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Arlene Dickinson

May 25, 2016 by Speakers' Spotlight

Business Success Comes From Creativity and Resourcefulness

“The purpose of marketing is to deliver results,” says Arlene Dickinson, renowned CBC “dragon” and one of Canada’s most successful communications entrepreneurs. Whether explaining how to leverage marketing in even the toughest of economic times, sharing backstage stories from on-set, or giving audiences a look into her journey toward success, Dickinson’s experience and expertise always shine through. Below, Arlene writes on the incredible resourcefulness of new Canadians when it comes to being entrepreneurial:

I’ve always admired the ingenuity of newcomer entrepreneurs in Canada.

Arriving in Canada to begin a new life can be a simultaneously exciting and scary experience. You don’t know what to expect, and you don’t know how things will turn out. You can make all kinds of plans before you immigrate to a new country, but often the realities when you get there will differ from your expectations, and plans will need to change.

A creative, outside-the-box approach will help any newcomer to adapt to change. And dealing promptly and skillfully with any situation will help you to create a positive outcome.

It’s these kinds of abilities that help over 40,000 newcomer entrepreneurs who start a business in Canada each year to adapt to their new environment. And succeed here.

For example, according to the Conference Board of Canada, immigrants to Canada win proportionally more prestigious literary and performing arts awards than people born here – immigrants comprise 23 percent of Giller Prize finalists and 29 percent of winners; further, 23 percent of Governor General’s Performing Arts Award recipients are immigrants. And here’s another fascinating fact from the Conference Board’s report on Immigrants as Innovators: at least 35 percent of Canada Research Chairs are foreign-born, even though immigrants are just one-fifth of the Canadian population.

The board also found that “a one percentage point increase in the number of immigrants to Canada can increase the value of imports into Canada by 0.21 per cent, and raise the value of exports by 0.11 per cent.”

Achieving that kind of success starts with learning about your new environment. When my family came to Canada from South Africa, we quickly learned how things worked so we could build the life we wanted.

Resourcefulness comes into play when a newcomer entrepreneur is thrown a curve ball and finds themself up against unforeseen challenges and obstacles. There are events no business plan can help you to anticipate – like being unable to secure business financing due to a lack of credit history in this country, or finding out a new business partner wasn’t accurate about the number of solid commercial relationships he claimed to possess.

Newcomers rise to these and other challenges by tapping into their innate resourcefulness and ingenuity. Time and time again I’ve seen entrepreneurs pivot quickly, to modify their strategy and actions to account for an unexpected development. For example, a qualified entrepreneur who wants to establish a credit history in Canada can turn to Scotiabank’s StartRight Program for assistance. Or the entrepreneur disappointed about his partners’ connections can move quickly to find a better qualified alliance.

The ability of new Canadian entrepreneurs to summon up that “can-do” attitude never ceases to inspire me. They leverage their talent and experience to produce amazing solutions to unexpected business challenges.

You always find a way because you know that being an entrepreneur is all about perseverance. It’s that never-say-die attitude mixed with your creativity and resourcefulness that will definitely take you to whatever success you imagine.

Arlene Dickinson/YouInc/May, 2016