Posted by Neil Swayze on Nov 13, 2017
Martin Jones introduced our guest speaker; Alan Quarry, a world renown speaker on the topic of Global Entrepreneurship. Since this is “Entrepreneur Week” it is an appropriate topic.
Alan began by stating his fondness for Rotary and what we stand for and he was a member himself. He started by reminding members that “entrepreneurship is a mindset” that is “how we think of doing things differently”.We want to give something special back either in the manufacturing, technology or services areas. Alan; being associated with both local universities, used David Johnson former UW president as an example of someone who looked for something special that makes Waterloo region stand out. Global businesses are being launched from here because people are thinking outside the box. Alan teaches a masters course in business and marketing but he is finding that more entrepreneurs are coming from the Arts, Sciences and even Kinesiology than Business grads. He believes that it is because these people think about what other people need and want and about culture. Perception of doing something important is creating a generation that is thinking of opportunity and thinking globally. Since Canada is seen globally as a place with a positive outlook; inclusive nature and welcoming culture; other countries seek out Canadian ideas. They love the work ethic and culture of Canadians. Alan feels that this can't be trained but comes natural and risk taking is key to moving forward. Since the 1960's when the Canadian army was acting as peacekeepers around the world; other countries saw them as risk takers who wanted others to succeed.
With a proper mindset following the rules is not the way to go. The most successful companies today are companies like Uber, Airbnb and Amazon who changed the rules. Alan sees himself as a “shift disturber” as it is better to create the shift than to stay the course. He created his own TV show called A&Q's Blog & Grill that interviewed up and coming entrepreneurs in their field. One such interview involved the founder of 'Bridgit' a construction site management program. The two women were in their 30's and had little background in construction but one was a graduate from business and the other engineering. Their business is selling apps to New York city construction firms. He encourages everyone to have a side gig or hustle which offers you a challenge but creates avenues to help others in the community as Rotary does. He is connected with Commutech and the Accelerator Centre in Kitchener to assist entrepreneurs with start ups. He also has created a number of local investment groups [e.g. Stone Soup 3] to raise funds for such groups as Doctors Without Borders, Nutrition for Learning and his latest HeartsBeatHate which promotes pro-diversity, anti-racism and anti-bigotry. The question he left the members with is “How can I do that better?” Rotary has a place to assist in making the community a better place. One has to love what you do and have passion. It is a “passion to be a pirate”; to do things differently and better by thinking outside the box and taking risks.
John Webster thanked Alan for his inspiring talk on entrepreneurship and presented him with a certificate that has his name associated with 100 vaccinations for polio.