The GROW Conference returns to Vancouver this August, and hundreds of startups will be attending, as well as prominent investors, founders, press and pioneers. Having attended since the beginning—and as the founder and CEO of Canadian startup, GoInstant (acquired last year by Salesforce)—here’s my take on GROW’s unique value to entrepreneurs and the industry as a whole.
1. Forging connections with the top tech minds in the industry. What really sets this conference apart is its ability to bring smaller companies together with some of the biggest technology players in the industry. GROW gives them the opportunity to be heard and create the connections that can potentially help make their dreams reality.
2. Rejuvenating the entrepreneurial spirit. Located far enough away from the distractions of Silicon Valley, Vancouver presents the perfect backdrop for GROW. Not only is the location stunning but Vancouver also gives attendees the necessary breathing room to soak in the stories being told and the amazing technologies being developed—both inspiring and rejuvenating.
Also, I strongly encourage attendees to take advantage of the awesome outdoor activities. Go kayaking, rent a speedboat, take a hike, or just explore Vancouver. GROW organizes all of these opportunities for you through its “Outdoor Adventures.” Participating in these activities together with other attendees is an incredible bonding experience and lets you build stronger connections.
3. Creating a technology ecosystem without borders. GROW lets communities continue to build innovation where they are by giving them the access to the same resources and introductions to larger business leaders from established tech hubs. Being part of a large Silicon Valley company, as I am now—yet still operating independently from Halifax—I truly believe innovation can be born and brought to market from anywhere in the world. GROW helps make that happen.
4. Discovering amazing talent. My second time attending GROW I had just closed a financing round and needed to staff up ASAP. At GROW, I was able to brainstorm with other founders and recruit from an amazing pool of talent.
And you can do all of this right here in Canada. The first time I attended GROW, I had taken a step back from the startup scene and was an Entrepreneur in Residence for Innovacorp. I wasn’t traveling to Silicon Valley, but GROW gave me the opportunity to still connect with the tech shakers from San Francisco and the Valley face-to-face, as well as startups from all over the continent.
That is what really makes GROW a perfect conference. It brings in so many people from the Valley—yet you’re not in the Valley, so you can really focus on the conference itself.