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Inspiring the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs

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Canada Technology Accelerator participants hear from Volaris CEO 

As any tech leader knows, it takes deep passion and commitment to operate and grow a startup into a thriving company. Luckily for the next generation of Canadian entrepreneurs, they have guidance from one of the country's most successful technology leaders.

On February 23, 2022, Volaris CEO Mark Miller gave a speech at the Canada Technology Accelerator Pitch Day. He was invited to speak by Global Affairs Canada’s Trade Commissioner Service, through his involvement on the board of directors of ventureLAB. 

ventureLAB’s mission is to inspire a new generation of global founders and grow globally competitive tech titans that are built to scale from Canada to global markets. 

Entrepreneurial Journey 

Miller summarized how he went from co-founding a startup in the late 1980s to being a key leader at one of Canada’s biggest software companies. He spent the early stage of his career as a programmer, a time that he looks back on fondly.

The startup he co-founded, Trapeze Group, started by building software for public transportation. Their software takes care of mission-critical processes needed to operate transit agencies, including scheduling buses and allocating drivers. 

“The neat thing about being involved in a startup is that you get to learn a lot about everything else [about running a business] as well. You can’t just develop software – you also have to sell it, implement it, and support it.” 

-Mark Miller, CEO, Volaris Group and co-founder of Trapeze Group 

In 1995, his entrepreneurial journey reached a new level when Trapeze Group decided to sell to Constellation Software, a large, publicly-traded Canadian company. By joining Constellation, Miller learned about how to grow businesses through M&A.

Now, after many acquisitions, Trapeze Group has further expanded across Canada and the U.S., as well around the world to Europe, South America, Asia, and Australia. Today, Miller is still involved with Trapeze Group and the company he co-founded continues to evolve and grow within the Volaris and Constellation family of businesses. 

Lessons Learned About Leadership 

Miller addressed the crucial need to grow a company by developing employees. 

“Your leaders are the ones who will help you succeed,” he advised. “You need leaders today for the business you want to become tomorrow, and it doesn’t happen accidentally.” 

He emphasized that business leaders need to be proactive by providing clear goals and feedback, investing in training, and encouraging employees to network with entrepreneurs who have similar challenges. 

“Make sure the lessons you learn from studying your customers allows you to create products that delight them and solve their pain points.” 

-Mark Miller, CEO, Volaris Group and co-founder of Trapeze Group 

Using the ‘Canadian Advantage’ with Customers 

He also highlighted the unique advantage of being a Canadian tech leader in a global market, which he reflected on after spending time living and working in Denmark. Canada’s open immigration policy means that Canadians often have perspective on what the rest of the world is like, he observed. 

“As a Canadian, you have a real advantage because you are generally open to new ideas.” 

Miller says that this can go a long way when listening to customer needs.

“Make sure the lessons you learn from studying your customers allows you to create products that delight them and solve their pain points.” 

 

 

About the Author

Dilys is an editorial director at Volaris Group. She has a background in business journalism, with past experience covering publicly-traded companies, M&A, C-suite executives, and business trends as a TV news producer. Do you have a topic you'd like to see Acquired Knowledge magazine cover? Send your reader suggestions to: acquired.knowledge@volarisgroup.com

Profile Photo of Dilys Chan