Donor Feature: Meet Mark Dhillon

In March 2021, VFC launched our first-ever annual Removing Barriers into Entrepreneurship Campaign. 100% of the generosity of our donors supports scholarships for young people with financial barriers to participating in the VFC Fellowship Program, a 15-month entrepreneurial skills training program that equips young Canadians with the skills, network, and experience they need to build successful career paths. 

You can learn more about the campaign here. In this series of features, you’ll learn about the diverse paths and lived experiences of our donors made up of VFC Alumni, ecosystem partners, startup leaders, and other influencers in the Canadian startup community.

Hey Mark! Tell us a little bit about yourself? 

My name is Mark, and I’m a 2016 Fellow originally from Ottawa. I now live in Toronto. My background in Engineering. After that degree did an MBA at Carleton. After going through school, I upscaled real-estate startups and became a VC. More recently, I became an entrepreneur and founded a company called Memo. Memo is a fundraising tool for founders and also potential investors. 

We are currently in stealth mode and just raised our pre-seed round. We’re currently working towards our launch date and hopefully will be up and running earlier in the fall this year!

Ps.  you can learn more about Mark’s career trajectory and his skateboarding background in our podcast episode Serendipedous Moments, Serendipitous Connections.

Clearly, you have that entrepreneurial drive. Why are you passionate about entrepreneurship and supporting other future startup leaders and founders?

To me, it all stems back to my belief that society is founded on entrepreneurship. My family is from India. Everyone there started their own shops and farms. It’s integral to the culture and such a big part of their society. Entrepreneurship is the essence of how things are innovated and evolve, which is the reason why I love working so much with founders. They’re the ones that are the risk-takers, innovators, the big thinkers. This work is incredibly fulfilling. 

Entrepreneurial folks are the ones that can change the world for the better. Regardless of whether they succeed, that amount of knowledge they gain throughout that process is super important for our ecosystem. That’s how we perpetually grow and thrive as a community by building and giving innovative technologies or socials to society.

We love that and agree. Ultimate our sky blue vision is economic development through entrepreneurial opportunities for all. Mark, when we say a more inclusive, entrepreneurial Canada, what do you envision?

I envision a Canada where no one feels like there’s a barrier for them to be successful in their career.  Looking back, for the past 30 years, it’s been dominated by white males. What I want is for people from any race, any colour, any sex, any gender, any person not to encounter inequitable barriers and for all of them to achieve their dreams. I think that would be an amazing future to move towards.  I believe VFC is moving the needle towards right now and something the whole ecosystem is striving for. It’s been a humbling and transparent process to see unfold. 

Lateefa Farah is a content creator who has a passion for listening and sharing people's inspirational...