all this sounds a little too aggressive and unCanadian, consider what’s at stake: our way of life.”
ANTHONY LACAVERA is best known as the founder and CEO of Wind Mobile, which he sold for $1.6 billion after it grew to become Canada’s fourth largest wireless carrier. A serial entrepreneur, he started his first business right out of university. As a venture capitalist, he has a significant stake in dozens of start-ups in Canada as well as the United States; as a mentor and investor, he’s heavily involved in our most successful accelerators and incubators, including MaRS, Creative Destruction Lab, DMZ and Next Canada. The founder and chairman of Globalive Capital, a venture capital firm, Lacavera has done business in more than thirty other countries, ranging from producing plays on Broadway to raising more than $2 billion in capital from Russian oligarchs, Egyptian telecom magnates and a host of colourful VCs from Silicon Valley to the Netherlands. He is a regular commentator on Bloomberg TV.
KATE FILLION is a bestselling author and journalist who lives in Toronto with her two sons.
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