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Startup Canada Blueprints Pop Up Press Conference in Vancouver on November 27, 2012

Last month, you might recall one of our recent posts on why B.C. stands out within the Startup Canada community and today, we’re continuing our support for our local, Vancouver (tech) startup community by sharing their upcoming event: Startup Canada Blueprints Pop Up Press Conference. Vancouver will be one out of the six cities in Canada to host this conference including Ottawa, Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, and Edmonton.

Please join Startup Canada's BC Community in announcing and celebrating the launch of the Startup Canada Blueprints and its plans for 2013 during this very special Pop Up Press Conference featuring some of the region's most dynamic entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial champions.

We’re days away from this exciting morning conference! Startup Canada will be on Tuesday, November 27th, 2012, from 10:00 to 11:00 PST, hosted down the street from our Vancouver Harbour Data Centre, at the Launch Academy in Gastown. You may view the full event details for more information.

If you are not familiar with this dynamic community, you may visit their official site, or find them on social media like Twitter or Facebook to name a few. We would also like to give a brief shout-out to Institute B for inviting us to participate virtually in helping them create a successful event next week.

About Startup Canada

Startup Canada is Canada’s first-ever, entrepreneur-led, national movement to enhance the nation’s competitiveness and prosperity by supporting and celebrating Canadian entrepreneurship.

Startup Canada is harnessing the collective energies of Canadian entrepreneurs and enterprise support communities from Coast to Coast with the goals of providing the entrepreneurship community with a strong voice, promoting a vibrant entrepreneurial culture and creating a unified brand that Canadians can rally around.

This unique effort will not only identify key challenges facing Canadian entrepreneurs, but will bring them together in a way they never have been before. It’s the beginning of a critical conversation and the first step in a new way of thinking.

Whether you are an individual who’s interested in startups or not, you can still benefit from their insightful blog containing recent interviews including key business tips. Here is a short compilation of their most recent posts in chronological order:

• Mentor Rock Star: Manu Sharma
• Mentor Rock Star: Erin Anderson
• Mentor Rock Star: Jim Marsh
• Mentor Rock Star: Cathy Kuzel

Are you planning to attend this sold out Startup Canada Blueprints Pop Up Press Conference in Vancouver? What are you most looking forward to? Please share your thoughts below with a comment.

Kevin Liang
CTO / SEO Guru


Why B.C. Stands Out with its Startup Canada Involvement

The Startup Canada team, for six months, did a cross country trip, coast-to-coast, throughout various cities in Canada to gather Canadian entrepreneurs to join a movement. Startup Canada believes that the solution begins with a grassroots, entrepreneur-led movement to bring together Canada’s national entrepreneurship community to create a clear vision and strategy that leads to real change and action. Entrepreneurs are part of our circle, in the past, we shared useful insights on helpful organizations like the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs, tips for new small business owners, useful questions for new business owners, and even took part in the most recent Vancouver Startup Weekend. To say, the least, B.C. has a lot going on when it comes to startups and small businesses. A recent article from the Province states that B.C. is the hub for startups, with a nation leading 3.7% of the working population being part of a startup, and Alberta is second. B.C. stands out for leading the country in this area and we're proud of it.

startup, canada

Startup Canada

Social Innovation

During the "Social Impact Entrepreneurship" session, Nicole Stefenelli, president and CEO of Urban Impact, shared her own entrepreneurial story and her key emphasis was on innovation and the importance of being ahead of the curve in order to remain competitive. Attendees had the chance to mingle with the Startup Canada team in an intimate setting then, later, toured the recycling facility. Other social entrepreneurs shared their stories and the main theme surrounded real life problems being solved with innovative solutions using state-of-the-art technologies.

