Vennture Garage SJ to offer even more expert advice for Entrepreneurs

Vennture Garage Saint John gets injection of top talent with new Entrepreneur-in-Residence and Award-Winning Mentor

Since 2015, local entrepreneurs looking to start a business could go to Enterprise Saint John’s Vennture Garage SJ for help.

Now, they have two more reasons to turn to the incubator.  The program just brought on UNB faculty of Business professor and tech start-up expert, Dan Doiron and award-winning entrepreneur and advocate, Rivers Corbett.

“Having Dan and Rivers join the Vennture Garage Saint John leadership is incredibly exciting. They both come with a wealth of knowledge, and first-hand experience. I’m excited to see how their contributions grow the community and participants within it,” says Vennture Garage SJ Manager, Dakota Lutes.

With an engineering background, Dan Doiron has always loved how technology and entrepreneurship can intersect and collaborate.  That connection is often brought up in his strategic business management and innovation classes he teaches at UNB SJ.  He will now be the Entrepreneur-in-Residence for Saint John’s Vennture Garage.

“I’m involved in tech companies. I was involved in Propel ICT, which started in Saint John, and it’s through those networks and relationships that they asked me to come and I was happy to do so,” says Doiron.

Every week, Doiron will spend 6 hours with the Vennture Garage entrepreneurs.  His role will be to help them launch successful businesses, and develop as entrepreneurs.  Throughout the program, the entrepreneurs will work through the four Vennture Garage phases: Idea Validation, Development, Testing, and Preparing to Launch. Doiron will be there every step of the way and wants to see Saint John further develop its startup community.

“I hope we can continue to build this community of entrepreneurs in Saint John and in New Brunswick and ultimately build some companies that will grow our employment base, but also build a vibrant community around entrepreneurship and technology.”

Rivers Corbett is also looking forward to his role as Mentor-in-Residence with Vennture Garage SJ and is anxious to help the Saint John region move forward by inspiring the Entrepreneurial spirit.

“What does it take to help entrepreneurs today? To me, it’s a culture issue. A culture of understanding the value of entrepreneurs, accepting the value of what they do and then encouraging entrepreneurs along their journey,” says Corbett.

Corbett says a large reason some entrepreneurs fail is because of a lack of knowledge. They start up a business without key advice and knowledge to make them successful.

“What I hope to achieve with this mentoring is ultimately, people who go into the program experience it and come away saying, ‘Was that ever worthwhile for me to learn that, apply that, and execute that!’”.

Corbett will spend 10 hours every month developing relationships with the participants and advising them throughout their Vennture Garage experience.

In addition to the new Entrepreneur-in-Residence and Vennture Garage Mentor, participants will be supported by more than 10 volunteer professional advisors who are subject matter experts in topics that will help them learn new skills and apply them to launching their business.

“Professionals in Saint John want to support a vibrant startup community in Saint John and are happy to dedicate time to making that happen,” says Janet Scott, Director of Business and Community Development with Enterprise Saint John.  “Everyone said yes to being part of the Vennture Garage SJ program.  We can’t wait to see the results of this program a year from now.”

Vennture Garage participants are expected to launch a business within 12 to 14 months of entering the program.  Startups launched through the program will go on to create new jobs in our community and export products and services outside of New Brunswick.

Originally published in Saint John Telegraph, January 29, 2017