Venture Law for Canadian Entrepreneurs
A resource for Canadian entrepreneurs to understand the legal issues that impact their business.
The following is a draft preface to a book which is still in the works:
This book is for entrepreneurs, not lawyers. If you are a lawyer, put the book down and go outside. If you are an entrepreneur, or an aspiring entrepreneur, this book is to help you wade though the trenches with practical legal tips and information for building and protecting your business. Consider it your legal guide for implementing your business idea and understanding the law surrounding your business. The book focuses on core legal issues every entrepreneur should at least consider and understand during the seed stage. I provide case examples, and examples from my own legal practice, where I have seen entrepreneurs succeed and fail.
In the first two years of my practice as a litigator, I came to realize that too many businesses fall apart as a result of not having completed the important legal processes early on. From not entering contracts with third parties and shareholder disputes tearing a business apart to government authorities seizing assets and shutting businesses down. It is not enough to build a great business, you must know how to protect your business as well.
I love working with entrepreneurs. Their personalities are electrifying, positive and optimistic. When it comes to working with entrepreneurs, the lawyer’s role, and my objective for this book, is to educate and protect them on their way to achieving their business goals. It is to highlight, mitigate and protect against risks, while letting the entrepreneur decide whether he or she will take them.
Entrepreneurship is alive and well in Canada. More and more Canadians are capitalizing on their dreams of operating their own businesses. From baby boomers parting with long held careers to the “youth” entrepreneurship movement inspired by us 20 and 30 something year olds. There are a number of great entrepreneurs leading Canada’s next generation of innovation. The success of organizations like Victoria Lennox’s “Startup Canada” is a testament to the growing popularity of becoming an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurship is now a way of life.
Somewhere along the line, entrepreneurship not only became an option in university programs, but it actually became “cool”. As college students started making money online and building business empires like Facebook and Google, fewer hockey players were born in Canada. Now more than ever, teenagers and young adults are aspiring to become entrepreneurs.
As entrepreneurship becomes more appealing as a way of life, the support system for entrepreneurs is growing. From educational institutions building a host of incubator and accelerator programs to financial regulators gearing up to permit equity crowdfunding. However, startups have gone largely underserved by professional service providers (lawyers and accountants).
Most entrepreneurs skip important legal, tax and accounting advice at the startup stage simply because the services are not accessible on lean startup budgets. This book aims to bridge the gap in legal knowledge amongst the next generation of Canadian entrepreneurs. It helps startups understand important legal issues surrounding:
- starting a business;
- co-founder and shareholder agreements;
- avoiding risk, disputes and litigation;
- securing intellectual property rights;
- stock option plans and contracts with employees and contractors;
- raising capital; and
- much more.
“There has never been a better time, in the history of time, than right now to start a business.”
– Gary Vayner, Vayner Media Founder
John Wires, B.A., J.D.
John Wires is a corporate lawyer from Toronto, Canada. He has argued matters in the Ontario Superior Court, the Ontario Court of Appeal and private arbitrations on issues spanning from business, shareholder and employment disputes to corporate fraud.
In 2013 John opened his own corporate commercial law firm delivering legal services to entrepreneurs and small and medium sized business across Canada. From setting up and protecting businesses to closing M&A transactions for clients selling their businesses, Wires Law is taking the lead as a modern law firm. The firm prides itself on implementing modern technology to make the practice more efficient to enable it to offer fixed fee services.
John is an advisor to the National Crowdfunding Association (“NCFA”), a not-for-profit working hard to promote crowdfunding as a means for Canadian businesses to access capital. John has been covered in the Globe and Mail, Toronto Star, CBC News, TechVibes and the Canadian Bar Association’s National Magazine on Crowdfunding in Canada. He has been a guest lecturer on crowdfunding at Ryerson University and Communitech in Waterloo.