Entrepreneurial Defining Moments

During the middle of the week, the evening session "Aha! Defining moments" showcased lightning pitches from 20 great Vancouver tech startups answering the question: What was your aha! moment or turning point for your company? Some of the answers included wake-up call from accidents, being inspired by customers, wanting to build rather than being told what to do, desire to crowdsource opinions, making business tasks like bookkeeping more accessible, helping society become healthier and many more. They keynote was Rahim Fazal, CEO and co-founder of Involver, later sold to Oracle. Following the theme of the week, he also shared how he began, his past and his current projects, leaving the crowd with some entrepreneurial food for thought. His three main tips were to 1) join the world on your own terms, 2) be vulnerable, and finally, 3) if everything seems under control, you're not driving fast enough.

Innovating Differently

Finally, one of the last sessions was "Innovating Differently: Women, Entrepreneurship & Technology" which consisted of four panels exploring: 1) Innovating Differently: Why women are critical to innovation, engineering and technology, 2) Launching a Start-Up: Lessons Learned from Successes and Failures, 3) The New Economy: How technology is enabling a thriving culture of startups out of the home, 4) Financing Start-Ups: Incubating, Accelerating, Funding– What’s working, what’s not, what’s hot. Lots of insights came out of all of these panels. Innovation could just be a spark. Any failures were just missed opportunities. The hot debate between stay-at-home moms vs. stay-at-home dads came up. Communication and trust between an open partnership were emphasized. Thinking about distribution from the start was another important component. Also, one of the panelists stressed the importance of hiring the right sales force at the right time.

Affordable and Easy Access to Technology

The comment during Startup Canada that we related to the most was how affordable and fast it has become nowadays to launch your own business online and in this day in age, businesses must have an online presence. With the rise in entrepreneurship, here, at Canadian Web Hosting, we're always ready to help you and your business succeed. So, what are you waiting for? You can leave us a comment, tweet us at @cawebhosting or connect with us on Facebook to let us know how we can support you.

Kevin Liang
CTO / SEO Guru


Tourism Richmond Talks’ Recap: Why Taking Risk Pays Off

If you've been following our blog, you'll know that while we love informing and educating you about our exciting web hosting and IT solutions related products, we also enjoy sharing innovative, business tips for our tech savvy community. This time, we'll focus on the tourism (and food) community to switch things up. While this isn't an industry that we have blogged much about in the past, some key elements will relate to entrepreneurship, an area that we constantly monitor. Besides, we know that our customers touch endless industries and since tourism is one of them, this is relevant to them, but also to the countless entrepreneurs using our services.

With that said, this past spring, you might have heard of this online buzz coming from Richmond, BC, regarding the food blogger gig announcement for a lucky winner to eat out for an entire year in that city. Last Wednesday, the Social Media Network hosted one of their social media speaker sessions at the Network Hub, featuring Brittany Riddell, marketing manager for Tourism Richmond. The event hashtag was #TourismRichmondTalks and the topics covered were as followed: how Tourism Richmond got all foodie eyes via social media, the social media behind Tourism Richmond’s recent 365 Days of Dining campaign and finally, being social in tourism.

Photo © riacale on Flickr

Key Facts from the Tourism Richmond 365 Days of Dining Campaign

      • 365 Days of Dining was the biggest campaign [in the greater Vancouver area] since the Vancouver 2010 Olympics.
      • In Richmond, BC, there are over 800 restaurants and over half are Asian influenced (we even have our own proof with an off-the-cuff blog post that we wanted to share with our local community).
      • This specific campaign used a triple A approach: affordability, accessibility, and its large Asian culture.
      • #365DaysofDining (their official hashtag during the campaign) was groundbreaking because it was driven purely by social media and the momentum of bloggers around the world.
      • The perks and compensation validated the work of food bloggers worldwide as professionals.
      • The applicant pool came from over 23 countries, 26 US states and all 10 Canadian provinces.
      • 1507 applicants were narrowed down to top 12 applicants with 6 people reviewing all of the organic applications.
      • The top 12 finalists resulted in an increase of 6500 Facebook fans and transparency with the campaign remained from beginning to end.
      • Constructive criticism and ranting is hard to distinguish and a crisis plan was already in place from the very start.

