Support the Startup Visa Canada Initiative

Working with and meeting entrepreneurs from around the Globe is one of the things I love most about my job.  And since I am very proud to call Canada my home, I want the rest of the world to know that not only is Canada a great place to live – it is also a great place to start a company.

That is why today, we are pleased to announce and support the launch of Startup Visa Canada – an initiative designed to attract the best entrepreneurial talent from around the world, create jobs and enable qualified immigrant entrepreneurs to obtain a visa to start a company in Canada by removing the current red tape.  Simply put, we want to make it easier for the future, bootstrapping Sergey Brin to be able to come to Canada to start the next Google.

Current Legislation
As it stands, the Canadian federal and provincial government’s entrepreneurial programs contain minimum personal fixed asset provisions of about $300,000 and a long approval process.  Many immigrant entrepreneurs just don’t have the money or capital required under these programs and are denied a visa to start a company here.

This needs to change.

Here is what Startup Visa Canada is proposing
The Startup Visa Canada Initiative would create an alternate visa program that:

  • would swap the minimum asset provisions with a minimum Canadian investment of $150,000.
  • enable qualified Immigrants to partner with local investor(s) to expedite their temporary work permits.
  • would require Immigrants to have at least a third equity position in their companies, be active in management and create at least 3 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs over the course of a 2-year program period.

Inspired by Startup Visa US
Startups Create Jobs. They boost the economy and help us compete on a global scale. Silicon Valley entrepreneurs and investors like Dave McClure, Brad Feld, Paul Graham and Canadian born, Paul Kedrosky have been pushing this message hard and lobbying the US government to approve a Startup Visa program. As a result, legislation is now pending in Congress.  

Let’s Beat the Americans to the Punch!
In the next 30 days, we would like to get the support of at least 100 key influencers, including investors, entrepreneurs and industry associations. Then, we can take this initiative directly to the Federal Government.

To endorse this initiative:
  • visit the Startup Visa Canada site
  • submit your name and fill out the brief form
  • spread the word and share via Facebook, Twitter etc.
  • Follow our blog and twitter for updates
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Bootup – We are Just Getting Started.

As many of you have heard, Bootup Labs Managing Director and Co-Founder, Danny Robinson recently accepted the role of CEO of BCIC.   There has always been a bit of confusion with the Accelerator and the Non-profit b/c we share the Bootup name and understandably so.  But, BES has always been an independent organization. We have our own team, an independent Board, have to make our own money and raise our own funds. When Danny moved on to BCIC, the only thing that changed was he stepped down from our Board and Boris Wertz of WMedia Ventures stepped up as our Chairman.

In the past two years since we started Bootup Entrepreneurial Society, we have organized more than 40 of our own events and supported many other associations, organizations and international companies in their efforts as well.  These events include mentor talks and workshops, Democamps, Mentor speed dating, Co-Founder speed dating, Launch Party Vancouver, Facebook Developer Garage and more.  We have seen companies like UnbounceMobifyHootsuiteAyogoGistYowza and Weddingful attend and launch their companies at various BES events and continue to thrive.  We are their biggest fans and we want to see all of these companies and more hit it out of the park.

We have come this far with a team of 2 full time employees and the support of some amazing volunteers including Mack FlavelleParveen KalerLyal AveryBoris Mann, Angela Baldonero, Jodi Day, Tina Hoang, Ross Howard Jones, Alexa BoothJordan Behan, and Derek Shanahan, a rock star Board of Directors,  our sponsors and countless others, who have stepped up to help at many of our events.

What’s Next – Bootup Garage, an open space for Founders to Bootup
Bootup (BES) has always had an open door policy. We love having people drop by, plug in and work away while they are visiting from Toronto, SF, Boulder and even France.  Working in an environment like this is exciting and inspiring.  And as an entrepreneur, who’s first startup’s HQ was in my garage, I really appreciate and thrive on being surrounded by others, who are taking the same risks or have been there and can help me navigate through the sometimes unpredictable and challenging waters of entrepreneurship.

