Taking its cue from the tens of thousands of Canadians who made their voices heard on the Startup Canada National Tour from May to September 2012, and as a national grassroots, entrepreneur-led network, one of Startup Canada’s three priorities for 2012 is to develop StartupConnect.ca.
Startup Canada Connect will be a highly social online space for entrepreneurs to plug into their local and national network and take their startup to the next level. Startup Canada Connect will be free, dynamic, comprehensive, personalized, underpinned by living startup communities on the ground and built by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs.
This will be THE FIRST PLACE THAT CANADIAN ENTREPRENEURS GO ONLINE TO START THEIR VENTURES and is tied into our Canadian Startup Ecosystem Roadmap based on building and supporting vibrant and connected STARTUP COMMUNITIES.
As a 100% volunteer run organization, we have launched a crowd funding campaign to help to bring this to life. The crowd funding effort is just as much about putting together the team to build the platform as it is about raising the capital. We have a proven track record of working lean, on a shoestring, achieving results and making an impact through our collaborative approach.
Investors will form the working group that will inform what the platform will do, how it will look, and will ensure that the platform adds value to entrepreneurs, startups, enterprise support organizations and the overall startup ecosystem in Canada.
All funds will be put toward building, populating, testing and refining Startup Connect. We will work in partnership with a young Canadian startup to design and build the website based on the specifications of the investors in the project and what we heard from Canadians on the tour.
All investors (at every level) will receive progress updates and full disclosure about how all funds are being used, as they are part of the project team.
Here are some of our Investors so far who will be helping to build the project:
Individual Benefactors & Heritage Supporters ($250 – $500): For Individual Benefactors, investing in Startup Connect is an investment in the future of Canadian entrepreneurship – building the new railway for economic and social progress in Canada through entrepreneurship.
- Scott Annan
- Davender Gupta
- Adam Jacques
- Joel C Adams
- Dwight Follick
- Elisabeth Preston
- Debbie Weinstein
- Yi Ning Wu
Community Collaborators ($1,000): For Community Collaborators, investing in Startup Connect positions their organizations as key nodes of the Startup Canada network nationwide, ensuring that Startup Connect adds value to them in becoming a key component of their marketing and outreach strategy, and ensuring that entrepreneurs know about and can easily access the support that they provide.
- Viatec – Victoria, British Columbia
- Accelerator Centre – Waterloo, Ontario
- Innovation Park – Kingston, Ontario
- Springboard Atlantic – Throughout Atlantic Canada
- Canadian Youth Business Foundation – Across Canada
- Quebec International – Quebec City, Quebec
- PEI BioAlliance – Charlottetown, PE
Startup Collaborators ($2,500): For Startup Collaborators, investing in Startup Connect is a strategic business decision, ensuring that their startup will be at the forefront of the small business community in Canada and known by entrepreneurs and those who support them nationwide.
With more than 100 investors so far, we are 22% toward our fundraising and partnership goals for this project. Any amount will make a difference and will get you onto the Startup Connect Team. It is just as much about your engagement as your investment. Our Deadline is January
This is what entrepreneurs told us across Canada:
At a fundamental level, starting a business, sole proprietorship, non-profit or social enterprise requires much of the same knowledge, skills and understanding. However, Canadian entrepreneurs continue to struggle with navigating the ecosystem and finding the support they need. Canada needs a one-stop shop for enterprise inspiration, support, learning and connectivity – one that is free, online, dynamic, easy-to-use, comprehensive, personalized and user friendly. This online dashboard needs to:
- Provide a meeting place and voice for entrepreneurs;
- Aggregate resources and support available to entrepreneurs based on their location, demographic profile, stage of firm development and industry;
- Connect them to online and in-person networks, communities and associations of relevance to them;
- Inform them of events and opportunities to learn and connect with others in the community;
- Provide them with access to existing learning resources (tutorials, templates, case studies) and live support;
- Support them along the continuum of enterprise growth from start to ramp-up to acceleration;
- Provide a marketplace for entrepreneurs to find co-founders, exchange services and post jobs; and
- Feature inspiring articles, multimedia and case studies to encourage Canadian entrepreneurs to think bigger, think globally, be sustainable, and leverage innovation and technology to grow.
While entrepreneurship is messy contact sport, ensuring that the one-stop shop provides an organic, bottom-up and entrepreneur-led solution with an eye to the entrepreneur’s user experience can retain the creativity and competition present in the ecosystem. This one-stop shop should be highly social, aim to speed access to support, and become a vital tool in every entrepreneur’s toolkit.
Let’s get it done Canada!