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Innovation … beyond the startup

On November 10, the National Bank Initiative in Entrepreneurship and Family Business offers a free panel discussion at Concordia
October 26, 2016
By Yuri Mytko

The November 10 panel will feature three Concordia alumni, including technology entrepreneur Jenviev Azzolin Technology entrepreneur Jenviev Azzolin

Innovation can act as a driver not only for startups but also for established businesses, allowing them to continue growing.

“It can be introducing a new product or service or new technology, but it can also be about finding new ways of financing a business, like crowdfunding,” says Alexandra Dawson, an associate professor of management at the John Molson School of Business (JMSB) and director of JMSB’s National Bank Initiative in Entrepreneurship and Family Business.

Join the conversation

On Thursday, November 10, the National Bank Initiative will be hosting a panel discussion on the role of innovation in new and existing businesses.

The panel will explore a variety of topics, including how the next generation of entrepreneurs currently at university contributes to innovation not just by conceiving of new products and services, but also by coming up with new ways of thinking about business, financing and marketing.

“We often think of entrepreneurs as individuals who start new businesses,” says Dawson. “But in fact, entrepreneurship and innovation are important at all the stages of a business’s lifecycle.”

Innovation can be about reinventing business models, like Über or Airbnb, she adds. “Or it can involve new generations who don’t just want to be ‘caretakers’ of the business — they want to make their mark.

New directions for family businesses

A recent PricewaterhouseCoopers survey found that family run firms are eager to innovate.

For example, 69 per cent of the next generation of family business leaders want to bring in non-family managers to help modernize or professionalize the business,

Meanwhile, 60 per cent want to take the business into new geographic markets, 59 per cent want to diversify into new products or services and 47 per cent want to establish a new entrepreneurial venture alongside the existing one.

“Some firms grow through the entrepreneur’s choice. Others have to find ways to adapt to fast-changing industries, new competition and the high rate of innovation.” says Dawson.

“There can also be entrepreneurial family businesses. And often, the new generation can act as a catalyst by bringing in new ideas and new ways of reaching their markets.”

The November 10 panel will feature three Concordia alumni:

  • Jenviev Azzolin, a technology entrepreneur and co-founder of PPLCONNECT and WeHost
  • Emilio Imbriglio, president and CEO of Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton and the current John Molson EMBA Champion
  • Barry Lorenzetti, president, CEO and founder of Damage Insurance Broker at BFL CANADA

The panel discussion will be held on Thursday, November 10, 2016 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. in Room 10.121, John Molson School of Business Building (1450 Guy St.). Register here.


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