10 Most Creative Entrepreneurs in Canada

Monday, March 7th, 2022

10 Most Creative Entrepreneurs in Canada

Imagine an entrepreneur. Perhaps you imagine a young man in a crisp suit receiving his MBA. In fact, that image does not represent many of the greatest entrepreneurs. The entrepreneurial spirit comes in all shapes, sizes, and nationalities. Today, let’s explore the 10 most innovative Canadian entrepreneurs and see what they can teach us about business.

Carinne Chambers-SainiCarinne Chambers-Saini

Carinne Chambers-Saini did go to business school, but that’s where the entrepreneur stereotypes stop. Fresh out of university at 24, Chambers-Saini set out to create a menstrual product that was visually appealing, sustainable, and widely available.

Thus, the DivaCup was born. Chambers-Saini knew she had a revolutionary product on her hands, the problem was getting some supporters on board. Chain stores were not interested in the DivaCup, so Chambers-Saini ran the business from home until the chain stores realized that she had been right from the beginning.

 

Mike LazaridisMike Lazaridis

The name BlackBerry is virtually synonymous with early smartphones; however, few people know that it was founded by a Canadian. Mike Lazaridis founded Blackberry in 1984, a company that eventually made him the 17th wealthiest Canadian.

Mike Lazaridis has used his money responsibly, contributing significant sums to Canadian engineering programs. He invested so much into the business school at Wilfred Laurier University, that the university renamed their business school The Lazaridis School of Business & Economics. Lazaridis founded Quantum Valley Investments with Doug Fregin in Waterloo, investing in the Canadian tech sector and working to bring tech jobs to Canadians. Lazaridis is a great example of how successful entrepreneurs can mentor and support young entrepreneurs.

 

Anna Sutherland BissellAnna Sutherland Bissell

For our next entrepreneur, let’s head back in time a bit. Canadian-born Anna Sutherland Bissell was the first female CEO in the United States. She became the CEO of the Bissell company in 1889, stepping up from her job as a salesperson when her husband, the founder and first CEO of the Bissell company died. Not only did Bissell work as a CEO in a time when that was not a career choice for women, but she also did it while parenting five children on her own.

 

Dani ReissDani Reiss

Dani Reiss’s success story is one of respecting the past while innovating. He inherited the Canada Goose coat company from his father in 2001. The company had formerly been known as “Snow Goose,” but after Reiss took over the operation, he made the decision to focus on manufacturing the coats in Canada, and renamed the company “Canada Goose” to appeal to international markets.

By branding the coats as Canadian, Reiss was able to create a compelling brand for his jackets, bringing them into the top tier of outwear. Since Reiss took over the brand, Canada Goose has become an internationally recognized company, popular among athletes and celebrities.

 

Leonard LeeLeonard Lee

Best known for founding the Lee Valley Tool company, Leonard Lee is a bit of a renaissance man when it comes to businesses. After founding Lee Valley Tool company in 1978, Lee went on to found Veritas Tools in 1985, Algrove Publishing in 1991, and Canica Design in 1998.

These companies have all been successful in their way, but most of all, Lee Valley, the company that bears Lee’s name. Under the ownership of Robin Lee, Leonard Lee’s son, the company has grown from a tool business to a wide-ranging brand that sells everything from hand tools to hammocks with store locations in multiple provinces and a strong online presence that serves customer across the globe.

 

Dave Lane & Jeremy GuardDave Lane and Jeremy Guard

This dynamic duo created Arc’teryx, a climbing gear-turned general outdoor gear company. In 1989, Dave Lane started developing climbing harness designs, using heat laminate technology which was incredibly revolutionary in the climbing industry. Eventually, they diversified their products and scored endorsements from professional athletes like Silvia Moser, Quentin Roberts, Jon Walsh, and Nina Caprez. Starting with just an idea, Lane and Guard were able to create one of the most successful outdoor companies in just three decades.

 

Shahrzad RafatiShahrzad Rafati

If you are interested in entrepreneurs who have been able to create completely new businesses to suit the digital age, look no further than Shahrzad Rafati. Rafati created her business BroadbandTV Corporation because she wanted to ease the tensions between free streaming sites like Youtube and big entertainment companies like the NBA. She was able to ease these tensions by creating a system where companies could create and upload premium content to Youtube that they could monetize on while stepping into the digital age.

 

Michele RomanowMichele Romanow

Michele Romanow made the list of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada for a reason. She wears many hats by working in both the tech industry and the entertainment industry. She founded a coffee shop in university, and the entrepreneurial spirit has not left her since. Along with some of her classmates from her engineering program, she founded Evandale Caviar, Buytopia.ca, and SnapSaves. In 2015, she co-founded the venture capital firm Clearblanc. In 2015, she became the youngest cast member of the Canadian entrepreneurial TV show Dragons Den.

 

Tara BoschTara Bosch

If you’ve ever stood in line at a Canadian grocery store, you know our next entrepreneur’s product, SmartSweets. Tara Bosch created SmartSweets when she began trying to figure out ways to create candy with all of the flavors without all the sugar. Diet candy has always been a niche product that is usually hidden on a back shelf, but with SmartSweets, Bosch was able to make diet candy appealing and fun–bringing diet candy out to the impulse buy section next to the magazines.

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