Nicole Verkindt | 2017 Recipient of the Startup Canada Women Entrepreneur of the Year Award
“We are becoming smaller and smaller every day through the digital, networked economy and we need to work together.”
Nicole Verkindt is the Founder & CEO of Canadian technology company, Offset Market Exchange (OMX). OMX is an online marketplace that supports companies to diversify their procurement process by matching companies to recommended suppliers.
Nicole is passionate about the role that data and networks play in connecting diverse supply chains. Her platform is the only one in the world that manages the obligations that companies have to invest into local businesses. OMX is the first software built that provides real-time electronic tracking and data analytics of the industrial base, procurement opportunities and the measurements of the exact social and economic benefits that flow to an economy.
Having successfully conquered the Canadian market, they are now expanding globally.
Nicole is also a Board member of the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) that performs government to government contracts between Canada and other countries around the world.
Nicole is also a regular commentator on CBC, is columnist for Vanguard magazine focusing on technology and business news, and is a “Dragon” on Next Gen Dragon’s Den, dedicated to investing in early stage technology businesses.
SN: What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
NV: Growing up, I watched my parents be entrepreneurial. I spent Summers in University following and being mentored by other entrepreneurs. Then, a year after graduation, started my first business.
SN: What is the biggest lesson you have learned to date?
NV: The biggest lesson is that constant ‘lessons’ or ‘failures’, mixed with waking up the next day and making slight, iterative changes is the key to this whole thing. So in essence, the lesson is, you have to learn a lot of lessons, it’s a critical part of the process.
SN: What advice do you have to those starting up today?
My advice is to start. There are a lot of people out there stuck in analysis paralysis, or waiting for an ‘idea’. You have to be on the ice to score and just be trying things. Once you get started, tell everyone what you are up to! You are going to need a lot of champions along the way.
SN: What is the one thing we need to do as a nation, today, to position Canada as a global innovation and entrepreneurial leader?
We need to support our own. I experienced it and still experience it myself – that I can make it abroad, but not in my own country. I can sell to other Governments, but not my own; raise money overseas but not from Canadians; sell to big multinational corporations, but not Canadians. We have so many conversations about how we can help Canadian entrepreneurs, my advice is that we should stop having the conversations and start investing, buying from and helping startups receive investment and sales. When I won the Women Entrepreneur of the Year award, all I could say on stage was ‘to support women entrepreneurs, buy from them.’ I really really believe that.
SN: What is your vision for the next 150 years?
For technology to no longer be seen as its ‘own sector’, but the critical differentiator in every sector in this country. We are small in population and in order to make our mark, we have to leverage technology in all of our sectors to be competitive globally.
SN: What is your message to the world?
We are becoming smaller and smaller every day through the digital, networked economy and we need to work together.
SN: How have you benefited from being a recipient of the Startup Canada Awards?
Great PR, great exposure. I am so grateful for being recognized.
Listen to Nicole’s interview on the Startup Canada Podcast Show with Rivers Corbett.