Ever have one of these moments? You realize an idea of how to help someone solve a problem; you get the desire to make a living doing what you love; you see an opportunity to make something special happen.
All of these moments can be thrilling, and in many cases can change your life or the lives of others. And sometimes the way they can come to fruition is by starting a new business or project.
Sometimes, though, that "start" needs some support to become a "startup." With this in mind, our local startup community has fostered an organization called Startup NL, and they're about to put off a week-long, province-wide event called Startup Week NL. It's a series of talks, events, and work sessions to help new small businesses, or "Startups," get up and running.
Kicking off the week is an intensive 54 hour entrepreneurial event where participants pitch their business idea and receive feedback from their peers. It's called Startup Weekend NL, and I'm proud to say that the City of St. John's is a major sponsor. (I'll explain why that’s awesome in a moment.)
Participants in Startup Weekend will create real, working startups during the event all while collaborating with like-minded people and receiving "superior experiential education" for both technical and non-technical entrepreneurs.
Not only is the event fun, it has the potential to strengthen our local economy. It's been reported that entrepreneurs help drive local economic growth, job creation and innovation, and I’m a big believer that this is true.
According to ACOA (the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency), small businesses create 72% of new jobs in Atlantic Canada. In fact, 86% of businesses in the St. John’s metro area have less than 20 employees, which underscores the importance of small business to the St. John’s economy.
And that's why it's so great that the City of St. John's is lending its support to the startup community. A healthy startup ecosystem is imperative to building sustainable local economic growth and opportunity, and the City can play a big role in this by working to foster a positive business environment.
The City has taken some steps to date: we've streamlined the commercial tax system; developed an engagement framework; and developed a strategic economic plan (called "Roadmap 2021") in consultation with the business community.
But there's more work to do, and supporting Startup Weekend is a great step in the right direction. One of the strategic goals of Roadmap 2021 is to foster a business environment that enables companies to grow, diversify and flourish. Startup NL is a grassroots initiative with huge potential to help new and emerging enterprises do just that.
Want to learn more? Be sure to check out the website at www.startupweeknl.ca!
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