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Nov 14, 2018

Karen Greve Young is the Chief Executive Officer of Futurpreneur Canada, Canada’s only national organization dedicated to supporting young entrepreneurs. Futurpreneur’s unique model combines funding, mentorship and start-up programs to fuel the success of thousands of young entrepreneurs in every Canadian province and territory.

Karen is an accomplished non-profit leader dedicated to fostering economic and social prosperity through new approaches and partnerships.


How did the birth of Futurpreneur Canada come about?


When Futurpreneur Canada started two decades ago before Karen even lives in Canada, there really wasn't an ecosystem for startup founders.

On an event, an entrepreneur started with a blank canvas or a blank landscape without whole lot of support and in response to that a group of Canadians; that was started by a Canadian members of industry and then supported by the federal government, got the idea of providing collateral free low interest loans to entrepreneurs.

Futurpreneur realize that money is an important part particularly for young entrepreneur especially if they don’t have other equity and access to funds there business. Another part that is important for Futurpreneur is its mentorship.

They also make sure that the entrepreneurs also get a mentor, a guide and the support of an individual to help them on their journey and that has always been part of the motto of Futurpreneur.

Futurpreneur financing, mentorship and its tools to help support these entrepreneurs from ages 18 to 39 so that they can use these in order to start their business. It is also the only organization supporting entrepreneurs that does this in every province and territory in Canada.

What matters to them is an entrepreneur who is young, has an idea or a business model and can use the mentorship that they provide in order to bring the business idea to reality.


Karen talks about the entrepreneur journey and how they work to support it:


Entrepreneur starts with passion. They start with an idea and goal of what they want to achieve and pretty quickly they realize that they needed fuels (funds) to achieve this to get their ideas down in writing and to plan it out to get the resources they need. And often they need the confidence to actually start.


What excites Karen most about this industry:


"From wannapreneur to entrepreneur"


Entrepreneur is the umbrella term for people starting a business but obviously there are many types of entrepreneurs.

What Karen is really excited about as being a part of Futurpreneur is the scope of all the main street businesses in Canada. That means Canadian from smaller towns can come back to their hometown after college and have a vibrant job opportunities just like on the large city without having to go to a large city.

It is really important that they focus on opportunities that are broader, rural and urban, and for the whole diverse range of people whether they are doing it part time with the side hustle or full time.


The biggest entrepreneurial mistake that Karen see from time to time:


  • It takes a certain amount of confidence start a business
  • You need to have confidence to yourself and your business but should not reach arrogance or hubris.
  • As soon as an entrepreneur stops listening to people who disagree with her or with him; that is a recipe for disaster.
  • Having a mentor or advisers or talking to your customers who you know will say something straight given what is not what you want to hear is vital.

Karen also shared with us how this situation could lead to becoming a confident blocker. Listen to my episode Ariel Garten from Muse - episode 45 where we dive in through what confident blockers do to you and what you should do to stop it.

"Invite people with different opinions"


Marketing/Entrepreneur Tips:


Sometimes we focus too much on the messages that we want to get out that we as humans we put things in what we want to convey rather than what we want them to hear and feel. So always keep your customers in mind and focusing on what's in it for them and what are they looking for from what you are doing and REPEAT, REPEAT, REPEAT.

"The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago and the second best time is today" – Chinese Proverb


Favorite Habit that made her say wow she was a part of:


Getting out of the field and visiting their team around the country. One specific experience that Karen had was being in Halifax visiting the House of Auto Details which is an auto detailing company; a female founded who has found a gap in the industry and several years later is still going strong. The very next day, she met Nathon Kong is a Montreal-based company creating bespoke custom-tailored suits with the help of a 3D scanner which is made by local artists and some of it are done by patients from the local mental health facilities.

"You are trying to embark on a new path there is no better time than now"

Personal Habit:


For Karen, it is all about how she starts her day early in the morning and do workouts and journaling and get things done. The last thing that she will do before getting her kids ready is she Muse headband for about 3 to 10 minutes. She uses her Muse headband to meditate, be mindful and set herself up for the day she wants to have.

You can listen to Ariel Garten the founder of Muse on episode 41


Resources Recommendation:


Tools from Futurpreneur:

Inspiring people to follow:

Hot spot:


About Futurpreneur:


Futurpreneur Canada has been fueling the entrepreneurial passions of Canada’s young enterprise for two decades. We are the only national, non-profit organization that provides financing, mentoring and support tools to aspiring business owners aged 18-39. Our internationally recognized mentoring program hand matches young entrepreneurs with a business expert from a network of more than 2,800 volunteer mentors.


More about Karen:


Prior to joining Futurpreneur in 2018, Karen was the Vice President, Corporate Development & Partnerships at MaRS Discovery District, a global innovation hub based in Toronto. During her seven year tenure, Karen led corporate strategy development, implementation and measurement, managed a global network of innovation partners, and oversaw community engagement including marketing, communications and events.

She has previously held finance, management and strategy roles in San Francisco, New York and London, UK, at organizations including Bain & Company, Gap Inc. and the UK’s Institute of Cancer Research. Along the way, she co-authored a book with her mother about their shared experience through her mother’s ovarian cancer journey.

Karen holds an MBA from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and a BA in Economics from Harvard University.


Connect with Karen:


LinkedIn: Karen Greve Young


Twitter: @Futurpreneur @KarenGreveYoung

Facebook: Futurpreneur


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