StartWell Magazine / A New Normal

This multi-format content series relates uniquely honest perspectives from individuals operating and enabling small businesses to survive the economic impacts of Canada’s COVID19 pandemic response.


Our commitment to sharing authentic stories from innovators & entrepreneurs

Among many other things – our lifestyles, livelihoods and sense of safety are being challenged in new ways with our world’s response to the global pandemic.

Though our busy city lives have become quieter with reduced traffic and commercial closures, mass media outlets seem to be shouting louder than ever – reporting on perspectives shared from crystal balls and pulpits alike.

‘Social Distancing’ has entered our common lexicon in just a few weeks and brought questions with it that all seek a natural way of communicating when we can’t physically be together. Despite videoconferencing moving out of the boardroom and into our palms and living rooms, humanity is finding it difficult to exclusively digitize togetherness. Not all hired work is able to be done remotely and joblessness is being faced by millions of people for their first time.

Yes, these are indeed confusing times – however, they have motivated us at StartWell to create our digital magazine for the purpose of sharing authentic stories from our member base and beyond.

In the magazine, A New Normal will bring together unique perspectives of our community and network of Canadian innovators working through the challenges which our society’s pandemic response is creating.

We hope that the stories we publish will offer insights which help demystify the path ahead for all of us.

If you have any recommendations for topics or stories we should cover, need access to space on campus or anything else, you can always reach me via

Qasim Virjee
Founder & CEO, StartWell

Podcast Episodes
A New Normal [iTunes] [Spotify] These conversation are available to listen to and download here from our website as well as our syndication partners – iTunes & Spotify.

Neil Martin (Co-Founder, Project Spaces)

We welcome Neil Martin who relates his company's history, community profile & the importance of coworking for developing communities in urban contexts.

Ali Jiwani (CEO, Rally Video)

On this podcast episode, Toronto-based video startup Rally joins us for a chat making video calling more social using their new platform. Available now!

David Ciccarelli (CEO,

In this episode, we hear from a founder who has grown his startup to 100+ employees, raised millions and understood the value of work-anywhere through C19

Aliya Ramji (MT Ventures @ McCarthy Tétrault)

This conversation was recorded for StartWell's A New Normal series. Aliya Ramji is the co-founder of MT Ventures, McCarthy Tétrault's startup program.

Nikolas Badminton (Futurist Speaker & Advisor)

Badminton breaks down what it means to be a Futurist, relates personal experiences from working through the pandemic and much more in just 30 minutes.

Kelly Peters (CEO & CoFounder, BEworks)

Recently, BEworks developed a WFH Diagnostic Tool. Here, their CEO explains what inspired the tool's development & how they apply its principles. Available now!


The 3 co founders of Toronto-based firm Yenza3 join us by video-link for this episode which covers many topics including remote work culture. Tune in now!

Shez Samji (MD, Silicon Valley Bank Canada)

The Managing Director of Private Equity Services at Silicon Valley Bank Canada shares his perspective on working through the pandemic to A New Normal.

Nav Sangha (Founder, Ambassador)

On this podcast episode, we called up Nav Sangha - the Founder of Ambassador, a Toronto-based startup helping brick-and-mortar retail businesses go digital.

Ujwal Arkalgud (CEO, Motivbase)

Ujwal Arkalgud offers some consumer trends he's seeing at the moment and offers his take on how companies might use this time as an opportunity to innovate.

Tarun Nayar (Director, 5x Festival)

We dialled up Tarun in Vancouver for his take on changes in the music industry and what entertainment trends he sees emerging from this pandemic period.

Sameer Mohamed (Founder, Fahrenheit Coffee)

On this episode, we caught up with Sameer Mohammed in Old Toronto to hear how the pandemic is affecting his award-winning specialty coffee business. Out now!