With this in mind, BES is launching the Bootup Garage Pilot Program.  The Bootup Garage is something we believe every healthy startup ecosystem needs and we want to create a space where Internet founders and developers know they can come, connect and hack away on their idea in a very supportive, collaborative and inspiring environment.  It is not meant to be a co-working space, where you rent a desk on a monthly basis.  The space will support new ventures from their earliest single-founder ideation stage through small-team prototype development, until the startup has achieved proof of demand and is ready to accept funding or establish their own workspace.

Mentors
We have lined up dozens of mentors already, who love Vancouver and want to support Canadian entrepreneurs.  Mentors will be on site, hosting office hours on a weekly basis (if not more) at Bootup Garage and you can set up meetings based on their schedule.  Everyone from Jason Bailey of Super Rewards, Boris Wertz of W Media Ventures, Boris Mann of IQMetrix, Angela Baldonero of Return Path, tech artist Kris Krug, David Ascher of Mozilla Messaging and Stewart Butterfield of Glitch and Flickr are on board and we are just getting started!  The list and mentor calendar will be posted soon.  Thanks to everyone for your support.

Funding
Bootup is a non-profit, supported by many wonderful partners and sponsors including BCIC, who has been a big supporter of us before Danny ever interviewed for the CEO job.  While BCIC has funded us again this year, which includes this pilot project, we are also talking to many other private and government organizations to help us in our mission to support and inspire entrepreneurship in BC and Canada.  If you are interested, please contact us or come to our Open House: 

Open House
On December 1, from 12:30-2:30pm – we invite you to an Open House at Bootup – 163 West Hastings St., Suite 200. Come find out more about the Pilot program, ask questions, meet other entrepreneurs and mentors and check out the space.

If you are interested in the new space, sponsorship or being a mentor, you can send me an email – maura [at] bootup [dot] ca or jeff [at] bootup [dot] ca or sonia [at] bootup [dot] ca, come to the Open House on Dec. 1st or connect with all of us at Launch Party Vancouver 10, http://lpv10.eventbrite.com

Bootup Names Boris Wertz as New Chairman

Maura Rodgers, Danny Robinson, Dave Shea, and Boris Wertz. Photo Credit: Raul Pacheco, #LPV5

The Bootup (BES) board is filled with entrepreneurs and investors, who are committed to helping the Vancouver startup ecosystem grow and thrive including Danny Robinson. Danny has acted as Chairman of the BES board since our very first meeting and has done an amazing job helping us stay true to our mission to inspire and support Canadian Internet entrepreneurs.

Over the past two years, Danny has invested in 10 new Internet companies (8 via Bootup Labs), co-founded BES and Launch Party Vancouver with me and mentored many other startups. I have known Danny a long time both professionally and personally. But anyone, who has seen Danny interact with startup founders can easily see that rolling up his sleeves and working with entrepreneurs is the thing he loves the most about his job. It’s truly inspiring to watch a founder(s) Danny has worked with take an idea, get traction and go on to build a great company.

As of today, Danny is leaving Bootup to become the new CEO of BCIC. Board member Boris Wertz of W Media Ventures has accepted the role as BES’ new Chairman. Like Danny, Boris is incredibly passionate about entrepreneurship and has invested a lot of his time and money into Vancouver’s startup ecosystem. We are really excited to have Boris step up as Chairman to build on what Danny has started. In addition, Jeff Magnusson has joined me as the interim COO at Bootup to help roll out our plan for a cool new space for Founders, which we will be sharing more details about very soon.

Thank you, Danny for sharing your knowledge and passion with us. We will miss you around here but are incredibly excited that you will be able to continue your work at BCIC. We think they are pretty darn lucky to have you and wish you all the best in your new role.

More good things to come in 2011!

Maura Rodgers, Danny Robinson, Dave Shea and Boris Wertz – Photo Credit: Raul Pacheco, #LPV5″

Bootup Partners with BCIC to Support and Promote Startup Ecosystem

At our Paul Kedrosky mentor event on November 19, we announced a BCIC/Bootup partnership before Paul’s talk. Since then, the ink has dried and I have had the pleasure of interacting and working with many members of the BCIC team including “the Deans,” Lin Kishore and Lindsay Thom.  Both organizations are committed to helping build a strong startup ecosystem that encourages innovation and offers digital media entrepreneurs the potential for long term success.

