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article imageElevate Toronto CEO says it’s time the city stopped being humble

By Jack Derricourt     Jul 12, 2017 in Business
Razor Suleman is the CEO and cofounder of Elevate Toronto. The new three-day technology festival runs from September 12-14 and will promote the unique innovation ecosystem that calls Toronto home.
Suleman is a well-known tech leader who built and sold his enterprise software company Achievers in 2015 for a cool $110 million USD. After the sale, Suleman returned to his home in Toronto to promote and strengthen the startup community that had developed in recent years. Elevate Toronto is the next step in Suleman’s efforts to show the world how innovative and unique Toronto truly is.
READ MORE: Toronto is Elevating, and Moving the Dial for Women in Tech
In front of the packed crowd for Elevate’s launch, Suleman spoke to how well-positioned Toronto is to become a global leader in innovation and startup business.
"It's our time,” said Suleman, “startups and corporate leaders are aligning with the government's innovation agenda creating the perfect circumstances for accelerated growth."
A recent report by TechCrunch noted the strong footing that Canada and Toronto have established for startup success in 2017. Direct government investment and high-quality education programs that support startups has established the Great White North, and Toronto especially, as a startup scene with huge potential. The recent moves by the Trump administration to prevent foreign entrepreneurs and employees from obtaining visas in the U.S. could also end up encouraging rival growth north of the border.
Despite all this success and burgeoning potential for growth, Suleman said that Canada’s natural humility gets in the way. Being humble doesn’t work in Silicon Valley — “There is no humility there.”
“For all the amazing things happening… our humbleness as Canadians remained with us. It does hold us back when we’re telling our story on a global stage.”
This reserved self-promotion poses a challenge to the collection of successful startups and business investors that call Toronto home. For Suleman, the answer to this problem is all about collaboration that fosters the attention of the international community.
The Elevate Toronto festival will feature TED-style talks, curated networking and a chance for attendees to visit the actual offices of participating startups and businesses to see them operating firsthand. All of Elevate’s programming will promote the core values of diversity and collaboration that are central to Toronto’s innovation community.
Digital Journal asked Suleman after the launch announcement how Elevate Toronto will break the city (and Canada) out of its humble shell in order to court international interest. His answer was full of the excitement you would expect from the organizer of such an esteemed team of tech and business leaders:
“We’ve got the most passionate leaders involved at Elevate Toronto. We are not humble, we are proud. We’re going to tell the world how amazing this city is and we’re going to invite them to participate and contribute in building the world’s best ecosystem.”
More about Toronto, Elevate Toronto, startups, Innovation, technoloy
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