This week is our Inaugural Founders Week YQG (beta) – a collaboration between WEtech Alliance, WindsorEssex Small Business and Entrepreneurship Centre, EPICentre and Genesis Entrepreneurship Centre – it’s a free, week-long celebration that brings together entrepreneurs, startups, innovators, changemakers, entrepreneurial support organizations, local leaders, and community to celebrate, educate, connect and build momentum and opportunity around our region’s startup community.
The Week will feature over 30 events, over 60 speakers, free prizes, giveaways, and fun activities from November 8th – 13th, if you haven’t registered yet, don’t worry it’s not too late to do so! Just click here and join us.
Now lets get to What the Heck We Learned from Founders Week YQG Day 1:
Founders Week YQG Kickoff with Associate Minister Nina Tangri
To kick the week off, our Rockstar CEO Yvonne Pilon took to the podium to talk about the WHY behind Founders Week YQG; unlocking the stories, passions, and skills of our Founders locally by giving them the microphone.
Following which we were lucky enough to have Nina Tangri, Ontario’s Associate Minister of Small Business & Red Tape Reduction MPP for Mississauga-Streetsville, bring remarks from the Province on the power of Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs, as well as the strength of the Digital Main Street, Invest Ontario, and Futureproofing programs being invested in to support the transition to the digital economy.
The coffee was hot, the conversation was excellent, and it was time to dive into cybersecurity!
Associate Minister Nina Tangri with Founders Week YQG partners at the Kickoff event.
What Businesses Need to Know About Cybersecurity and Law Workshop with Myra Tawfik and Jade Buchanan
Next up, world renown IP and Commercialization expert Myra Taufik moderated a wonderful conversation with Jade Buchanan, Partner at McCarthy Tetrault, an emerging leader in privacy and data protection law.
Jade has worked on some of the LARGEST cyber security incidents in Canadian history, and gave us a window into tangible action you can take to get your company or startup (no matter how big or small) thinking about your data security. Actions like, running a table top exercise with your team, understanding your vendors and how they protect the data they are getting from you, educating employees on the importance of phishing and best practices to protect the company, having someone in your startup own the Data Map that tracks where data goes and how you use it, and most of all remember that cybersecurity should be a mindset and top of mind for every employee. You can’t simply run exercises once every three years and expect to stay protected.
.@Jade_Buchanan on #data as the new currency, and the risks & responsibilities that goes with it.— WEtech Alliance (@WEtechAlliance) November 8, 2021
"A lot of people think data is the new oil. But before you start to collect it, make sure you’re prepared, otherwise you could have a spill on your hands.”
Cybersecurity & Law: EXCELLENT session w/ @Jade_Buchanan & @MyraTawfik.— Joanne Soave (@JoanneSoave) November 8, 2021
The most dangerous words in biz from leaders:
❗️We've always done business this way
❗️That won't happen to us
❗️You worry too much
Pls watch this session, as no business is "fraud-proof." #FoundersWeekYQG pic.twitter.com/ifWZ55kE9G
Fireside Chat with Kat Pasquach
Kat Pasquach (Culture Shock Bead Co.), and Sarah Haefling (Made it Happen Podcast) talked over a fireside chat about the journey of entrepreneurship. Discussing the power of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in supporting their journeys, leaning on core support through family and friends, and ASKING FOR HELP.
Being a founder is hard, and self care, combined with a core group of peers can make the difference in your mental health. It was an incredible conversation, diving deep into what that journey is really like (spoiler alert it’s not all sunshine and rainbows).
On advice for #Founders:— WEtech Alliance (@WEtechAlliance) November 8, 2021
"Reach out to all of the supports. I can’t speak highly enough about all of the #entrepreneur hubs in the area. Building up those connections in the community has been amazing because of all of the support that is there." - @CSJewelry#FoundersWeekYQG pic.twitter.com/jNynNQV6Br
.@CSJewelry gets emotional sharing her most important project.— WEtech Alliance (@WEtechAlliance) November 8, 2021
"I didn't realize how much of a mentor I am for my niece. I’m seeing this cycle of positive role models & how important it is... I did not expect to get so emotional this afternoon!"
Samesies! 😭❤️#FoundersWeekYQG pic.twitter.com/lsWEmpNb48
Funding Workshop with Mike Labiak
“Measure Twice Cut Once,” truer words have rarely been spoken.
In this session, our fearless leader, Yvonne Pilon, moderated a great conversation with Investor Mike Labiak, discussing the ins and outs of investing, and what entrepreneurs should be doing to get ready for investment. He spoke to three basic qualifiers to investment; commercial revenue (arms length sales), that revenue has to be scalable and repeatable (both in bringing new customers on and repeat sales to current customers), and finally the MOAT (how are you protecting our piece of the market).
This chat was FULL of nuggets for companies looking to bring on investment at EVERY level. If that’s you, go back and check this one out in the Founders Week Toolkit.
#Investor @LabiakMike shares his 3 qualifiers when considering an investment:— WEtech Alliance (@WEtechAlliance) November 8, 2021
1⃣ Must have commercial revenue (not friends & family)
2⃣ Must be scalable and repeatable
3⃣ Must answer how they keep competitors away (1st to market, #IP, etc.)#FoundersWeekYQG pic.twitter.com/AqSfMTQF0S
Leveraging Your Online Presence Workshop with Noah Campbell and Kevin Gervais
In the last but CERTAINLY not least session of the day YQG favourites Noah Campbell and Kevin Gervais broke down the secrets to how to leverage core technology to drive leads, connect to new customers, and make data informed marketing and sales decisions. The beauty, there were tips in here that work regardless of the stage and size of your business.
There are some wonderful case studies, and tangible takeaways for how to access and leverage supports like Digital Main Street to get started. A huge thank you to both Noah and Kevin for being the rockstars they always are, and make sure you check the toolkit out on this one folks, chalk full of tangible tools!
Aha! Moment at #FoundersWeekYQG: Visual & physical impairments aren't the only web #accessibility #barriers. Kevin Gervais at @touchlesscode talks about the physical pain that people on the #Autism spectrum feel when accessing poorly designed technology. @wetechalliance @sched— Sue Braiden (@sbraiden) November 8, 2021
BONUS SESSIONS! Open Networking and Trivia Night with Mack Flash
Throughout the week we are going to be sponsoring some bonus sessions to bring everyone together virtually. Tonights’s sessions are Founder Coffee Club where you can get together with your fellow founders to make new connections, share some stories, and start to build the community. As well as some good old fashioned Mack Flash Trivia. Truly the best in the biz, tune in on YouTube tonight with some friends and family and see if you can leave victorious!
As you can see whether you’re a founder, community member, innovator, or just curious about how all this stuff called entrepreneurship works, odds are there’s an event for you! So don’t wait, click here to register and join us tomorrow, can’t wait to see you.
Miss a session? Don’t worry at all, the sessions are all recorded and will be posted to the WEtech YouTube at the end of the week, alongside our Founders Week YQG Toolkit with all of the resources mentioned in each session for you and your team to leverage!