Last night at Hotel Arts in Calgary, there were about 20 people in attendance as membership recruiting of the A100 started in earnest. It will continue with about 15 people in Edmonton next Wednesday night, October 6th.
If you recall from an article I penned in June, "Alberta's A100 Crawls out of the Primordial Ooze," the A100 is a newly-founded organization to help the members and the larger tech community by sharing connections, money and knowledge from successful second and third generation "been there, done that" tech entrepreneurs in Alberta. The group is a "non-profit, member-driven organization dedicated to helping Alberta's nascent entrepreneurs and innovative start-ups be successful on a global basis."
Like it's namesake, the C100, the A100 is completely member-funded, giving it the position of being an independent voice of industry; to have a dialog with groups, schools, universities/colleges and government at the municipal, provincial and federal levels. As the Alberta government focuses attention on driving a "digital economy" to help diversify, this voice can be an essential component and representative of the extremely vibrant "under the radar" high-tech community, such as A100 member participation at a Premier's Council event this coming Monday, Oct. 4.
It's all about having an impact on the current and future state of the knowledge-based industry in Alberta.
"We've all been very fortunate to have seen success, and the A100 is our 'startup' to take responsibility for our industry over the next few decades," says Brad Zumwalt, one of the A100 co-founders. "Small business is hard work, and it's ok to ask for help from your peer group and not try to do it alone. The members of the A100 all have a passion for active participation, and the group is as much about giving back as it is about learning from and sharing with the community at large."
The A100 also hopes to be a resource pool for the broader community; you'll see the A100 logo and members at vital industry events here in Alberta as well as Vancouver, Seattle, Toronto, Silicon Valley, London and the U.S. east coast.
Networking plays a large part in the A100's plans, not only within the group amongst peers, but also reaching out to the large pool of connections the members have built through their years of global success. For example, at the A100/C100 event at last week's Banff Venture forum, A100 members from both Edmonton and Calgary got acquainted with each other and some friends from the valley.
Aiming to be an inclusive group, there will be opportunities for both public and private member participation at live events as well as online.
In addition to Brad Zumwalt, other co-founders include Shawn Abbott, Stephen Kenny, Patrick Lor, Kip Fyfe, Rod Charko, and yours truly, Stephen King. Who are the target members? C-Suite executives and leaders from high-tech/clean-tech/bio-tech companies, ex or current founders, and those who have enjoyed one or multiple exits.
Membership includes a nominal fee to operate, co-ordinate, qualify and convene members; the hope is that money flows from the members to startups as well. This first member cheque came from Edmonton and the A100 hopes to hit the magic "100" member number by the end of the year.