Startup Canada is a grassroots, entrepreneur-led, volunteer-run, non-profit network that launched in May 2012 to bring together and give a voice to the Canadian entrepreneurship community and to promote a vibrant entrepreneurial culture.

Tour & Campaign – Since launching, Startup Canada embarked on a six-month cross-country tour as a national community-building exercise, to kick-start a conversation about how we can better support Canadian entrepreneurs and cultivate an entrepreneurial culture. The Tour brought together more than 20,000 Canadians and 300 partners through 200 events fuelled by hundreds of volunteers.

In addition to town hall meetings, expert discussions and more than 500 video interviews with some of Canada’s leading entrepreneurs, Startup Canada brought the conversation and celebration online through social media and online campaigns, daily and weekly updates, #startupchats on Twitter, event live feeds and public input via videos and online forums.

The Tour provided a platform for the Canadian entrepreneurship community to come together, share ideas, identify gaps and opportunities, and commit to community-level action. Collectively, participants gave life to more than a dozen community-led projects – from co-working spaces and entrepreneur-led accelerators to communications campaigns and community asset-mapping exercises. For the first time, the Canadian entrepreneurship community connected in a common activity and conversation.

The Blueprints – This website is the culmination of the Startup Canada Tour. On this site we share What We Heard from Canadian entrepreneurs – the reflections and ideas coming out of the conversations across the country. Based on what we heard from entrepreneurs on the road, we present our intended Way Forward for 2013.

As a volunteer-run organization we are now calling on our community to come together to Take Action and to fuel the manifestation of these Blueprints toward a more entrepreneurial Canada.

Thank You – Startup Canada, the National Tour and these Working Blueprints all began as a seed of an idea. After months of cold-calling, hundreds of hours of Skype meetings, thousands of air miles, uncounted tweets and the unrelenting hustle of hundreds of entrepreneurs and volunteers, we have achieved an important milestone as a community.

Thank you to our first adopters, early investors, patrons, boardadvisors, provincial ambassadors and committees, community hostspartners, volunteers, bloggers, reviewers and mentors who unreservedly shared their time, expertise and networks to allow this seed to sprout. Thank you to the media that covered us, the public officials who supported and celebrated our arrival in their communities, and the unsung heroes who stepped up without hesitation when asked for help, asking nothing in return. You know who you are.

Thank you to Gowlings, Microsoft, Ernst & Young, Artik Promotions, PubliAir, KA Media, Video Booth, Best Western Hotels, Business Development Bank of Canada, Export Development Canada and the Canadian Innovation Commercialization Program for your pioneering support of this grassroots effort. Thank you also to Francis Moran & Associates, The Hinton GroupLe Regroupement des gens d’affaires de la Capitale national for bringing these Blueprints to life.

Together, we are on our way to creating a healthy entrepreneurial ecosystem that values reciprocity, philanthropy and empowerment.