Natalie Dakers seems to be “good at...making things happen.” Dakers can see the gaps in a business, and figure out the best way to address the issue. She says she brings the business perspective to science, and drives early innovation to a place where it can shine. It's these qualities that have contributed to Dakers success in starting four separate companies.
Dakers received the 2015 Startup Canada Entrepreneur of the Year Award, West Coast Region for her role as the CEO and founding president of her most current venture, Accel-Rx. Accel-Rx is a national organization dedicated to increasing health sciences company creation and ensuring these startups have the proper resources they need to grow. Dakers is considered by many to be a significant figure in the country’s pharmaceutical industry, with her leadership resulting in the establishment of numerous commercial opportunities.
Entrepreneurship for Dakers is, by definition, “unchartered territory” that brings similar challenges for business owners of any gender. However, Dakers does point out that the number of female executives and board members is “nowhere near where it should be.”
“My job as a senior executive is to show that it is possible to go big and encourage more women to take the responsibility of making that happen for themselves,” says Dakers.
Given the nature of her work, Dakers says she forms partnerships as soon as possible to transition ideas into a reality.
“You have to have a vision, but you also need to know how to execute on that vision,” Dakers says.
Dakers has many suggestions for aspiring entrepreneurs, ranging from creating a team of people with complementary skills, assembling a board of directors early on, and remembering not to give up.
“You will hear ‘no’ more than ‘yes.’ A lot more,” Dakers says. “But that's why you are an entrepreneur. You are doing things before others and so they might not be ready for what you have to say.”
Being an entrepreneur is a lot of hard work, and requires passion from the business owner, Dakers says. However, she also notes that entrepreneurship offers the “freedom to pursue your dreams.”
In terms of next steps, Dakers explains her company's plan to focus on crucial investments.
“We have to continue to invest in the best early stage health innovation companies in Canada,” Dakers says. “And ensure that they are positioned in the most optimal way possible for securing the right kind of capital and attracting the best talent.”
Accel-Rx is a national organization dedicated to increasing health sciences company creation and ensuring these startups have the proper resources they need to grow.
This success story is provided by Startup Canada – a national social enterprise supporting and giving a voice to entrepreneurs.