David RD Gratton

Forty under forty: Canada's emerging leaders

May 30, 2007

Yesterday I attended the Caldwell Partners 40 under 40 awards for this year's BC recipients. British Columbia garnered 6 of the 40 awards this year, continuing BC's over representation compared to the rest of Canada at this annual event. This is clearly a tip of the hat to the innovation and leadership that BC entrepreneurs are providing our Nation. having lived in EVERY region in Canada, I believe that Vancouver is without question the most entrepreneurial city in Canada. Montreal and Toronto, are sure to take exception at that, which is good. Nothing like competition to drive innovation.

I was extremely honored and pleased to be the guest of my friend and client, Neil Branda, who was one of this year's award winners. Neil is a nanotechnology genius. His new company Switch Materials is/will be making products that will blow your mind. I am not certain what I can say about them so I will err on saying nothing, but it is straight out of science fiction. Really Really COOL... and amazingly useful.

At the awards event, we saw some vignettes of the winners talking about their achievements, their dreams, and their secrets of success At the end of the video, each of the Vancouver winners gave speeches. Something I had suspected, and it certainly was confirmed to me at this event. Leaders and entrepreneurs are NOT cut from the same cloth. All the recipients had very different personalities and approaches to business. Some were quiet, humble and introspective, while others where gregarious and boisterous, some were highly technical, while others were sheer personality, and others still were somewhere in the middle. The only common element was their blind determination to succeed in the task at hand - their utter will to keep moving forward even during some of the most trying of times. Type-A or Type-B, highly technical, or techno-neophyte are simply not critical factors in entrepreneurial success. On the other hand, even though I'm certain that blind determination does not guarantee success, it is a mandatory requirement of success.