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Startup Canada Tour Kick-Off in Halifax

Startup Canada Tour Kick-Off in Halifax

Courtesy of Startup Canada

Ottawa, ON (Tuesday, March 27, 2012) - The first leg of Startup Canada's National Tour reached more than 500 entrepreneurs and members of the enterprise support community in Nova Scotia last week, identifying some of the top areas of action to advance entrepreneurship in Nova Scotia, including the need to: develop a smoother entrepreneurial journey for entrepreneurs with regards to enterprise support; increase awareness and experiential learning opportunities for youth in entrepreneurship; expand entrepreneur-to-entrepreneur mentorship opportunities; and, develop virtual and physical spaces for entrepreneurial collaboration.

The six-month National Tour, which kicked off in Halifax on March 19, aims to engage 25,000 Canadians in a national conversation about how to encourage, support and leverage entrepreneurship in Canada. The feedback from this tour will be used to draft a concrete, community-backed action plan for Startup Canada to take forward and a white paper, which will be presented to Stephen Harper in the fall.

"While these challenges are not unique to our province, the vision for a strong entrepreneurial culture in Nova Scotia has never been more urgent, more innovative, and more forward-looking than it is right now," said Rustum Southwell, CEO of the Black Business Initiative and Chair of Startup Canada's Nova Scotia Provincial Steering Committee. "The Black Business Initiative is proud to partner with Startup Canada and its partner organizations to create new opportunities for growth and economic development. We believe that the time to act is now."
The National Tour began in Halifax, NS on March 19 with a Town Hall event hosting more than 100 local entrepreneurs who identified needs for mentorship programs, as well as more physical and online hubs for collaboration and youth engagement. From there, the Tour continued to Truro, Antigonish, Yarmouth, Dartmouth and Sydney where entrepreneurs discussed ideas such as how to improve the delivery of small business support services and how to foster a stronger entrepreneurial culture.

Idea-sharing and creative brainstorming drove much of the conversation at the Startup Canada events. From pitching business case strategies to assembling action committees, the events focused on how entrepreneurs could work collectively and collaboratively to create change.

"Startup Canada was a great way to bring together the entrepreneurial community in Sydney," said Mary Jane Morrison, Director of Cape Breton University's Small Business Development Centre. "The public engagement was varied and covered many areas of economic activity. We look forward to implementing the ideas that were created and documented."

"Leading up to Yarmouth's event, we made some valuable connections with other local partner organizations, which will help us keep the momentum rolling on this movement," said Chris Atwood, Executive Director of the Yarmouth Community Business Development Corporation. "All our participants thought this was a unique way of engaging local business and encouraging aspiring entrepreneurs, and I'm excited to see what happens next."

"With the Startup Canada Campaign gaining momentum here in Nova Scotia, it is evident that excitement is high among entrepreneurs to discuss issues of great importance affect our small to medium-sized businesses. Common threads unfolded across Nova Scotia and we look forward to seeing these ties continue to evolve as Startup Canada moves across Atlantic Canada and beyond," said Kathleen Rayworth, CEO of Entrepreneurs Forum and Atlantic Chair of Startup Canada.

Startup Canada's next Tour stop is Prince Edward Island for events running May 8 - 10, before moving on to Ontario and then western Canada. Complete Tour dates and details can be found on the Startup Canada website: www.startupcan.ca/tour.

Guest speakers during this leg of the tour included Startup Canada Board members Adam Chowaniec, Andrea Mandel Campbell, and Rivers Corbett; Startup Canada Co-Founder Victoria Lennox; Brad LeBlanc, Owner, The Momentum Group; Andrew Doyle, Co-Founder, 2nd Act Innovations Inc.; Rustum Southwell, CEO, Black Business Initiative; Tom Hayes, President and CEO, GrowthWorks Atlantic; and Tanya Shaw, President and CEO, Unique Solutions.

Startup Canada sponsors include Gowlings, Microsoft,  Ernst & Young, Artik, Kick Ass Media, PubliAir, the Association of University Research Parks Canada, the Canadian Association of Business Incubation, the Evidence Network, Francis Moran & Associates, FreshBooks, MSBi Valorisation, NextMTL, the Ottawa Technology Transfer Network, Podio, Backbone Magazine, HootSuite, ITWorld Canada, Paper.li, Sprouter, and Techvibes.

Sponsors of the Nova Scotia Tour include Black Business Initiative, Entrepreneurs Forum, the Government of Nova Scotia, ACOA, NSCC, Innovacorp, CEED Halifax, First Angel Network, AgriTech Park, CORDA, CDBC Yarmouth, StFX Enterprise Development Centre, Cape Breton University, The Hub and Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Network.

Photos of the events in Nova Scotia Can be found at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/startupcanada/sets/

Media contact:

  • Nova Scotia Tour Highlights:
  • 500 participants reached through Startup Canada Town Halls and Fringe Events
  •  50 one-on-one interviews with Atlantic-region entrepreneurs and experts
  •  Halifax - Monday, March 19, Kick-off at Innovacorp Enterprise Centre brought together more than 100 entrepreneurs, enterprise support professionals, and the local investment community for the Tour's Inaugural Town Hall event, facilitated by Startup Canada Board member Andrea Mandel Campbell.
  •  Truro - Tuesday, March 20, Keynote and workshop at the Nova Scotia Agricultural College focused on developing an entrepreneurial campus, and developing an action committee, Student Enterprise Society and public area for entrepreneurship on campus. Truro Town Hall facilitated by Mandel Campbell focused on junior achievement, youth engagement and fostering an entrepreneurial curriculum.
  • Antigonish - Wednesday, March 21, Mandel Campell spoke to students, staff and faculty at St. Francis Xavier University about entrepreneurship in Canada -- the trends, challenges, opportunities, and entrepreneurial imperative for the future. Town Hall at St. Francis Xavier University focused on how to better foster an entrepreneurial culture in Nova Scotia.
  • Yarmouth - Wednesday, March 21: More than 80 students connected with experienced entrepreneurs for a mentorship luncheon.
  •  Sydney - Thursday, March 22: Town Hall facilitated by Startup Canada Board member Rivers Corbett saw more than 100 attendees cheering on each others ideas.
  •  Halifax -  Friday, March 23: Nova Scotia Tour wrapped up with a Startup Weekend Halifax hosting more than 50 young entrepreneurs who created new businesses over the course of the weekend.www.startupcan.ca

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