Nicole Verkindt

Speaker


Nicole Verkindt

Founder, OMX | “Dragon”, Next Gen Den | Panellist, CBC News, The Exchange

Nicole Verkindt is passionate about leveraging the talents of entrepreneurs. The founder of OMX (Offset Market Exchange) and the newest Dragon on CBC’s Next Gen Den, she believes in the role of entrepreneurs to grow the economy and help solve global issues. Speaking to the importance of disruptive thinking, technology, innovation, and women’s roles in business, Nicole stresses to audiences that the key to success lies in the ability to ignore being told “no” over and over again.

Nicole launched OMX in 2012, when she was only 27 years old. The online platform is the only one in the world to manage obligations government contractors have to invest in local economies, a policy called “offsets”. The platform is a powerful online marketplace with users from the world’s top defence, aerospace, shipbuilding sectors, and tens of thousands of local suppliers around the world. The platform also generates data analytics to help governments understand economic impacts of procurement decisions.

Prior to founding OMX, Nicole launched Tiburon (the Spanish word for “shark”) in 2008, an offshore manufacturing business in the Dominican Republic, which sold shelter components to government contractors during the height of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. It was also during this time that Haiti experienced their devastating earthquake. Nicole reacted by founding the non-profit organization GlassFrog, which provided aid to the torn nation. Nicole later integrated Tiburon into a family business, and became President and CEO of GMA. In 2011, she led the sale of both Tiburon and GMA to a Private Equity Firm.

Nicole graduated from the Richard Ivey School of Business with a specialization in International Political Science and Entrepreneurship. Upon graduation, she worked for Big Media Group out of Belgium, and was stationed on international projects consulting with governments and international industry looking to target foreign investment. This was her bridge between international politics and entrepreneurship.

Nicole received a political appointment to the Board of the Canadian Crown Corporation, CCC (Canadian Commercial Corporation), which is the sister organization to BDC and EDC. The corporation does government-to-government contracting on behalf of Canadian businesses to foreign governments. She is also on the Board of the Peter Munk School of Global Affairs MGA Program Board. Additionally, she is the official technology columnist for Vanguard magazine, a magazine with a readership of over one million, and a regular commentator and panellist on CBC’s The Exchange.

She is an active member of the CSCA (Canadian Space Commerce Association), CADSI (Canadian Aerospace, Defence, Security Industry Association), Aerospace Industries Association Canada (AIAC) and Global Offset and Countertrade Association (GOCA).


Entrepreneurship

Nicole Verkindt admits to only ever interviewing once for a “job” that she was interested in (a “huge flop”, she admits), and her first job with a “real boss” was 100% commission based. An entrepreneur from the beginning of her career, Nicole believes that the skills required to be successful in entrepreneurship are no different if you are farmer, an owner of manufacturing facilities, a technology entrepreneur, or anything in between. In this inspirational and information-packed talk, Nicole shows entrepreneurs how to turn ideas into success.

Innovation, Technology, and Disruption

Nicole Verkindt is passionate about technology. She’s a Dragon on the tech-focused web series NextGen Den, she’s the technology columnist for Vanguard magazine, in addition to being the founder of tech driven company OMX. In this riveting talk, Nicole explains how investment in technology can drive competitive growth, and shows audiences how to leverage technology as a competitive advantage.

Women in Business and Leadership

Women face unique challenges in the business world, be it in entrepreneurship, leading technology start-ups and or working in the defence industry (and much much more). Nicole Verkindt has been at the centre of all three of these worlds. Her unique stories and advice to women provide a roadmap to what can be a rocky and confusing path.

How to Increase Contracts Via Government Procurement

Every country has their own policies on how to increase jobs from government procurement, and Nicole Verkindt’s company, OMX, is at the centre of it.

OMX connects foreign government contractors with local companies, as well as managing and tracking how many jobs are created as a result of big government contracting programs. It was at the centre of the debate of the economic impacts that would arise from buying new Fighter jets, of moving commercial offshore oil vessels to Canada from Asia, and of involving Aboriginal communities in major pipeline and power projects.

Nicole is an expert on the topic, and passionate about how big of an impact can be made when done correctly.

Global Government Relations/International Relations

Nicole’s Verkindt’s career has always been very closely linked with that of international governments. Her first job focused on helping governments with their global branding, and as CEO of Tiburon and then GMA, she sold to governments around the world. Now, as president of OMX, she is leading the charge to help companies access work to government contractors and help government contractors maximize the impacts they make on local economies by creating jobs, investing in technology, and partnering with academia and aboriginal-owned businesses. In this empowering talk, Nicole explains the ins-and-outs of government contracting, maximizing governmental relationships, and more.