Recap Summary: Taking Risk in Social Media = Online Success

If you're in the tourism industry or you're an entrepreneur looking for new ways to spice up your next social media campaign, I hope that you found some useful tips through this article, feel free to share it on social media to your peers. Tourism Richmond is obviously social and you can find them on Facebook, Twitter, and more. This campaign really demonstrates that a calculated risk including a crisis management plan requires a high amount of transparency and ongoing flexibility as the campaign evolves through the end. Course correcting is still a key element and it'll be interesting to follow their journey. We applaud Tourism Richmond for running an innovative campaign in such a traditional media driven industry, taking risks and doing something different among their peers. Finally, you can also view the brief recap from the organizers from the Social Media Network for more information that includes an online curation of the event's tweets.

Special Offer for #TourismRichmondTalks' Friends

To conclude, we are offering a special deal for any offline or online #TourismRichmondTalks' participants including speakers, organizers, volunteers and even sponsors. You can learn more about us at Canadian Web Hosting, and to find out more about this specialized offer, the first step is to follow us on Twitter at @cawebhosting and like our Facebook page. The second step is for you to send us a message with the keyword "#RichmondRules" along with your contact information (email and/or phone number, or even Twitter handle) and we'll contact you directly after we verify that you completed the first step. Are you the next food blogger or tourism ambassador to watch? Let us help you.

Kevin Liang
CTO / SEO Guru


Six Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting a Business

Some of our community members are already business owners, and others might be thinking of starting their own business. We recently heard a local designer share her own personal story on how she got started with her own business and the discussion surrounded six main questions that you should ask yourself before jumping in. In this article, we're sharing her thought process and how it's helped her along the way, hoping that you'll find some takeaways yourself.

question marks

Photo © Oberazzi on Flickr

Six Questions to Ask Yourself Before Starting a Business

1. Why am I doing this? Have a good reason. In her case, providing a specific type of design is what she loves and since that is what she lives and breathes each day, that's a strong reason for her to go after this endeavour. That is her passion and she understands that there is a clear need for her services today. Her skills can be monetized and since that is what she loves to do, she has no reasons not to do it. The following question adds a bit more depth.

2. Where am I now? Know your city, be part of it. She fell in love with the city and decided that this is where she wanted to personally and professionally set roots. Since jobs were scarce, this was a timely opportunity to jump in and do it herself. In her specific situation, she supports local businesses and what works to her advantage is that because she loves the city, she's able to mingle with them at various events, get to know them on a more personal level and know the latest happenings around town. It's important to know what's going on in the community, to understand its culture and most importantly, to be a part of it.

3. Who are my clients? Know what they care about. With the previous point made, depending on your business, you may have a niche and her type of design service is very specific to a particular clientele and once she figured that out, she's been able to spend more time in that specific community to keep up with trends and again, to find out more about them on a personal level. This allows her to put her best work forward when she's designing for each customer. Each customer has different needs and when she's able to learn more about them as individuals along with their personalities, she's able to let that knowledge influence her as she's creating art. In the end, she's able to connect with her customers' requests more easily.

4. How can I educate my clients? You're their teacher. In her design field, not only is she producing work, but she's also keeping her clients informed on her process from timeline to different types of materials that can be used for their requests. She has to consistently be a teacher, an expert who can provide information about any intricacies in her line of work. Some clients may not always understand how much material or time a certain project may take and she's able to inform them about all of the details that need to take place. For example, with Canadian Web Hosting, our latest post provided information on how to protect yourself from a data breach. Being able to provide unique, and useful information will help others see you come across as an expert in your own industry.

5. Who are my peers? How can I collaborate with them? Every industry has a community somewhere, whether online or offline, to share thoughts and ideas and she goes back to connecting with the community, except in this instance, it's about connecting with her own design community where she can continue to learn about what's new and up-and-coming. In other cases, her peers may have a certain skill set that she isn't an expert at, and a new partnership could well easily be formed to work on certain projects. On a related topic, the WHIR's latest magazine covered power partnerships which speaks directly to this question on a similar level.

