Sunday, October 5, 2014

The Toronto Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

I feel the startup community in Toronto could be stronger and more cohesive.
And so I’ve created a Meetup group called “The Toronto Entrepreneurial Ecosystem”.
Is is based on the tenets taught in the book “Startup Communities”, by Brad Feld.
Why would I? I’m not particularly qualified to do it.
Well, the book answers it: “If not us, then who? If not now, then when?”
The book centers around what Brad calls The Boulder Thesis.
Here is another excerpt which summarizes what the Boulder tech community is like:
“The community is defined by a strong sense of collaboration and philosophy of giving before you get. If you contribute you are rewarded, often in unexpected ways. At the same time and since it is a small community, it is particularly intolerant of bad actors. If you aren’t sincere, constructive and collaborative, the community behaves accordingly.”
Boulder is located in Colorado, USA.
Brad moved there after selling his first company, and he was instrumental in building it into a vibrant startup ecosystem through an approach that, by now, can be replicated anywhere in the world, hence the name “The Boulder Thesis”.
No longer do you have to be in Silicon Valley or Boston to make it happen.
I’ve interviewed Brad about what it is like to live in Boulder. You can read that story if you’re interested.
We already have a startup community here in Toronto; but it could be amplified if we applied the Boulder Thesis to it in earnest.
That doesn’t mean it’ll happen, but I feel like getting the ball rolling anyway.
— The Entrepreneurials Backchannel —
Anyone, of course, can join the Meetup group. But I’m taking it a step further. I’m also creating an ‘inner circle” called, “The Entrepreneurials Backchannel”. (An “Entrepreneurial” is the name I’ve assigned to a member of the meetup.)
The Backchannel is an exclusive Google group. Access shall be granted only to those who have somehow gotten a copy of Brad’s book and made the effort of reading it (or listening to it in the case of an Audible purchase), thereby making clear their intent to foster a tight-knit and supportive startup community in Toronto based on the idea of “Giving before Getting”.
All one has to do to be accepted into the Backchannel is to submit proof (a picture or a screenshot from your phone) that you have a copy a Brad Feld book’s, “Startup Communities”, along with a short essay of what you got out of it which proves that you’ve studied it. Please send your submissions to [themariocantinproject at gmail dot com].
It may sound corny. Whatever… The fact is we must agree to the same ideology if we are to collaborate well, and so I believe it makes sense when considered from this angle.
— The core values —
I’m proposing that we incorporate the following objectives as part of our value system.
1) To help nurse ideas along
2) To open the door to everyone
3) To help bring startups into existence
4) To help startups execute well on their ideas
5) To stimulate an angel network into existence around the ecosystem
6) Providing an opportunity for VCs to find potential match for their investment funds
7) Creating an environment in which service providers benefit back from also giving before they get.
— Multiple levels of interaction —
Members of the community will be interacting in meetups, or by conducting conversations on the Backchannel. They can also come to this blog and comment here. We’ll eventually get to know one another and communicate by SMS and email.
In the future we may compete for talent, but I hope in good spirit, always, and with decency.
If a startup folds, we’ll need to help the folks involved get back on their feet until they go at it again.
And more, you get the idea.
Read the book.
Let’s all agree on the rules of the game.
Let’s do this.
Are you in?

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