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Usha Srinivasan offers an entrepreneurs’ guide to success

Can entrepreneurs be made or trained? Dr Usha Srinivasan believes they most certainly can. She is a strong advocate of an entrepreneurial approach to understanding a problem and defining the solution, and as Vice President, Venture and Talent Programs at MaRS, she is doing her part to guide entrepreneurs on the route to success.

The popular perception that you either have the entrepreneurial spirit or you don’t, is just not true, she says, emphatically. 

“I used to think that, too, but I have seen so many people who had the big idea but didn’t know how to take it further, who lacked the  business acumen. Of course, you need an element of risk-taking, and a passion that makes you spend every waking moment on what you want to do. But can you learn how to grow a business? Absolutely.”

She acknowledges that immigrant entrepreneurs may face barriers not faced by Canadian-born or long-term residents. They may be tech-smart, with industry-specific experience but may not understand Canadian business etiquette. 

“Which is not unusual – a Canadian would not know how to navigate the system in India,” she points out.

Dr Srinivasan lists punctuality, keeping to the point, following through, knowing how to address someone in an e-mail, as some areas newcomers may have difficulty in. Also, appearing for an interview without having done their homework. 

She advises newcomers to immerse themselves in local culture. To be aware that their existing skill set may not be sufficient, that it might be in need of an upgrade. 

Also, not to be set on Toronto or Vancouver alone as places where they can live and work. 

“There’s a big world in Canada outside of these cities! You took a huge step in moving halfway across the world to come to Canada. Now take that one more step, get the job and gain Canadian experience where they want your skills.”

Posted: Aug 2, 2018

August 2018



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