StartUp Canada Event Recap: Innovating Differently

Ekaterina RamirezEvent Recap by Ekaterina Ramirez

This morning I attended a fabulous event: “Innovating Differently: Women, Entrepreneurship & Technology” organized by FWE and StartUp Canada. Around 200 women came to listen to a panel discussion of 16 trail-blazing women from Vancouver’s Technology, StartUp & Entrepreneurial communities.

The discussion was dynamic and educational. I will jump right into outlining my take-aways.

Mini-panel #1: Innovating Differently: Why women are critical to innovation, entrepreneurship and technology

  • Women solve problems while innovating. They use technology not just to come up with a cool idea. Women tend to solve real problems.
  • Women tend to be more thoughtful while creating a new solution.
  • When you think about technology, think deeper. You can innovate not only with tech products. Technologies can be used in all aspects of business.
  • You can innovate with technology while selling ordinary consumer goods.

Mini-panel #2: Launching a Start-Up: Lessons learned from successes and failures

  • Usually startups lack time, money, and resources. Learn to solve problems creatively.
  • Don’t take NO as a final answer. Next time it can be YES.
  • Tough love: You launch and nobody cares. Think about distribution right from the start.
  • It is valuable to have more resourceful people in your team (they can be co-founders.)
  • FOCUS. Don’t spread yourself thin juggling many projects simultaneously.

Mini-panel #3: The New Economy: How technology is enabling a thriving culture of startups out of the home

  • Think more than just money. Define how you want your business to serve you. Think about lifestyle, flexibility, and family.
  • Technology enables women to start home-based businesses on a small budget.
  • Take advantage of social media.
  • Do your research before launching a business. Make sure you DO have a market.
  • Build scalable systems right away: content management, contact databases, manuals, and etc.
  • FOCUS. Let go of tendency to run after shiny objects and new ideas.

Mini-panel #4: Financing Start-Ups: Incubating, Accelerating, Funding – What’s working, what’s not, what’s hot.

  • Your relationships with Venture Capitalists are long-term partnerships. Nurture these relationships. Think what you can give to VC.
  • Stay away from debt if you can. It can drain you emotionally and intellectually.
  • Get top advisers.
  • Consider crowdfunding.
  • Remember: when you give away chunks of your business you give away control.
  • Learn how to find the right contacts and build relationships.

Wrap-up Question: Should you stay in Vancouver if you want to build a high-tech company?

Collective Answer: Yes. Entrepreneurial community in Vancouver is big and vibrant. Engineers here are less expensive. Think global. Act local.

Check #InnovatingDifferently to join the conversation on Twitter.

Ekaterina Ramirez, @Ekat_Ra

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