Last May York Region’s ventureLAB hosted a Startup Canada Town Hall.
At the time, the Startup Canada, team set out to “brainstorm community-driven ideas for supporting local entrepreneurship” with the the 80 entrepreneurs and mentors in the audience that day.
It was exciting and productive. York Region was very happy to have contributed.
During 2012-13, Startup Canada co-founder Victoria Lennox went on to tour 40 Canadian cities and gathered a following of more than 30,000 entrepreneurs and 300 partners.
And Startup Canada stayed in touch with York Region through its connections at ventureLAB.
Jeremy Laurin, Victoria Lennox, and Paul Shaw at the Startup Canada 2012 event in York Region
On May 2, Startup Canada, announced that York Region has been named as part of the first wave of 15 Startup Canada Communities, a national pilot project trailblazing a new approach to supporting entrepreneurs – it will be Canada’s first coast-to coast community network for entrepreneurs and is looking to build regional economies ‘ from the inside out.’ Startup York Region will give local entrepreneurs a single doorway to enter their entrepreneur community to access mentors, funding, space and support to start and grow their businesses and to connect with other startup founders.
Jeremy Laurin, President & CEO of ventureLAB, supports the Startup Canada Community in York Region.
“Startup Canada Communities is important because it coalesces the energies, best practices and innovations of individual Canadian startup communities, enabling each community to learn from the experiences of others,” said Laurin. “This has the potential to be a driving force in promoting and advancing entrepreneurship in Canada.”
Entrepreneur Jeremy O’Krafka is a co-lead for the Startup Canada Communities project in York Region. His company MENTORnetwork operates out of ventureLAB. He describes Startup York Region as a grassroots movement, led by local entrepreneurs and supported by organizations committed to help early stage businesses succeed.
“Startup York is building on the Region’s reputation for collaboration.” said O’Krafka. “Our focus is to engage local entrepreneurs to collectively provide leadership for the startup community and cultivate a culture of entrepreneurship. The mission is to get people together to support one another (in both success & failures) as we create fantastic new companies in York Region”.