Blog

Arlene Dickinson Communications Speaker

December 21, 2017 by Speakers' Spotlight

On Entrepreneurship: Lessons From the Den and More

The 12th season of Dragon’s Den is about to get underway, and besides the fact that—wow—it’s been twelve years since the show debuted here, everyone of excited to see the return of venture capitalist and marketing maven Arlene Dickinson. She recently wrote a piece for the Financial Post of some of the changes in the entrepreneurial landscape over the last twelve years, highlighting the disruptive effects of mobile sales and social media, and detailing how she’s working to help a new generation of business owners. Here are some highlights:

This fall marked the beginning of Dragons’ Den’s 12th season. As I reflect on the pitches we Dragons heard and the people we met in earlier seasons, it’s clear how dramatically the world of entrepreneurship has changed. With the rapid adoption of online and mobile commerce, the explosion of powerful social media tools and global connectivity, today’s entrepreneurs and business owners must operate in a drastically different climate than even a few years ago. Canada, it’s a whole new den.

To help Canadian small business owners and entrepreneurs grow and succeed in today’s landscape, over the past few years I’ve launched two accelerators, raised a venture capital fund and forged exciting new partnerships with enterprises eager to help Canadian entrepreneurs. Many of the entrepreneurs I work with – on and off Dragons’ Den – are learning to leverage the power of technology and e-commerce to create and grow new businesses in ways that weren’t possible a decade ago. One business that comes to mind is dignify, a Calgary based online-only business that sells beautiful quilt throws handmade in Bangladesh. It provides employment to women vulnerable to, or in recovery from, exploitation. The business and the vital support it provides would not be possible without the connective power of the Internet.

It’s exciting and promising to see a new generation of young Canadians dipping their toes into small business ownership. There are still, however, many businesses out there that have not reached their full potential. For businesses just starting out or those that are well established, my advice would be: harness the power of technology and adapt to meet the market.

Dickinson goes on to explain just how far some businesses in Canada have to go to catch up to online realities, and you can read the full story here.