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Thoughts on Innovation – Fatima Zaidi

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Fatima is the co-founder and CEO of Quill., the world’s first one-stop marketplace where podcasters can find pre-vetted expert freelancers who will save them time, improve their podcast quality, and help grow their audience.

As a member of the National Speakers Bureau, Fatima has spoken at various events around the world on issues surrounding diversity, equity, and inclusion. Fatima is a frequent guest speaker, event host, and moderator and has keynoted on world stages such as Web Summit, Haste & Hustle, and DX3 alongside speakers like Gary Vaynerchuk, Arlene Dickenson, and most recently, Richard Branson. In addition to being a commentator for BNN, she is a past contributor to Global News, and writes for publications including The Globe and Mail, Huffington Post, and BetaKit.

Over the past few years she has been named as a Top 30 under 30 Marketer and Sales Developer by Marketing Magazine, Young Professional of the Year by Notable Life, and one of Flare Magazine’s Top 100 Canadian Women. 


What is your definition of “innovation”?

The term innovation can be pretty nebulous and the interpretation can be very subjective depending on who you’re speaking to. Revolutionary inventions that move the needle for human advancement is usually what comes to mind when I think of innovation but so does bringing together diverse people, backgrounds, and perspectives. The more diverse we are the more likely we are to come up with groundbreaking and cutting edge ideas so why is it that our most innovative industries like the tech sector are also the most homogenous? 


Why is it important for companies to innovate and invest in modern technologies?

While I think innovation is often a buzzword that is frequently used out of context when companies do innovate it allows them to stay relevant and competitive within their industries. Additionally innovation plays a vital role in the development of our economies whether it be advancements in medicine or technology; fostering and supporting innovative ideas is fundamentally critical to our country’s long term growth and sustainability. Staying ahead of trends is at the crux of all innovative ideas and projects like Sidewalk Labs and AI in Medicine for Kids at Sick kids is how our future generations will thrive. 


What advice can you give to Canadian businesses looking to make the most out of their investments in innovation?

Tap into as many government grants and resources as you possibly can before you look to raising capital. There are a lot of cash incentives for Canadian entrepreneurs that are creating new technology and innovations. Ie. Shred and Irap are two programs you can tap into to retrieve some of your development costs. For my current startup Quill I’m looking to maximise all government support, grants, and subsidies before I consider raising investments.  

 

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