Event opens the door to entrepreneurship

Port City Hosts Successful ECSW 2018

It was time to dust off a business plan, get inspired to create a new one or find ways to sharpen up business skills.  You could do it all at East Coast Startup Week (ECSW) which took place in Saint John, March 12-16.

Every year in communities across Atlantic Canada, businesses, organizations, government and academics that help emerging and existing businesses join forces for ECSW. They host events all week to bring together entrepreneurs, business owners, potential investors and mentors.

StartupSJ, created and run by entrepreneurs, was behind this year’s ECSW events in Saint John.

“We decided to tackle topics on Starting, Planning, Financing, Managing and Growing. These are the 5 keys points for Startups,” says StartupSJ member and ConnexionWorks co-owner, Jayne Taylor.

Last year more than 525 people turned out for 16 events at ECSW2017. StartupSJ member, Kayla Johnson, says it was a successful event in the past because local companies are helping to support new ones.

“These startup events were designed to help entrepreneurs build and grow their businesses into successful organizations. With their success, these entrepreneurs are creating jobs, moving more money through the local economy, developing our community, aiding complex social issues such as population decline or the refugee crisis. By donating funds, volunteering time, or attending these events, local companies are supporting these causes too. This allows us to collectively build our community and economy. It’s a chain reaction of positive impact for everyone involved,” says Johnson.

This year there was 17 events, including sessions on money management by BDC, creating a Business Canvas Model by OpportunitiesNB, a Pitching Workshop by Momentum Canada, a sales boot camp by Ashley Frank and a Speed Mentoring session for NBCC students by ConnexionWorks.

Enterprise Saint John’s, Entrepreneur Development Officer, Dakota Lutes presented a workshop on getting entrepreneurs to pay closer attention to what customers really want.

“ESJ Navigator ran a workshop on Customer Validation. I loved this topic, I think it gets talked about a lot, but I believe it’s not often completely understood or properly utilized. Listening to customers before you start your business can save you a lot of time, mistakes, and struggle. We have a methodology for customer validation that has been successful for entrepreneurs in our Venture Validation Program. The VVP is a 13-week course and only has 12 participants at a time, so it’s exciting to be able to discuss this topic with a broader range of people,” says Lutes.

Organizers are hosted a few events at Pepper’s Club, Amsterdam Inn,and Social Enterprise Hub.

“We made sure to also include events that involved food and beer because entrepreneurs also seem to really love those events, too!” says Taylor.