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Dan Belhassen

Here at Neovation, we like to say that we don’t care about training – we care about outcomes. We want your company to be powered by knowledge. What does that mean? The more your team knows, the more effective and efficient they become, more productive, and more engaged. They will work more safely, offer better customer service, and crush their compliance requirements – whatever the metrics you need to improve – online training can get you there.

Tell us about yourself?

I was an early adopter when it came to computers – I got my first computer back in the day when no one had computers. The more I understood about technology and business, the more I was convinced that this was my path. I was always seeing opportunities where technology and business could intersect. When the Internet became a thing, over about a decade, I built what was, at the time, Western Canada’s largest online marketing and web design company, Modern Earth.

Around 2007 to 2008, we found ourselves building customized training platforms for four of our clients, and the light bulb went off! I could already see the impact that platforms like WordPress were having on the custom web design business, chipping away slowly at our potential client base – so it made sense to diversify. We built SmarterU, our flagship Learning Management System, and launched it in 2009.

It was so successful that in 2012, five of us split off from Modern Earth, which I still owned, and literally moved our desks across the hall to start a new company, Neovation. We started adding Custom Learning services in 2013, added our microlearning platform, OttoLearn, in 2017, and are now planning to launch an exciting new version of SmarterU 3.0 in 2025.

We have hundreds of clients worldwide, from small franchises to major urban governments, healthcare facilities, large hospitality chains, and everything in between. And it feels like we’re just getting started.

If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?

I’d tell myself, “Think Bigger”, that the greatest limiting factor is the one you impose on yourself.

What problem does your business solve?

Training is at the heart of any business success. You are only as good as your team. If your team isn’t adequately trained, they can’t do their best for you. 60 per cent of employees who switch jobs are doing that because they feel they have limited growth potential – and that’s often due to a lack of training. Over 80 per cent of employees actively want to learn new skills. If you aren’t training your team, you risk higher employee churn!

Some companies think that training starts and ends with onboarding, but that isn’t the case. Online training can be a powerful component of change management. By upskilling and reskilling your team, you retain your investment in your existing people, in addition to giving new hires a strong start with a dynamic onboarding experience.

Also, 99 per cent of workplace accidents are considered preventable, so that’s also an area where effective, engaging online training can make a real difference in the workplace.

Online training is a problem-solver in its own way, with more and more companies having remote workers, teams, or divisions in various locations. Online training can reduce the costs of sending out trainers to do classroom or shopfloor sessions. This can allow your trainers to do what they do best – build better training materials and analyze where there are gaps and opportunities for additional training resources, performance supports, etc. And the ability to focus on specific training needs. When you move your training online, you get real-time stats about who is engaging – who is performing well or underperforming – so you can address it to keep your team on track for improvement.

What is the inspiration behind your business?

One of my team often says, “We’ll never know the lives we’ve changed by providing businesses with online training.” Meaning people develop skills and get promoted, get paid more, can buy a house, raise a family, and have happy, productive lives. We’ll never know the lives we’ve saved or the accidents we’ve prevented. A worker losing a hand on a bandsaw or losing an eye because they weren’t trained on proper protective gear because of online training. That’s the human side.

On the business side, as an entrepreneur, I know how hard it is to earn success. Even when everything is going right, there are still so many things that can go wrong that can have a negative impact on our business, and this is true for every business out there. Training can reduce employee turnover. Training can reduce the chances of a cyber-security breach. Training makes the workplace more productive, safer, and keeps your employees engaged, improving performance. All of that adds up in a hundred small ways to make your business more effective and profitable. An investment in online training pays off in so many ways – large and small.

What is your magic sauce?

Neovation’s greatest asset is our people. We’ve worked for over ten years to build a company and a team that I’m really proud of. We’ve grown from the original five – and three of us are still here – to a team of almost 75, and we proudly offer what others have called the most responsive levels of customer care in our industry. Everyone, from our programmers to our QA team to our UX squad, custom learning team, sales, and marketing, keeps our current and future clients in mind with everything we build and do.

We are proud to be one of North America’s few full-service eLearning companies. We have the technology platforms that offer training. We have a team of in-house custom learning specialists who can convert your Post-it notes, recipe cards, and binders full of training manuals into great online courses. We can be your company’s LMS administrator through our Premium Dedicated Support team – separate from our Success Desk, which takes care of day-to-day client care. We offer analytics consulting to help you make sense of your training data. We do data imports, software integrations, and anything you need to succeed in online training.

When we say, “Neovation is here to help”, we mean it, and if there is something we can’t do, we’ll find someone who can help you solve your problem – like foreign-language translation or a subject matter expert in your field.

What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?

Like any business, to continue to serve our clients to the best of our ability, to expand the number of clients we can help, and continue to build and to nurture a great team. All of this adds to our success.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?

Economic disruption has a rippling impact beyond what people may think. When companies are laying off people, they are much less likely to invest in tools and services for the team that remains. When you have fewer people doing the work, I think they need more training, not less. Help them bear the additional load and broaden their skills. That doesn’t happen as much when economic times are tough.

How can people get involved?

I’m going to answer this in two ways.

We’re always looking for great talent to work with us to help our clients achieve their training objectives. If you are an instructional designer, graphic designer, programmer, or QA specialist, visit our careers page on the Neovation website

And, if you are a company that wants to improve your team’s performance through effective, engaging online training, we can help. Reach out to us at or visit our website and fill out our contact form. We help companies JUST LIKE YOURS, and we’d love to talk to you. We’ll get back to you to schedule a meeting with one of our team to explore what might be possible. If you are already using a training platform, our Custom learning team can help you build content for your existing system, and our Premium Dedicated Support team can assist with account administration. So, no matter where you are on your online training journey, we can likely assist you in some way. And that’s why we’re here.