On Thursday, 55 entrepreneurs from Atlantic Canada will be arriving at Montreal StartupFest on a luxury charter bus, what the Taskforce Fredericton Startup Network is calling the East Coast Caravan.
The Taskforce Fredericton Startup Network worked with regional partners such as Planet Hatch, Ignite Fredericton and Enterprise Saint John to send the 55 entrepreneurs from across the region to StartupFest.
Montreal StartupFest is a global gathering of the world’s leading mentors, entrepreneurs, founders and venture capitalists. The three-day festival features world-renowned keynotes and investment opportunities for attendees. Last year’s festival reportedly had $500,000 worth of investments and prizes.
One of the entrepreneurs on the Caravan will be Amanda Betts, CEO of Fredericton-based startup eChart. She says she’s looking forward to networking and learning about other cool emerging companies. As eChart is getting ready to scale-up, Betts will also be looking to learn some tips from others.
“We’re looking for ways to educate ourselves on that and just learning from other people’s experiences and learning about what we should be aware of, what other people might have experienced that wasn’t good so we can learn from that. Just so we do it right,” says Betts.
Also on the bus will be Wear Your Label co-founder Kyle MacNevin, who is getting back into the entrepreneurial groove after taking a year off for mental health reasons. He is currently working as a mentor and entrepreneur-in-residence at UNB’s Summer Institute. He says StartupFest will be a way for him to get back into the startup community.
“This is probably like recharging my batteries, essentially,” says MacNevin.
“Coming from a mentor background with the Summer Institute, hopefully, I can learn from best practices from other accelerators like FounderFuel and Techstars. Hopefully I can not only learn things for myself but also bring things back for UNB and for the work that we do.”
Startupfest will be an opportunity for startups from the region to access mentors, capital and resources they may not otherwise have. Betts says it’s important that companies in the region make an effort to get outside their borders.
“Our problem, in general, is just that nobody really is looking at us and so we have a lot of incredible companies that are coming out of our area and we want to go in there with a big-bang and just say, ‘hey, look at us,’ ” says Betts.
“We have a lot going on and a lot to offer so we want to be that loud voice so we start getting the recognition of what’s coming out of our area. We also get access to venture capital and different programs and funding to help all these companies grow.”