What can Manitoba's parties offer our innovators and entrepreneurs?

Four Manitoba innovators and entrepreneurs will be asking election candidates about policies that could help them thrive in the province.

Join us for Information Radio's live show on Wednesday from 6 - 8:30 a.m. at the River & Osborne Starbucks

They are the the start-ups, the researchers and the entrepreneurs. They're also the future of Manitoba. So what can we do to keep them here? And help them thrive?

We'll find out this Wednesday, when Information Radio goes live on-location at Winnipeg's Starbucks in Osborne Village. 

We've invited these innovators to help ask the candidates what their party will do, to help the entrepreneurs of the day, thrive in the future.

Meet Alex Drysdale.


Drysdale is the owner of Crik Nutrition, which makes protein powder out of crickets.

"A pound of cricket has twice the protein than a pound of beef!"

He has raised $17,000 to sell the product in 22 countries.

"I always wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I never thought it was possible."

He's now on the cutting edge of going grand scale. But there are too many hurdles between start-up entrepreneurs and the financial support they need.

"Right now, it's like a unicorn trying to get a lasso around it."

His question to candidates: 

"What can you do to foster innovation?"

Meet Lisa Muswagon.

She's the owner of Native Model Studio.

"I teach confidence and self-esteem workshops."

Based on a business out of Arizona, Lisa and husband  go into communities throughout North America, especially on reserves where kids are in crisis. Teaching self-empowerment and self-awareness, by nurturing their skills in everything from traditional beading to traditional fashion design.

Lisa says her home community of Pimicikamak supported her when she earned her CGA (Chartered General Accountant).

Now Pimicikamak is struggling with a suicide crisis among their youth.

"That's why my husband and I went home and we're going back again. They supported me. We want to support them."

But while her business is in demand across the country, finding financial seed money is a challenge.

"I can't find the grants to support us. Even though this is a rapidly growing area."

Her question to candidates: 

"What will your party do for entrepreneurs on First Nations communities who face multiple barriers to start up a business?"

Meet Corey King.

He's the co-owner of Zenfri, Inc. He makes interactive stories and virtual reality video games. All on apps.

"I actually never really gave up my imagination as a kid."

Clandestine: Anomaly is a game where earth is invaded by aliens. You get to decide where on earth the attack takes place.

"You can even fight the aliens in your own backyard."

King flipped burgers before he found a mentor who supports start-up business. "They didn't care that I was this guy with crazy bad hair and no business experience. They said 'how can we help?'"

He thinks our next government should better cultivate the made-in-Manitoba brand of entrepreneurs.

"We aren't and never will be Silicon Valley. We're Manitoban, and we need a cultural message that is uniquely ours."

His question to candidates:

"What cultural message would you send, to inspire others to think Manitoban and invest in our entrepreneurs?"

Meet Dr. Digvir Jayas.

He's Vice President Research and International at the University of Manitoba

He says right now, the U of M oversees upwards of $160 million in research, in all the areas of the humanities.

Only 15 per cent of the funding comes from the province.

(Manitoba ranks seventh in the country when it comes to investing in research).

"I think the public needs to be concerned. Money spent on research is an investment into the future."
Researchers here do everything from studying better ways to make ramen noodles (that late night staple of students everywhere) -- to researching better ways to improve the health of middle-aged Manitobans (perhaps lay off the ramen noodles?)

But too many researchers have solid proposals that don't get funded, because the province won't match grant funds from the feds.

"Much of the federal government funding requires matching funds from the province. And that doesn't happen."

His question to candidates: 

"Will you make a commitment to provide funding on a per capita basis, at least on par with other provinces?"

And what about you, Manitoba? What do you think we need to help great ideas grow and thrive here?

We want your input too, so join us!

Live at the Starbucks in Winnipeg's Osborne Village. 481 River Avenue, this Wednesday morning, from 6 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.

Pop in, have a coffee, meet the candidates and share your ideas! All this Wednesday on Information Radio.


Donna Carreiro

CBC Radio Current Affairs Producer

Donna Carreiro is a nationally award-winning producer and journalist, who has worked for more than 29 years with CBC Manitoba. Prior to that, she was a print journalist for a daily newspaper and local magazines. She is drawn to stories of social justice (or injustice) that give a voice to those who most need one. She can be reached at