What kind of services do you offer in your organization?
Startup Calgary supports entrepreneurs reshaping Calgary. We grow and strengthen our startup community by facilitating collisions of diverse people, ideas and skills. To help ideation and conception stage entrepreneurs, we offer community events, programs, workshops and advice. This includes Startup Essentials, Startup Drinks & Pitches, Launch Party and various other networking and event opportunities, many of which can be found in our Community Events Calendar.
What makes your organization unique?
We have a deep connection with the local startup community that can’t be replicated. Through our advisors, program coordinators and events, we are always creating a more interconnected community while also showcasing the great things happening in the Calgary ecosystem. We love sharing the triumphs and successes of entrepreneurs who have completed our programming, with success stories others can read here. The Calgary startup founders are always willing to lend a hand to other founders--even those who would be considered their competition.
Fostering this culture of openness and collaboration is important for us; we work hard to ensure everyone with a good idea and an entrepreneurial vision is welcome at Startup Calgary. As part of Platform Calgary (especially as we move into the public space of the Platform Innovation Centre), that value of accessibility to the innovation ecosystem is front and centre.
What has been your biggest challenges this past years? And how did you solve it?
Certainly, everyone has struggled with adapting to a global pandemic and how it changed the way we connected with each other. For an organization that is based on creating connections between startup founders, advisors, and other resources, we discovered we needed to pivot quickly. This meant moving events and resources online as quickly as possible and exploring new technology that can simulate the experience of being in a room with people you may not know and having meaningful collisions in the process. These tools may not be a perfect replacement for the in-person experiences we host, but they will now be a good option to supplement our programming in a post-pandemic world.
In a city where the growth of our tech sector has largely happened under the radar, it can be difficult to build awareness about our startup community and all the partners and resources available to help entrepreneurs. To increase awareness about available resources, and to encourage connections within the community, we revamped the community events calendar to amplify opportunities for networking and professional and personal development. Each year, our signature event--Launch Party--invites the whole city to learn about and celebrate the best of our startup community. It continues to be an important way to share the story about our growing tech community as it becomes a key part of our city’s economic future.
What do you see being your biggest challenges in the future?
Calgary is in the midst of transitioning its narrative from that of an oil and gas town to a more diversified economy. While that real transition has been happening for some time, the story Calgarians tell about ourselves is still catching up to reality. It is also a story that is more nuanced and inclusive than a simple change from one industry to another. It is important that we continue to work at telling the stories of our startup-driven innovation economy. In doing so, we will reframe the way Calgarians view ourselves and our collective future. Startup Calgary, Platform Calgary, our partners and the rest of the ecosystem have a significant role to play in this narrative--in addition to actively creating new businesses, new jobs, and diversifying our economy.
Any implementation you intend to keep from this pandemic time?
With the Startup Calgary team merging with the Platform Calgary team earlier this year, we are expanding our reach and providing more Calgary entrepreneurs with the tools they need to succeed. Our digital presence has become stronger over the course of the last year with online events and programming. As communities start opening up, we will provide high quality digital experiences in addition to our successful in-person programming. We are excited to be providing these experiences in our new space and Calgary’s new home for innovators: Platform Innovation Centre opening fall 2021.
Why did you choose to use the startup ecosystem development phase tool?
The Startup Commons phase tool provides a shareable common language for our entire innovation ecosystem. It allows accelerators and service providers to understand how to better serve startups, and it helps us to make the right connections to startups based on the size and stage of the company. It is a powerful tool supporting even better collaboration within our ecosystem.
What could we add to offer you a better service?
The Startup Commons model is relatively linear and straightforward, however that is rarely the case for the entrepreneurial journey. As entrepreneurs, you don’t simply jump from -2 to -1 to 0--sometimes you stay stuck at 1 then go back to -2. And that’s okay. Acknowledging that less linear pathway can reaffirm for startup founders that they are on the right path for them.
What would you tell someone considering using our framework?
The framework is an excellent tool for entrepreneurs and ecosystem builders alike. It really helps you understand where you are, as an entrepreneur, and where you need to go next. For ecosystem builders, it helps us identify how we can help entrepreneurs and which resources they may need next.
This is an originally posted by Benoit Watteyne. You are free to re-edit and repost this in your own blog or other use under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License terms, by giving credit with a link to www.startupcommons.org and the original post
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