By Jean-Marc La Flamme, Startup Revelstoke
This month in Ottawa over 1,000 entrepreneurs descended onto Parliament Hill for the largest annual gathering of innovators, anchor companies, investors, industry leaders, media personalities and government decision makers to help set Canada’s innovation agenda. As entrepreneurs, rarely do we get the chance to lend all our passionate knowledge concisely, and be part of making our country’s history collaboratively. Startup Canada put on the show of force, and I had a chance to join the organization in three days of strategic meetings with over 50 MPs, ministers and company leaders.
Startup Canada Day on the Hill also included;
- 9 policy hearings
- 4 hack-a-thons
- 1,100 attendees
- 25 Startup Canada Communities
- 40 + speakers
- 30 + mentors
- 24 + partner industry leaders and organizations
- 10,115 tweets from 2,620 unique contributors
Startup Canada is the national social enterprise supporting and giving a voice to entrepreneurs through online programs, national awards, flagship events, and partnerships with private sector and government to foster a community for startup and small business success across the country. In B.C. two new communities were added to a group of 25 including Startup Comox Valley and Startup Revelstoke, joining Startup Prince George, Startup Kamloops, Startup Nanaimo and Startup Smithers representing the fabric of Canada.
Startup Revelstoke is a grassroots driven movement in Revelstoke, B.C. bringing together people passionate about collaboration, innovation and learning. Our mission is to get people together to take risks, experiment, support one another in both success and failures, as we create fantastic new opportunities in the Kootenays. We are made up of entrepreneurs, technologists, designers and intrapreneurs who work for other organizations. Non-profits, mentors and small business are also a big part of the support of this community
“Local Startup Communities and entrepreneurs are key to the design and delivery of a sustainable strategy for Canada to grow as an innovative, entrepreneurial startup nation,” said Victoria Lennox, CEO and Co-Founder of Startup Canada. “With input from each of the Startup Canada Communities, entrepreneurs have laid the foundation for the Canada of the 21st century — one rooted in creativity, diversity and an innovative, startup mentality.”
I moved to Revelstoke seven nyears ago to get away from the big city busy$ness and integrate into super natural splendor. The gut feeling I had was the positive sense of opportunity in this community. It was derived from the history of Revelstoke built on seizing the moment and growing a sustainable economy. Most of us take pride in living every day to its fullest with outdoor activities while working hard achieving balance in life. Revelstoke has built a world-class reputation for living and playing in a spectacular and historic mountain setting. Located on the mighty Columbia River and the Trans-Canada Highway between the sensational Monashee and Selkirk Mountain ranges. Bordering on Mount Revelstoke National Park and west of the summit of Rogers Pass and the heart of Glacier National Park. It is home to the financing and driving of the last spike in Canada’s rail line, a ski resort with the most vertical drop and our current status in the top 2% of internet speeds in Canada — we have the foundation of a modern innovative rural community.
But we are at a crossroads in Canada where the previous economy based on natural resources is being replaced slowly with the new knowledge and tech economy. Global forces within the energy sector, technological efficiencies, climate change and disruptive tech are forcing this change.
The problem is the speed at which we choose to capitalize on this powerful new economy. Canadians are too cautious, risk-adverse and have difficulty changing traditional ways. So how do we create a culture of innovation to match those found in other countries that are not so reliant on natural resources?
How do we catch up to a powerful economic movement and create a future for our children to dive into learn and mentor today instead of in 10 years when we may just lose them.
One way is to teach entrepreneurship and need for failure to achieve success from kindergarten through to retirement. Entrepreneurship means innovating everywhere. It means exploring, validating and supporting ideas no matter how crazy they may seem. It means building teams with the best talent locally and globally. It means having the best mentors using the best technology to coach these startup and pivoting companies to growth stage. Everything around us is being disrupted; retail, transportation, traditional industries, banks and real estate. If we do not seize the moment now we will left will be left with whatever the world wants to do rather than what we want to do. To be in complete control of our destiny and keep our country thriving we need to inspire entrepreneurship with powerful online and offline collaborative networks.
The BCIC and Startup Canada are those networks that have facilitated progressive innovative communities. In Revelstoke we have a mandate to diversify the economy with new tech opportunities, ensure affordable living and generate new business that can teach locals as well as bring in new professional residents. Startup Revelstoke will rely on the strength of small and big communities across Canada to deliver on its goals of a sustainable economic future. It is with your support of every entrepreneur in Revelstoke the Kootenay region, British Columbia and Canada that we can move the best business forward and inspire a whole new generation of innovators for a country to be everything we know it wants to be.