Innovation in Business: Challenges and Success
The SimplyCast Story: The speedbumps of developing a global technology company in Nova Scotia
Many companies in Canada are focused on developing SaaS (Software as a Service) businesses, but SimplyCast decided instead to develop a PaaS (Platform as a Service) business where the team could create many SaaS solutions under the same platform. This approach has a 97% chance of failure compared to small, singularly focused technology businesses.
SimplyCast has grown to become a global provider of multi-channel automation capabilities and now has clients in over 175 countries. SimplyCast was and continues to be proudly 100% Nova Scotian-owned and has had no external funding other than from ACOA and IRAP.
SimplyCast has had plans from the beginning to go IPO and has been working very hard over the past nine years to develop the internal processes and guidance to support this objective.
Founder and President/CEO, SimplyCast
Saeed El-Darahali, MBA, BSc, CHR, is the president and CEO of SimplyCast, a leading provider of multi-channel communication services that empower organizations to create, manage, and track their campaigns.
Under Saeed’s leadership, SimplyCast was awarded the 2017 Consumer Choice Award for Digital Online Marketing, the Game Changer Award for Best Youth Employer, and two bronze 2016 Halifax Business Awards (Business of the Year and Innovative Business of the Year). Saeed was the 2016 bronze recipient of Business Person of the Year.
Saeed volunteers on the Black Business Board, Immigration Services Association of Nova Scotia, Halifax Chamber of Commerce, Between the Bridges, Sobey’s School Business Advisory Board, EduNova, Women of Excellence Awards, and One NS Coalition. Saeed is also an advisor with the Federal Innovation Round Table.
Saeed has spoken at many conferences including NAWeb, CABI, 7th World Congress of e-Business, Enterprise Atlantic, ARCN, IEEE Young Professional Seminars, and was the guest speaker at Saint Mary’s University’s convocation in Jan ’17. He was also a part-time lecturer at Saint Mary’s, teaching a computer information systems course.
Saeed is an alumni, coach, and supporter of Junior Achievement Nova Scotia as well as a mentor for various organizations including The Canadian Youth Business Foundation, The Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Network, Bank of Canada – High Growth ICT Business Consultation, Government of Canada – Pre-Budget Consultation. Saeed was also a board member for Startup Halifax, a celebrity judge with Junior Achievement of Nova Scotia, a guest speaker on Eastlink TV, and the 41st speak at the Annual Sobey school of Business Commerce Society Dinner.
Regional Executive Director for Innovation, Science and Economic Development (ISED) Canada
Surita Maddox became the Innovation Science and Economic Development (ISED) Atlantic Regional Executive Director in January 2018.
This new appointment is in many ways a return home for Surita who was born and raised in Newfoundland and Labrador, and who has spent more than 17 years working at ISED.
Surita first joined the public sector in 2000 as a commerce officer with Industry Canada, ISED’s predecessor department. Since then, she’s held various policy and program positions with increasing responsibilities within the department, including: Senior Advisor to the Assistant Deputy Minister, Industry Sector; District Director, Spectrum Management; Deputy Executive Director, Atlantic Region; and A/Senior Director with the Industrial Technologies Office. Surita recently returned to the Department fromInfrastructure Canada where she worked as the Senior Director of the Canada Infrastructure Bank Transition Office.
She holds a Bachelor of Science from St. Francis Xavier University, and a Masters in Business Administration from Memorial University of Newfoundland.
During her off time, Surita enjoys yoga, running and taking spin classes, as well as traveling to Newfoundland to spend quality time with her family.