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Economy and entrepreneurship

Helping the next generation of entrepreneurs reach new heights

February 15, 2022

The race for space has often been described as one of mankind’s greatest achievement. You think of what it takes to dream, design and deploy these highly sophisticated rockets and it literally makes your head spin. But the rocket itself is worthless without a launchpad, the area on which it stands before being propelled into the stratosphere, which typically consists of a platform with a supporting structure.

Much like aspiring astronauts, budding entrepreneurs have dared to dream and want to put their business ideas into the world with engines firing at full blast.

As the economy recovers from a global pandemic, they need support – more than ever – to ensure that spark of an idea catches fire. To the next generation of business leaders, failure to launch is not an option, but they require the skills and knowledge to navigate the early stages of their growth journey.

Many young people have a deep desire to chart their own course and create a better future not only for themselves but also for their families and communities. For that to happen, they need more inclusive programming and equitable access to learning tools that will help them launch their business and ensure it stays on the right trajectory.

Developed in partnership with the DMZ, a leading startup incubator headquartered in Toronto, and powered by Desjardins, the Launchpad for Entrepreneurs aims to shorten the learning curve for tech entrepreneurs while lowering barriers to entry. This on-demand digital learning platform provides members with unlimited access to video courses on topics related to growing and scaling a successful business: from startup idea formation to leadership development, market research, leveraging SMART goals, pitching investors, and more.

“At the DMZ, we see firsthand how important mastering foundational entrepreneurial skills is to build strong tech businesses,” explains Abdullah Snobar, the Executive Director of the DMZ. “Beyond that, these are learnings that aren’t always taught in the traditional classroom, yet they help youth build an aptitude for leadership that will last a lifetime – regardless of profession. We’re ecstatic to expand our commitment to engaging more Canadians in tech and entrepreneurship at a time when growing our talent pipeline is of the utmost importance.”

The platform is free to access and offers expert-curated content in both English and French. It will be available to Canadians from coast-to-coast-to-coast looking to kick-start their business success by signing up at

“Entrepreneurs play an essential role in our society, they respond to the needs of our communities, create jobs, and provide innovative solutions to our social issues," said Guy Cormier, President and CEO of Desjardins. “We must continue to support business owners and help them succeed if we want a prosperous future. That's why we are proud to partner with the DMZ in launching this new program that will make more resources available to entrepreneurs who need it."

As the founder of Joy+, a social media platform in the personal development space that connects users to like-minded peers and mentors, John Robinson Jr. knows all too well the roller-coaster ride that is inherent to building a profitable and purpose-driven business from the ground up.

“The journey as an entrepreneur can feel lonely, but Launchpad allows you to learn from industry experts and have a dialogue with your peers,” says Robinson. “The program also taught me how to effectively articulate my solution and understand industry jargon, which has already come in handy when talking to investors. Even better, it’s helped me increase revenue for my business!”

Much like the world of business since the turn of the decade, the space program had its share of ups and downs over the years. Which reminds us that the recovery is as much about mindset as it is about skillset.

NASA Flight Director Gene Kranz said it best when he overheard two officials wondering if the exploration-turned-rescue-mission of Apollo 13 would turn out to be the worst disaster in the history of the agency – and signal the end of the space program.

His response was unequivocal: “All due respect sir, I believe this is going to be our finest hour.”

We need to foster this spirit in Canada, while providing increased access to free education, so more entrepreneurs feel as confident about their future.

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Desjardins Group
514-281-7000 or 1-866-866-7000, ext. 5553436