Canadian grassroots entrepreneurship movement Startup Canada is launching 1000 Startups today, a beta website for its new campaign to profile 1000 Canadian entrepreneurs.
Startup Canada’s volunteer team built the easy-to-search website that casts a spotlight on Canadian entrepreneurs through profiles, stories, and advice. According to the organization it will leverage “Startup Canada’s network of more than 55,000 followers and its bustling social media channels to amplify the news and announcements.”
“As a nation, we need to celebrate and support our entrepreneurs, because their success benefits us all,” said Startup Canada’s CEO Victoria Lennox. “1000 Startups will showcase the diversity of Canada’s entrepreneurs, helping to broaden our understanding of what it means to be an entrepreneur, show entrepreneurs across Canada that they are not alone, and help to create a national community of startups sharing, learning and paying it forward together.”
From healthcare, mobile apps and manufacturing to education, energy and retail, Startup Canada said there’s “tons of entrepreneurial talent budding on Canadian soil - we can’t wait to dig it up and show it off!”
Startup Canada cofounder Cyprian Szalankiewicz took to a short video to explain its significance.
To be featured on the website, Canadian startups can apply to be included in one of 25 accepted submissions every week up to, you guessed it, 1,000. Companies can show off information about their idea and gain access to an exclusive peer mentorship network, support, opportunities and deals from Startup Canada’s partners and sponsors.
Project Lead Allison Smith wrote in a release that the site will be monitoring startups’ growth and experience, and encouraging feedback on how Startup Canada can continue to grow. New features and designs will be implemented into the site over the summer as user feedback is leveraged.
“We want to celebrate these startups’ entrepreneurial journeys and continue to deliver innovative ways to help more Canadian entrepreneurs succeed,” said Smith.
London-based “gloves for the text generation” startup twittens will be one of the first 25 startups features on the site. Founder Lincoln McCardle is planning to take advantage of the site’s marketing leverage. “Most people who see twittens want them so it’s simply about letting stores know that we are out there,” he said.
Similarly Victoria-based Stratpad will also be featured. “We applied because are looking for relationships with partners who can help us with customer acquisition,” said founder Alex Glassey.
Startup Canada launched in May 2012 complete with bells and whistles, to what could have been described as an unprepared Canadian entrepreneurial community. The launch followed a lengthy cross-Canada tour in which cofounder Victoria Lennox engaged and consulted with over 20,000 entrepreneurs. As a result the organization pledged to roll out several programs supporting Canadian startups “in direct response to the call to action.”
Despite all of this some were critical, especially when Startup Canada failed to raise a targeted $100,000 through an Indiegogo campaign. In an editorial Techvibes’ Rob Lewis wondered what went wrong, despite thousands of Canadians being consulted prior to its launch. A flurry of user comments resulted in a lively discussion about the significance of such an initiative in Canada.
Nevertheless Startup Canada boasts a strong community of notable Canadian entrepreneurs who serve as enthusiastic volunteers. As traction is made slowly but surely, Startup Canada’s achievements might be better judged in a few years. 1000 Startups sounds like they’re off to a good start.