“Bootup Entrepreneurial Society fulfills an instrumental role in the acceleration of technology start-ups to competitively position British Columbia in today’s global technology space,” said Dean Rockwell, CEO of BCIC.  “BCIC is dedicated to develop entrepreneurial talent and to drive the commercialization of technologies and we are pleased to partner with BES in their efforts to make our province a desirable place to found and build digital media start-ups.”

Through this partnership, BES plans to expand its International Mentorship Program to include regular talks and workshops by leading business development and marketing experts. In addition, BES will work closely with BCIC to raise awareness of BC’s burgeoning digital media startup community locally and abroad.

Wantit.bootup.ca
On top of that, we really want to hear from you.  We started wantit.bootup.ca last month to get your feedback and suggestions.  Two of the ideas posted on the Wantit site are already in motion:

  • Mentor Speed Dating – Mack Flavelle of Compass Engine has come forward to organize a Mentor Speed Dating event on February 10.  If you are interested in being a mentor or looking for mentorship, please sign up at mentors.bootup.ca and Mack will get in touch with you.
  • University Connect Program – Jon Chui is working on a plan to support student entrepreneurs. More information to come.

Go to Wantit.bootup.ca if you want to add or vote for your favorite suggestion.  If you want to help make some of these things happen like Mack and Jon, please contact me or comment below.

Bootup makes pitching free at Fusion Forum

We’re very happy to announce that we worked with New Media BC and NRC-IRAP to bring down the costs for the upcoming Fusion Forum. It’s now $100 for all participants, plus two days of mentoring for entrepreneurs.

Company registration goes until this Friday, so apply now. Investors and members of the public are also welcome to attend, and can register here.

We’re excited about the great speaker lineup, and looking forward to seeing lots of great pitches and great discussions on investment in the digital media space.
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Innovation Camp is Coming

An exciting new workshop called Innovation Camp is coming to Vancouver! Join us as we expand our creativity and innovation by participating in engaging activities and challenges designed to inspire your inner entrepreneur, without the boring lectures. Practice invaluable skills such as identifying opportunities, learning from failure, resourcefulness, collaborating with a team and adapting to changing environments. Connect with brilliant people like yourself and work together to build on great ideas and find innovative solutions.

At Innovation Camp you will:

  • learn techniques to view problems from fresh perspectives in order to identify opportunities
  • apply those techniques in entrepreneurial situations and reflected on what was learned in the process
  • receive clear, concise feedback on your ability to work as part of a team
  • analyze and learn from failures in your own and others lives
  • laugh and have fun!

Price: $75.00 CAD
Location: the beautiful Kontent Creative offices, 55 Water St, Vancouver, Canada
Dates and Times:

  • October 13, Tuesday, 6:30pm – 9:30pm
  • October 15, Thursday, 6:30pm – 9:30pm
  • October 17, Saturday, 10:00am – 6:00pm
  • October 19, Monday, 6:30pm – 8:30pm(16 hours total)

Register now or check out InnovationCamp.org for more details .

Please note that this event is not being put on by The Bootup Entrepreneurial Society though it’s definitely geared towards people who are excited by what BES is building.

5 Questions with Maura Rodgers

Maura Rodgers at LPV5 - photo by Tris Hussey Kontent Creative Group Inc. caught up with Maura Rodgers of Strutta in a 5 question interview.

1) What’s the one piece of online or offline technology that you can’t live without?

Online: Up until June 2007 when my husband surprised me with my first MacBook, I was a PC. And as of two weeks ago, when I finally traded in my Blackberry for a shiny new iPhone, this girl is all Mac. The iPhone does have it’s limitations. It is not great for someone, who needs to reply to loads of email on the go and the built-in camera is not so hot, but I am smitten. It’s my favorite tech gadget right now.
Offline: My Wolf Gas Range. When I am not plugged in or at work, I am entertaining. And my gas range is a beautiful cooking machine.

Read Maura’s full 5 question interview at Kontent Creative Group Inc.