Everyday I’m inspired by the innovators and their dreams to change the world. Our clients are building everything; from next-generation AI models, advanced robotics, creative and award-winning games, lifesaving medical devices, end-to-end software platforms, to environment saving industrial processes. As the founder of ENTAX, one of Canada’s preeminent Government Funding and SR&ED tax credit advisory firms, every day we’re entrusted to provide advice to hundreds of entrepreneurs, innovators, and inventors from coast to coast. There is no better feeling than to wake up every day knowing that the work you do is making a difference to help Canadian technology companies grow.
The innovation I see is often the result of years of struggle and hardship. There is rarely a ‘big-bang’ moment of success but a series of smaller achievements and some failures that require patience, dedication and risk-taking to persevere through. Because we help companies with their Research and Development challenges we hear what technology companies struggle with. Here are some of the things I’ve observed when it comes to innovation – both as an advisor and as an entrepreneur myself:
Innovation is risk-taking
In 2014 I left my high-paying salary as a Sr. Manager in a Big 4 firm to go out on my own and pursue my own entrepreneurial dream. It was a risky move at the time. My wife was six-months pregnant with our second child. Many, including my bosses at the firm and my parents, tried to talk me out of it. But with the backing of my wife, I decided to take the leap. What began with me and one client six years ago, is a firm of 10 employees servicing hundreds of clients across the country today. None of it would have been possible if I hadn’t embraced the risk and believed in myself.
Innovation is about bringing the best out of people
I see our clients struggle a lot with human capital. Successful companies I see really develop people leaders that orient their teams around a mission and purpose, rather than just a job or function. Successful companies also empower everyone to contribute with a culture of openness and
transparency. You can’t push the envelope and break new barriers when you are afraid of repercussions or mistakes.
Innovation is a mindset and culture, not an end-result
When I started the firm, I created a set of five values that each employee would be measured and live by. We call them “The ENTAX Way”. One of the values is “We apply innovative thinking to our practice – we practice what we preach.” To me, this means every day, every engagement, every client we look at what we do, how we do it and ask ourselves “Is there a better way?” In our past six years we’ve gone through four different workflow tools. I don’t consider this a bad thing but something that helps
us innovate and get better results.
When I help our clients discuss their technology challenges, roadblocks and deliverables they get both excited and worried. They get excited at the prospect of solving a problem and potentially opening up new opportunities for their company. They get worried at the time and money it will cost them. Thankfully, the Government of Canada offers very generous tax incentives like the SR&ED tax credit program that helps businesses push through these challenges and incentivize them to take these risks. Innovation may not be easy, but it is certainly made easier when you have advisors and Government programs that can help support your company through the challenges.
Ryan is the President of ENTAX and leads the ENTAX team consisting of scientists, technologists, accountants and project managers. He prides himself on a diverse understanding of different technologies and business
models and is acutely aware of the challenges of growing technology businesses. In addition to 15 years of professional government funding and SR&ED claim experience, he also has 10 additional years of industry
software development experience. Ryan lives in Vancouver and is active in the local technology community as both an investor and advisor to early stage technology companies.