The Edmonton Town Hall burst forth with new ideas and new insights for solving Canada’s entrepreneurial challenges. Let’s jump right to the top ideas.
Mentorporium: A face to face mentor-entrepreneur connection platform, ju
st like a Lava Life, that matches mentors to entrepreneurs through a startup dating site. A special component to the Mentorporium launch plan would include a mentor attraction strategy. This strategy, a unique competitive advantage, would fully utilize and leverage local business support groups, incubators, accelerators, professional service firms, etc. to identify and reach out to a large critical mass of top local mentor talent, whose skillsets and experience profiles would be carefully aligned to a focused database of business sectors and life cycle challenges.
High Growth Funding: A funding clearing house and investor coordination system that would structure the 7% RRSP maximum (that can be invested in firms) into a vibrant local business growth fund for early stage startups. Investors who are interested in using the 7% maximum to beef up their RRSPs with a few higher risk/higher return investments, would be directed towards solid early stage business opportunities. A seasoned board of experienced investors and entrepreneurs would review all firm applications to the High Growth Funding platform, and this board would help to ensure that RRSP investors would be putting their dollars towards credible, fully vetted investment opportunities. Regarding funding delivery, High Growth Funding would provide $50,000 lines of credit to successful firms selected for investment, and this amount could be increased up to $200,000 for the acquisition of essential capital equipment. The group presenting the High Growth Funding Solution noted that the systems are mostly in place to deliver their solution, including the regulatory, legal, and financial components, it’s just that no organization is coordinating the potential investment dollars, and directing them towards a community-focused entrepreneurial solution. High Growth Funding would also partner with other groups looking to provide essential non-financial support services to firms to give their companies the best shot at success, and their investors the best returns.
Critical Mass: A two part summer business startup festival that would, in summer one, leverage existing tools, resources, and networks like Students in Free Entreprise and Startup Weekends to encourage a massive number of students to startup businesses. In summer two, successful businesses would be profiled and celebrated, and a wide range of investment, professional support, mentorship, and connections would be brought to top firms to help them continue to grow and develop. Critical Mass would also feature a heavy celebration and advocacy component designed to get students excited and interested in starting their own businesses, and in summer two, the startup festival would travel throughout the province showcasing great firms, great business ideas, and great success stories.
entreAB: A one-sto- shop for all knowledge, tools, services, infrastructure, and network connections necessary to support an entrepreneur to startup and grow a new business. entreAB could be initially launched through an online portal, which would provide the first point of contact for new firms and entrepreneurs to access a broad network of services and support designed to help them solve common business challenges. The group presenting the entreAB solution also noted that their system would allow firms to navigate support services and resources according to progressive stages of the business growth life cycle, and the unique challenge that often faced by firms at each stage.
Startup Connect: A platform to connect entrepreneurs with local mentors, innovators, and business experts in one day sessions that are targeted at helping an entrepreneur address a single, critical business challenge. Firms would work with their mentor/advisor group over a one day period, and would develop a solution plan and schedule to address their specific business challenge. The mentor/advisor group would then remain connected to the firm they are helping, according to the solution schedule jointly developed with the firm, and each (firm and mentor/advisor group) would be responsible to ensure the firm’s success in implementing the proposed solution. The idea is that solutions will be developed and launched with short timeframes, which will quickly enable an entrepreneur to determine if they can tackle the critical challenge their business is facing, backed up by great guidance and support. If not they will know it is time to significantly alter the business tactics, or pivot their business strategy and move on to their next adventure. The moto is “Succeed fast or fail fast, with the support to tackle what’s next.”
Overall, we saw a bunch of really inventive ideas emerging from the Edmonton Town Hall, and we look forward to seeing which projects will be advance over the coming 3 months.