6. What do I have to offer? Be different, be you. Design is a vast world and her type of design is unique. She takes a very personal approach by connecting with the community and while she shows some of her own personality when the project is more open-ended, she uses the personal tidbits that she learns through engaging with her own clientele to make the work different, and which reflects her clients' needs.

If you have more questions to add, please leave us a comment, or you can bring up this conversation with us on Twitter at @cawebhosting or on our Facebook Page. As always, we'd love to hear from you.

Kevin Liang
CTO / SEO Guru


How Vancouver Entrepreneurs Can Benefit from the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE)

It’s already December which translates into the holiday season! Holidays typically mean spending more time connecting with those around us who matter to you. Why not apply that on a business level where we take more time to connect face-to-face and spend extra time getting to know those in your local community, whether you’re here in Vancouver or elsewhere in the world?

Continuing with our theme of networking offline and building a strong network when being a part of a community, I wanted to highlight one of our wonderful local non profit organizations in Vancouver: Forum for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE). You can follow them on Twitter at @FWEBC. Shortly, after Social Media Week, I organized an informal tweetup and their CEO, Jill Earthy (@jearthy), showed up with Lisa Niemetscheck, Manager of FWE Experience (@LNiemetscheck) and they were both extremely personable and full of information about local small businesses in the area. It was such an honour that they took the time out of their busy day to meet with myself along with Scott Dawson (@sdd).

What is Forum Women Entrepreneur (FWE)?

Right off their site, “Forum for Women Entrepreneurs of British Columbia (FWE) is for all who are entrepreneurially-minded. It is our mission to provide tools, energy, education and support to all women, encouraging them to become wildly successful entrepreneurs. All of our leading-edge professional programs aim to build long-term relationships and foster a strong bond between our members, advisors, speakers and high-calibre members of the business community. Women entrepreneurs and both men and women business professionals who want to support women entrepreneurs can become a member of FWE.”

What are some Benefits to Being Involved?
My next two thoughts are coming from a non-FWE member's perspective at this point in time.

1) Gaining Relevant Knowledge about Key Topics during their Events
I have attended two of their last events. One was called “Women in Politics" which was a nonpartisan event. Some of the community leaders that we heard from were:

  • Suzanne Anton, NPA
  • Elizabeth Ball, NPA
  • Sandra Garossino, Independent
  • Cherie Payne, Vision
  • Andrea Reimer, Vision
  • Ellen Woodsworth, Cope

Here, they covered thoughts on what it was like to be a woman in politics, the challenges and benefits of being in these highly visible roles, and especially the role of leadership. One of the most relevant topics when you listen to a group of politicians is that you really gain a strong sense of what is really happening within your local communities including the public challenges that citizens are trying to resolve and the solutions that they’re bringing forth to solve those problems. These individuals are some of the most connected people to get to know. Everything is relevant and everything is key. No one was promoting their own parties instead they were sharing their personal stories with us. From an individual standpoint, you get to learn the hardships that others have gone through and it makes you appreciate progress as a whole and perhaps, in your own endeavours, whether they are professional or personal.

2) Connecting and Expanding your Own Understanding about Local Businesses
The very latest event was called “Virtually Possible: How to Monetize Online Platforms & Platforms & Boost ROI.” The moderator, panelists and sponsor representatives included:

Here, this type of event brings various small business owners from around town to connect with. There was a Q&A panel that covered answers regarding how to drive online traffic to your sites, SEO and online content, and online reputation. Afterwards, we were broken in different rooms for a roundtable discussion with one of the panelists. This was a great opportunity to learn more other local businesses that you may not have heard of otherwise.

Closing Thoughts
If you are in the Vancouver area and looking for new business connections, or simply want to expand your professional knowledge, I would recommend that you get involved with the FWE. You will gain something out of this depending on your purposes. Most of their events are in the evenings and they usually include some small bites, coffee and even some great wine. You may even make new friend connections there too. It’s all about putting your business out there and building relationships in the process. We have a fantastic entrepreneurship community here and this non profit organization has been supporting our community successfully since 2002. Check them out and get involved.

Kevin Liang
CTO / SEO Guru