Transition Paves Way for Sheldon Levy to Focus on Critical National Advisory Role
TORONTO, Jan. 18, 2019 /CNW/ - Highly regarded executive, investor and entrepreneur Joe Canavan has been appointed the new CEO of NEXT Canada, a nonprofit focused on increasing Canadian prosperity through programs that provide education, resources, empowerment, incubation and support for exceptional entrepreneurs and innovators.
He assumes the role from Sheldon Levy, who was named Special Advisor to the Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion in December - a role that continues to grow in scope and importance and now requires full time attention. NEXT Canada is fully supportive of Levy's mandate, which is to advise on improving the scale-up ecosystem for Canadian companies.
Canavan has been involved with NEXT Canada as a board member and mentor, since its inception in 2010. He is active in the Canadian tech community and is an early investor and advisor in companies including Kids & Company, Koho Financial, Borrowell, Layer 6 and Wealthsimple, as well as Kira Talent and North (formerly Thalmic Labs) which were founded by NEXT alumni.
"We are incredibly excited to have Joe take up the mantle at such an important moment for NEXT Canada," says Reza Satchu and John Kelleher, Co-Chairs of the NEXT Canada Board of Directors. "He has been involved since inception and his familiarity with the NEXT Canada network and mission will ensure a smooth transition. We thank Sheldon for all he has accomplished at NEXT, are grateful for his continued involvement and wish him well as he continues to tirelessly champion the needs of Canadian innovators."
"When Sheldon Levy asks for help, you help," says Canavan. "I have been fortunate to build and lead half a dozen companies as well as help fund and found a dozen more, so this is very much in my DNA. The future of business in Canada will be reshaped for the better if Sheldon and I get this right. Hundreds of companies, thousands of jobs - which translate into Canadian families who will prosper."
Canavan has led several companies, including LOGiQ Asset Management, Assante Wealth Management and Synergy. He was also brought in as Interim CEO and Chairman to lead a transformative turnaround at the Children's Aid Foundation and is a Board Director of Jays Care Foundation and Singularity University Canada.
Levy joined NEXT Canada in 2017 and had an immediate impact, expanding the organization's world leading NextAI accelerator to Quebec in partnership with HEC Montreal, and moving the organization and the over 60 startups in its programs to a 16,000 square foot innovation hub in the heart of downtown Toronto. He is committed to staying involved with NEXT Canada during his federal engagement and beyond, and will continue to work closely with NEXT and sit on the NEXT Canada Board of Directors.
"This is an exciting opportunity to have an impact that will allow Canadian entrepreneurs and startups to scale into global firms," says Levy. "I see my role with the federal government as an extension of NEXT's mission, and I am confident that I leave the organization in very capable hands with Joe Canavan."
"I believe this is an extraordinary bridge from Sheldon to Joe," says Emilie Cushman, CEO and Co-founder of Kira Talent, NEXT Canada Board member and alumna. "Not only has Joe built great companies, but he also advised and invested in high potential Canadian ventures, including my own business. Joe loves entrepreneurs and will bring his immense passion and experience to NEXT."
NEXT Canada has directly impacted over 450 alumni who have built companies including, Ada, Atomwise, Bridgit, Intuitive AI, Kira Talent, North (Thalmic Labs), Nymi and SnapTravel. These alumni have created over 1,300 jobs and $319 million in economic impact. In the coming months, NEXT Canada will welcome its 2019 NextAI cohorts to Toronto and Montreal and launch applications for its Next Founders program on February 6.
About NEXT Canada
NEXT Canada is a national, non-profit organization that develops exceptional talent to create world-class ventures and propel technology adoption. Founded in 2010 as The Next 36 by a group of pioneering business leaders and academics, NEXT Canada is today a leader in the delivery of cutting-edge programming designed to foster lifelong entrepreneurship in three streams: NextAI, Next 36 and Next Founders.
NEXT Canada is able to strengthen the foundation Canada's current and future health and prosperity through the generous support of Founding Patrons Hon. Paul Desmarais, Jimmy Pattison and W. Galen Weston. NEXT Canada's National Partners include EY, Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP, and Power Corporation of Canada, Government Partners include the Government of Ontario and the Government of Canada and NextAI Founding Partners BDC Capital, Magna, RBC and Scotiabank.
SOURCE NEXT Canada
For further information: Jon French, Senior Director, Global Recruitment, Community and Alumni, NEXT Canada, [email protected], 647-259-8943 x.401