This inaugural blog post is about answering the question, “Why start a company now?” The story of CanvasGT is the story of two parallel lines intersecting. One of those lines is a 20-year journey in medical device product development. The other line is a lifelong journey of discovery in the practice of design thinking. One ingredient to timing is indeed that intersection of these two lines. I’ll dig into them later in this post. However, there’s another major catalyst to the timing where an idea turned into serious action.
On November 3rd, Thom Ruhe of NC IDEA posted a challenge on twitter: What is the best way an ecosystem can support the entrepreneurial potential of everyone? Apparently Thom liked my response, because he so generously provided a complimentary ticket to the Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Summit that NC IDEA hosted two weeks later. The two-day event at the Hilton Raleigh in North Hills focused on redefining economic development through entrepreneurship. The featured speakers included local, state, and federal leadership such as Raleigh Mayor, North Carolina Governor, and Acting Director of the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Among them was a long list of all stars walking to the podium in a seemingly unreal lineup of talks ranging from an award winning 9th grade entrepreneurial student to a lifetime of entrepreneurial achievement tribute to Dave Rizzo.
If I could sum up the summit in one sentence, it’s this: There is a social imperative to live and teach the entrepreneurial mindset for the prosperity of all.
The bottom line is that entrepreneurs are the lifeblood of our global economy and there’s a rapid decline right here in our own communities. It reminded me of a saying that, “the grass is greener on the side of the fence you water.” I left the summit with this call to action to water my lawn here in downtown Raleigh, here in my state of NC, here in my nation, and here on the planet I am privileged to walk.
I left the summit thinking: Whoever has the knowhow and the guts to be an entrepreneur has a calling to be an entrepreneur for the sake of society.
I left the summit thinking: Whoever has the skills, knowledge, and experience to teach the entrepreneurial mindset has a calling to teach our future leaders.
I knew I had both, and I knew I had to act. The latter seemed achievable right off the bat. Seeking opportunities to teach entrepreneurship didn’t require the timing of a solution that meets a market need to take the leap into entrepreneurship. There was no need to wait. Days after the summit; I started firing off letters to everyone I knew at the local colleges and universities looking for opportunities to teach the entrepreneurial mindset. That first domino pushed three months ago continues to build momentum.
The former calling to be an entrepreneur; that one needs a real unmet need with real market demand. And thus the perfect storm of two parallel lines intersecting and catalyst inspired by NCIDEA turned an idea into an entity in under 3 months.
I believe entrepreneurship is calling to social justice. It’s about being a provider of jobs, benefits, and prosperity for others, rather than seeking personal prosperity. I believe the entrepreneurial mindset can be realized by all people who aspire to be real social change makers by making something from nothing and addressing complex problems with critical thinking.
All of this comes together in the formation of CanvasGT, Inc. The tagline is Creativity with Purpose. It’s a place where those building it are both living and enabling a healthy & happy work-life balance. We aim to increase the creative potential of our clients to deliver solutions that have real positive social impact. To bootstrap the business, we’ll be starting with a consultative model with Design Strategy Services. Under the hood. CanvasGT is developing a software solution to unlock the creative potential by connecting left and right brain thinking.
If you are interested in learning more about CanvasGT and our journey, please keep up with this blog and please reach out directly to me any time.
Health & Happiness for All