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CANADIAN INDUSTRY ONLINE - DECEMBER 2015Arlene DickinsonAFTER LEAVING CBC’S Drag- ons’ Den in 2015, Arlene Dickin- son had big plans. For eight seasons,Dickinson was a forthright, deal-mak- ing investor on the hit show, but the time came for her to pursue her own path.The CEO of Calgary’s Venture Communications, Dickinson raised four children while growing her business—a testament to her resilience and tenacity. Two years after her exit from Dragons’ Den, and Dickinson has launched three signi cant projects: District Ventures, a business accelerator located in Calgary; District Ventures CPG, a venture capital fund geared towards consumer goods, in the food and beverage and health and wellness sectors; and the District Ventures and IBM Innovation Space, a tech hub that connects large enter- prise with entrepreneurs to solve the country’s biggest business challenges. Dickinson recently spoke with CIO to tell us about her new ventures, passion for Canadian business, and decision to help entrepreneurs.You have a knack for recognizing potential in entrepreneurs—what are the personality traits that have helped get you to where you are today?I would say that perseverance, and the ability to get up and go even when things get really bad are key character traits that have helped me. The nextthing that has been important to me is a positive outlook: the ability to think positively and believe that you can suc- ceed.Of course it’s important as an en- trepreneur to have a solid business plan, but what about  exibility?You need to be adaptable to un- foreseen challenges, but I think the most important thing an entrepreneur can have is focus. As an entrepreneur it’s easy to tell yourself that something outside your business is important, but in reality it’s just taking time away from your business. What you need is laser focus. Time is your most important re- source and if you spend your time on the wrong things, you lose.What sectors of the economy do you see some important businesses shaping up? Where is there lots of op- portunity in Canada?“I think the most important thing an entrepreneur can have is focus.”8 | Canadian Industry Online | April, 2017 

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