Since starting with Futurpreneur Canada on June 18th, newly appointed Chief Executive Officer, Karen Greve Young, has truly immersed herself in the organization, traveling coast to coast to meet with colleagues and partners – from Vancouver to Halifax, with Calgary, Winnipeg, Montreal and our Toronto headquarters in between.
Karen joined Futurpreneur after seven years with MaRS Discovery District, with previous strategy, finance and non-profit management roles in San Francisco, New York and London, UK with organizations such as Bain & Company and the Gap. Most recently, as MaRS’ Vice President, Corporate Development & Partnerships, she oversaw strategy development and implementation, while building relationships with government stakeholders, tenants and ecosystem partners – including Futurpreneur. Although she loved her position at MaRS, she was immediately captivated when approached about Futurpreneur’s CEO opportunity, appreciating its unique role as Canada’s only national non-profit organization supporting youth entrepreneurs starting businesses.
“By supporting youth entrepreneurs in their critical first year of starting their businesses, Futurpreneur plays an important role in empowering them to realize their dreams. Which is great for Canada, because these entrepreneurs are launching sustainable main street businesses in communities of all sizes and in every province and territory – exactly what Canada needs for long-term economic development.”
As we approach World Entrepreneurs Day on August 21st, Karen is mindful that the power of a great idea is only realized when it is acted upon. She is excited by the work that she and the Futurpreneur team can do to demystify entrepreneurship for young people, providing resources like collateral free loans, education and role models to inspire action where there may have been hesitation or financial barriers.
The view outside Futurpreneur’s Toronto headquarters is a microcosm of urban Canada: bustling retail, hospitality, finance, and media. Out of view, but next door, is Google, which is a reminder that a simple idea, executed well, can do big things.
Not every entrepreneur will even approach Google’s size, nor aspire to. However, Karen Greve Young is excited at the opportunity of leading Futurpreneur’s efforts to help thousands of young entrepreneurs get farther than they might ever have envisioned, building businesses that are creating jobs while positively influencing their communities all across Canada.
“I’m inspired by the courage and conviction of Canada’s youth entrepreneurs, not to mention the dizzying array of businesses they’re starting. Each of them is following their passion while meeting a need in their community, and often in creative ways – whether it’s raising awareness of mental health while fitting Canada’s business elite in bespoke suits (Nathon Kong, Montreal, QC) or Natalie Fredrick-Wilson who provides high quality car detailing for people in Beford, NS (House of Auto Details) or simply opening a restaurant that increases the local cultural and culinary options (many across Canada).”
To that point, as she travels across Canada meeting colleagues, partners and Futurpreneurs, she is enjoying eating at as many Futurpreneur-founded restaurants as possible. It’s only part of what she loves about her new role.