SSi Micro Ltd. | Winner of the 2018 Startup Canada High-Growth Award – National
“When trying to figure out what you want to BE or DO, ask yourself what PROBLEMS you want to solve rather than what career/profession you might enjoy”
SSi Micro launched in the 1990s selling and repairing computers, but today it is one of Canada’s most innovative communications companies and the largest Internet Service Provider in the North.
In 2000, the Yellowknife-based company built the first mesh satellite network in Canada with wireless connectivity to retail end users.
In 2005 it built the first broadband network to serve all twenty-five Nunavut communities.
In 2017, it delivered high-speed internet to the Canada C3 Expedition vessel as it sailed the Arctic.
In 2018, it launched the first-ever cellular service for most Nunavut communities, with plans and pricing comparable to the south.
SSi is the first enabler of vital communications across Canada’s North and shows no signs of slowing down.
Startup News had the opportunity to sit down with Jeff Philipp, CEO and Co-Founder, to learn more.
SN: What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
JP: My mother and father were my inspiration. They were both very hard working entrepreneurs who were never afraid to think outside the box.
SN: What is the biggest lesson you have learned to date?
JP: When trying to figure out what you want to BE or DO, ask yourself what PROBLEMS you want to solve rather than what career/profession you might enjoy. Anything is possible when you build a team of intelligent, passionate, people who are driven to solve the same problems you are.
SN: What advice do you have to those starting up today?
JP: Do not grow for growth’s sake and at the same time, be critical in hiring the right people when you do grow. The wrong people will cost you more in the end.
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?
JP: As a nation, we need to do a better job fostering and supporting entrepreneurs in remote and rural communities. Large urban areas have a massive advantage when it comes to networking, collaborating and innovating. This is not a simple task in much of Canada due to a lack of everything from connectivity to affordability of living and working in these communities.
SN: What is your message to the world?
JP: We are at a tipping point in rural northern communities. Without immediate, intelligent, action that looks holistically at the problem, we will be facing another “truth and reconciliation” in the decades to come. There are solutions. It is not too late. But we need to act now.