Mentorship is an important part of the Junction program. The founders in this spring’s Junction cohort are receiving invaluable mentorship from an expanded team of Community Advisors — a group of Calgary entrepreneurs and innovators who have the knowledge and experience to help them grow. This week we’re featuring Khalid Abdul Razak!
Khalid has been involved in tech and entrepreneurship since the beginning of his career — he started at BusinessLink, working with entrepreneurs and founding teams of early-stage companies and SMEs to progress their ideas from concept to commercialization.
This sparked Khalid’s interest in consulting, where he spent the next several years in the “high-flying” world of management consulting, initially with MNP and more recently with EY. During this time, he led engagements at multinational organizations, working directly with CXOs of Fortune 500 companies and startups on strategy setting, operating model design, turnarounds, and enterprise level transformations. Somewhere in there, he even had a stint co-founding a consumer packaged goods company in an emerging product category in Canada!
Khalid found his way back to helping innovation-based founders in 2020 when he joined Mount Royal University’s Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence. Weeks after taking that role, and at the height of the pandemic, he co-created and launched ‘BounceBackYYC,’ a city-level hackathon that paired 80+ post-secondary students with 700+ small and medium-sized businesses to develop solutions to accelerate the restart and recovery of the Calgary retail and experience economy post-COVID19.
This hackathon was the jumping-off point to other innovative ideas that have since taken shape, like the launch of Mount Royal’s flagship scaleup accelerator, Growth Catalyst, a six month program to help companies reimagine, rediscover and realize big strategic growth opportunities.
Khalid’s day-today involves management of the MRU accelerator programs and weekly check-ins with entrepreneurs and their leadership teams, as well as big-picture experimentation, strategizing and visioning around the question: ‘What does an amazing entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem look like in Calgary and Alberta?’
Through Khalid’s work at MRU, and involvement with the ecosystem as a whole, being able to volunteer with a program like Junction has been a great way to bring his diverse experience to help even more founders.
“At the end of the day, being an advisor is about helping [founders] mature as entrepreneurs, so whether it’s this venture or the next venture, they’re just a lot more robust as a person,” he says.
Khalid hopes that in ten years from now, Calgary will have five to ten companies that are name-brand, flagship tech companies that are recognized nationally and globally as leaders in their space.
“These are Calgary tech companies that are innovators and disruptors in their space. Name brands that we’re proud of, that start drawing attention and migration of talent, interest and investment,” he says.
“That is going to create a vibe, momentum, and inertia in our city that’s going to make people want to move here, creating a more metropolitan, innovative, progressive city.”
Khalid’s recommendation: Testing Business Ideas by David Bland
“This is one of the most practical guides to test business ideas. It’s a series of 44 different experiments you can run to validate the desirability, feasibility and viability of your business.”Back