Last week, we kickstarted Global Entrepreneurship Week with GradusOne at the Kickstart Your Inner Entrepreneur event. We heard from local entrepreneurs Manny Padda (Founder of New Avenue Capital and GradusOne), Lisa von Sturmer (CEO of Growing City), and Kevin Sandhu (CEO of Grow). We also heard from local accelerators about the resources that are available to entrepreneurs! Here are the key takeaways from the event last week.
Mentorship can go a long way
Mentorship is one of the most important aspects of starting a business. A mentor can be your sounding board to bounce ideas off of and your go-to for good advice. Lisa said that being open to feedback is a valuable asset of entrepreneurship and that a mentor should be someone you would happily trade places with.
Finding the “right mentor” can be challenging. One of the tips that the entrepreneurs shared was to have several mentors in different industries, so that you don’t have to seek advice from the same person every time. The idea of finding several mentors can be daunting, but Manny shared that a lot of established entrepreneurs would be happy to help, especially if you have the same goals as they do.
Another tip that was shared came from Kevin, who advised not to take the lazy route by choosing someone that you already have a relationship with to be your mentor. Instead, take the time to go out and find someone new who you admire and would like to learn from. This eliminates the risk of losing both a mentor and a friend if your relationship goes south.
Take care of yourself and know your why
Entrepreneurship is no easy feat. It will take hard work, dedication, and perseverance. There will be times when you just won’t feel like working. A common theme that was shared at the event is that stopping to take care of yourself is okay – it’s actually recommended.
Lisa shared that she sometimes takes a day to recharge and take a break from working so that she can come back the next day and work even harder. Kevin highlighted the importance of knowing your ‘why’. In order to get through the bad days, it’s important to understand and remind yourself why you are an entrepreneur– if your ‘why’ holds significant value to you, it’ll help you stay focused and motivated through the day.
There is no shortage of support available for entrepreneurs
The event brought together over 10 startup accelerators and incubators from across the lower mainland. Each organization took the time to share their resources, services, and programs with the audience– it was impressive to see the array of options and the amount of support available in Vancouver! Here’s a rundown of some amazing organizations you should be aware of:
- If you are working on a tech startup, make sure you chat with BC Tech Association, Launch Academy, Wavefront, or Foresight Cleantech Accelerator.
- If you have an impact-driven business, talk to Spring, RADIUS, or Groundswell.
- For mentoring, funding and support tools, be sure to explore Futurpreneur, Women’s Enterprise Centre and Small Business BC
- If you would like to gain digital skills, make sure to check out the events, workshops and courses offered by Brainstation or RED Academy
- If you are a current student or alumni, be sure to check out services offered by different post secondary institutions including BCITSA Entrepreneurial Services, SFU Venture Connection and e@UBC.
Each organization had many programs to offer and inexpensive resources for entrepreneurs at different stages. Being able to talk to each organization was incredibly valuable and reassured attendees that entrepreneurship was a journey worth embarking on.
By bringing the entrepreneurs of Vancouver together, this event proved that Vancouver has a strong entrepreneurial core and a supportive community. If you are interested in starting a business, know that you are not alone. There are so many entrepreneurs in Vancouver that would happily mentor you and there are several resources (free ones too!) that small businesses can take advantage of.
Don’t let your dreams be dreams; Kevin shared that an idea that is great today may not be good tomorrow, so seize the opportunity now.
Check out more photos from the event here.