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She is a tech entrepreneur, Dragon on CBC's Next Gen Dragon's Den, Startup Canada's Woman Entrepreneur of the Year, and founder and CEO of OMX (Offset Market Exchange), a procurement platform. Nicole Verkindt describes herself as being passionate about Canada and innovation. 

On September 27, she'll be speaking at Canadians Connected about cybersecurity and how to secure your small business and embrace digitization.

What are you most excited about for Canadians Connected?

I have been an entrepreneur my whole life and have ridden the ups and downs and realities of what it's like to truly be in the trenches. I love being around other small business owners and entrepreneurs - we all speak the same language and no matter what sector you are in, tend to have the same challenges and opportunities. I am really looking forward to talking about digitization trends that will affect all of us. I'll be talking about how we can leverage those trends as our greatest advantage for Canadian businesses and continue to grow the .CA presence all around the world. 

What advice would you give to business owners who want to get educated on cybersecurity?

I have learned a lot by talking to technical people (my CTO) and listening to podcasts. It's an ever-evolving world, but that shouldn't stop an organization from embracing digitization. 

With your experience working in Canada and internationally, how does Canada's tech landscape differ from other countries?

We are too risk adverse in Canada. We need to embrace that failure is a key part innovation and change. If all sectors of our economy do not embrace the way the whole world is changing and do not get ahead of it, our whole economy and society will suffer. It may sound dramatic but I believe it. The problem is that we have a bias (especially in big organizations) towards doing nothing even if in the back of our minds we know that long term that could hurt us more. I love Canada. It's such a great place to live and I think that makes us a little too comfortable at times. 

In your opinion, what are the next Canadian technology trends to watch for and what can businesses do to prepare themselves?

The big one is AI (Artificial Intelligence), but you need big, structured data that comes from digitizing your processes before you can really leverage AI. If you are not digital, you will never benefit from it. 

Learn more from Nicole and other experts about cybersecurity and privacy by attending Canadians Connected on September 27th in Ottawa or via webcast. Register now!