Action Entrepreneurship is Futurpreneur Canada’s flagship event series that brings together young entrepreneurs, and the stakeholders that support them for learning, networking and idea sharing. At the beginning of 2016, we kicked off Action Entrepreneurship with a series of Community Exchanges in cities across the country which led to our Action Entrepreneurship Canadian Summit, that took place on May 30-31, 2016 in Toronto.

The Summit brought together hundreds of entrepreneurs, Futurpreneur partners, mentors, and business leaders for two days of great speakers, educational sessions, networking events, and more. In case you missed it, here’s what happened.

Day One

Day one started with welcoming remarks from Futurpreneur CEO, Julia Deans, our generous partner, Meridian Credit Union, and a keynote address from Steam Whistle Brewing’s Co-Founder, Greg Taylor. The room was buzzing with the energy of almost 200 entrepreneurs who were eager to learn about the Canadian success story, Steam Whistle, and network with each other.

Greg talked with the crowd of entrepreneurs about his entrepreneurial journey which started as a young high school student who wanted to make some extra cash, so he and his friends started helping his neighbours with painting. After landing a job with Upper Canada Brewing Company, and being laid off when the brewery was bought by a larger brewery, Greg and his friends decided to take their beer knowledge and develop Steam Whistle Brewing, a brand that’s grown into one that Canadians love. Greg touched on the importance of having a vision, perfecting your product, and focusing on your staff.

Following Greg’s keynote, the group headed into different rooms for a unique session called CollaborACTION. This session was developed by Gen Y Inc. and was created for entrepreneurs to get the chance to present a business challenge they are facing and utilize the skillset and expertise of their peers to help solve these issues.

The day ended on a high note when everyone headed over to Shopify’s office to continue networking, and to enjoy an ice cold Steam Whistle beer on a hot, sunny day.

Day Two

Day two brought a long but exciting day for all the attendees of the Summit. We had a jam packed schedule starting bright and early with welcoming remarks from CEO, Julia Deans, Futurpreneur Board Chair and President of Clearwater Seafoods, John Risley, and Meridian CEO, Bill Maurin.

This led us to an engaging fireside chat with Herschel Segal, Founder of Le Chateau and Co-Founder of DAVIDsTea, and Sarah Segal, Founder of Squish Candy, which was moderated by Ian Portsmouth, publisher of Canadian Business and PROFIT. The father and daughter pair talked about being in business with family, and how they’ve made it work. Herschel also shared some tidbits from his several years as an entrepreneur and the lessons he learned the hard way, and Sarah chatted about her own venture, Squish Candy.

While everyone was on a high from the amazing advice from two successful business gurus, we headed into our first of three breakout sessions for the day. Attendees had the chance to pick between five different sessions that were running which ranged from people and culture, to a women’s entrepreneurship panel, or a session on exporting. In these smaller sessions, attendees had the chance to dive deeper into topics they were interested in learning more about and ask questions to subject experts that could help their business.

Our morning sessions led to a delicious and exciting 20th anniversary awards lunch. This year, Futurpreneur Canada is celebrating their 20th anniversary, and to celebrate, we wanted to acknowledge and honour some of our incredible entrepreneurs, mentors, and partners.

Award winners were as follows:

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Beyond Borders Award presented by Youth Business International
BEC Cola

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20th Anniversary Entrepreneur Award presented by Clearwater Seafoods
NONA Vegan

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Grit Award presented by Shopify
Intellijoint Surgical

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Community Partner Award presented by RBC
CEED

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BDC Mentorship Award presented by Futurpreneur Canada
Mary Jane Copps

After lunch, we headed into two more breakout sessions. Again, entrepreneurs had the chance to learn about things like social media, human resources, cash flow, and mentorship.

After an incredible and inspiring two days, everyone gathered for Ignite!, a celebration of the 20 years of Futurpreneur Canada. At the party, we had a marketplace set up with entrepreneurs from across the country that were showcasing and selling their amazing products and services. There was also a chance to network, eat delicious food, and say our farewells to our new friends and connections.

And for another year, we bid farewell to an amazing two days in Toronto. We would like to thank all of our partners and supporters who helped make it possible, and all the attendees who traveled from near and far for the two days. See you next year!

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