Canada is a country not traditionally known for successful entrepreneurship. However, to discount Canada as an entrepreneurial influence is to turn a blind eye to the world-changing entrepreneurs who have come out of the country. To become a successful entrepreneur, a person needs to have wits, strong drive, and a positive attitude. When it comes to Canadian businessmen and businesswomen, the following individuals possess all of these qualities.
1. Mike Lazaridis
Mike Lazaridis is the founder of Research in Motion Limited (R.I.M.) and has credit for developing the Blackberry. Due to his various business ventures, Lazaridis, a self-made man, is considered one of Canada's most successful technologists. Lazaridis dropped out of college while at the University of Waterloo to pursue R.I.M, his first entrepreneurial venture. Since then, he has been named National Builder of the Year and was honored by Time Magazine as one of the top 100 most influential individuals in 2005.
2. John Molson
While the successful Mike Lazaridis is still alive, John Molson is honored posthumously as one of Canada's most successful entrepreneurs. Molson was born in 1763 and immigrated to Canada in 1782 at the age of 18. Interested in brewing beer at a young age, he started a brewery by borrowing startup funds from his grandmother, since as an 18-year-old he could not legally fund his own brewery.
He founded Molson Brewery using those funds and grew it to be the fifth-largest brewery in the world and Canada's second-oldest registered business to date. In addition, Molson constructed Lower Canada's first distillery. Molson parlayed his entrepreneurial success into social good, funding Montreal's first theater, contributing to the construction of Canada's first railway and funding Montreal's first public healthcare facility.
3. Harrison and Wallace McCain
Harrison and Wallace McCain are two brothers and Canadian business owners who co-founded the frozen foods empire McCain Foods Limited. The company was founded in 1956 and has quickly become the world's largest supplier of frozen foods, satisfying more than a third of the international demand for French fries.
The McCain brothers thought of their business through exposure to their father's farming trade. Their father farmed seed potatoes, but instead of becoming farmers, the brothers started a factory that cut up potatoes and froze them in the form of French fries. Their factory was one of the first frozen food factories that produced French fries. The brothers have grown their business from one factory to more than 60 factories distributed internationally. The factories process roughly 1 million pounds of potatoes an hour.
4. Samuel Bronfman
Samuel Bronfman is an entrepreneur and investor who achieved success by starting Montreal-based Distillers Company Limited. The company was acquired by Joseph E. Seagram and Sons in 1928, giving Bronfman a lot of capital from his first venture.
While he achieved financial success through the acquisition, Bronfman stayed on with Seagram's to grow the business in a post-prohibition environment. When the business became volatile, Bronfman used his capital to enter the oil business, where he turned an investment of $50 million in 1963 into $2 billion. In similar fashion to his first company, Bronfman sold his oil business to Sun Oil Co. 20 years after its inception.
5. Joseph-Armand Bombardier
Joseph-Armand Bombardier started Bombardier Limited, a company that became the world's largest railway equipment maker, the world's third-largest maker of civil airplanes and the second-largest maker of business jets. It was actually Bombardier's desire to make a car that could drift on snow that prompted him to start his company. In his mid-30s he created and sold the B7 snow motor vehicle, which achieved his dream of a hybrid car and snow machine. Using the money and momentum from that success, he expanded his business to include other types of transportation vehicles such as trains and airplanes.