Canada Learning Code | Winner of the 2018 Entrepreneur Support Award – Ontario
“Canada is so diverse and this is our strength as a nation. As a country, we welcome and encourage those who are different. We are not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic”
Canada Learning Code is a national not-for-profit organization reshaping Canada’s digital landscape.
Champions for coding education in Canada, this organization drives on the belief that digital skills are tools of empowerment, and work to ensure that all Canadians – mainly women, girls, people with disabilities, Indigenous youths and newcomers – historically underrepresented in the sector, are given equal opportunity to build the future of Canada.
Since 2011, the organization has taught this critical 21st-century skill to over 80,000 learners across 30 different cities, leveling the educational playing field to drive innovation.
With more than ten thousand mentors involved in the educational programs, the organization ensures engaging experiences for first-time learners.
It has seen very swift and tangible growth as well, which allowed them to increase their goal for the next ten years from providing one million technology learning experiences to Canadians to ten million.
This year, the organization was also selected as a funding recipient of an eight million dollars grant, as part of CanCode program, launched by the Ministry of Innovation, Sciences, and Economic Development.
Startup News had the opportunity to sit down with Laura Plant Hasanbegovic, Chief Growth Officer, to learn more.
SN: What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
LP: I have always had an entrepreneurial spirit. I like to do things in new and innovative ways and push myself beyond the status quo. When we started Ladies Learning Code back in July of 2011 I wanted to become more empowered with technology, as a builder and not just consumer and learned through this experience that so many others wanted the same thing. I became very excited by the opportunity to impact others in a way that I valued as an individual myself.
SN: What is the biggest lesson you have learned to date?
LP: It is so important to be flexible, adaptable and in a constant state of iteration. Always be growing, learning and evolving.
SN: What advice do you have to those starting up today?
LP: Have an open mind, gather and accept feedback and learn from the perspectives of those around you. Keep your idea flexible to the problem that you want to solve.
SN: What is the one thing you think we need to do as a nation, today, to position Canada as a global innovation and entrepreneurial leader?
LP: Level the education playing field when it comes to digital literacy. Open these opportunities to historically underrepresented groups in technology. Provide more opportunities to underserved communities. Diversity is such a strength in our country and if we leverage this strength, Canada can be a world leader in innovation.
SN: What is your message to the world?
LP: Canada is so diverse and this is our strength as a nation. As a country, we welcome and encourage those who are different. We are not a melting pot but a beautiful mosaic.
SN: How have you benefited from being a recipient of the Startup Canada Awards so far?
LP: It has definitely helped us build our network and gain public recognition.