Discussing Entrepreneurship with Julia Deans, the CEO of Futurpreneur

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In January, we met with the fantastic Julia Deans, the CEO of Futurpreneur Canada and an OLIP alumnae.

Julia‘s education and career has taken her from Toronto to New York, Hong Kong, and Singapore. She’s worked as an environmental lawyer, a management consultant, and most recently as the CEO for CivicAction before taking the helm of Futurpreneur Canada.
Futupreneur Canada is a non-profit organization that provides financing, mentoring, and support tools to aspiring business owners aged 18 to 29. So far, Futurpreneur has helped launch an astounding 8,519 Canadian businesses. We learned that Futurpreneur doesn’t have a “favourite” type of business. They finance a diverse array of business — from bakeries (like the delicious Cake and Loaf in Hamilton) to the trendy Toronto-based fashion retailer, Frank & Oak.
Julia was keen to hear our perspective on Futurpreneur’s initiatives and entrepreneurship policies in Ontario. We spoke about the role of government in encouraging entrepreneurship and supporting marginalized populations in their first steps of establishing a new business. We also discussed the importance of different types and sizes of businesses, including the role that non-profits like Futurpreneur can play in Canada’s small towns, beyond our well-services urban hubs.
It was an enlightening conversation about topics that many of us hadn’t considered before. Thank you greatly to Julia, and the Futurpreneur team, for your warm welcome!
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A Journey through Ontario’s Political History with Sean Conway

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We were fortunate to meet with former Liberal MPP Sean Conway, who represented the ridings of Renfrew North and Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke from 1975-2003. Mr. Conway served in a number of positions in both government and opposition, most memorably as Minister of Education.

Mr. Conway brought us on a fascinating journey through Ontario’s and Canada’s political histories. The conversation bounced from Oliver Mowat to Louis Riel to Ronald Reagan to Lord Durham. Of particular interest was Mr. Conway’s explanation the changes, decisions, and policies leading from the end of the Bill Davis government through to Frank Miller, David Peterson, Bob Rae, and then Mike Harris. Understanding how parties transition between leaders and also from government to opposition and vice versa are invaluable insights for our future.

Mr. Conway also elaborated on broader issues such as future growth in Ontario, the urban-rural divide, senate reform, and electoral reform. We also took advantage of Mr. Conway’s experience with the energy, education, and skills development files. Of particular interest was the future of postsecondary education and changes in the energy system.

Our meeting with Mr. Conway was informative and captivating. We now understand how 19th century history informs Ontario’s current politics. We also have a new reading list thanks to Mr. Conway’s suggestions. As with many of our meetings, our discussion with Mr. Conway provided us with further motivation to soak up all the information and experiences around us at Queen’s Park.

Thank you to Sean Conway for your continued support of the programme and for lending your time and expertise.