Next week is Mentor Connect– a speed networking charity event designed to create connections between tech (mobile, web, games, etc.) entrepreneurs and mentors (angels, VCs, entrepreneurs, etc.)
We figured we’d chat with the man behind the curtain, Jimmy Ho.
1. Jim, tell us about yourself and where you’re coming from and what you’re doing these days.
My name is Jimmy Ho. I am original from Toronto and I graduated from the University of Waterloo with a Computer Science degree. I have experience as an engineer at both Electronic Arts and Microsoft.
I started my first startup, NeverBored Studios, with my friend/classmate Thomas Ang. I ran the business in Waterloo for 1.5 years, but left on good terms because of differences in vision.
I moved to Vancouver and now currently work as an engineer for Microsoft Vancouver (BigPark). I volunteer my time with Entrepreneurs International Organization (EIO) and am a member of Vancouver Entrepreneurs Toastmaster Club.
2. What is Mentor Connect?
Mentor Connect is a speed networking charity event designed to create connections between tech (mobile, web, games, etc.) entrepreneurs and mentors (angels, VCs, entrepreneurs, etc.). Attendees can enjoy speed networking, opening mingling & networking, and raffle prizes.
Date: Monday, May 16, 2011.
Time: 6:30PM-9PM. [Private reserved section]
Location: Ceili’s Restaurant, 670 Smithe Street, Vancouver, BC V6B 2C9.
Price: $10/person or $15/group(2-3).
Purchase tickets at TheMentorConnect.eventbrite.com.
All proceeds will be donated to Big Brothers Vancouver.
Note: Mentee application submissions(here) for the mentor speed networking portion end May 9, 2011 @9PM. However, people can come watch the speed networking session and enjoy the rest of the evening.
3. Why are you putting Mentor Connect together? Where did the inspiration come from?
Originally, I had a desire to start a project and the inspiration for Mentor Connect came about when I was assisting with EIO’s sponsored entrepreneurship course, “The First 99 Milestones”. The content speaker for that night was Thealzel Lee and a student had asked her a question about becoming an angel and how one could tell who to invest in.
One of Thealzel’s answers included her recommending mentoring (other start-ups) and the idea stuck with me.
Since then Mentor Connect has transformed from a single idea to an event that was created and made possible by the Vancouver entrepreneurial community. I personally see Mentor Connect as a way for individuals to really connect with mentors, organizations, and entrepreneurs in Vancouver.
4. What are your thoughts on the start up scene in Vancouver? Where are we winning? What do we need to work on?
I see Vancouver’s startup scene growing especially with Danny Robinson/BCIC supporting various organizations and programs in Vancouver. Vancouver’s greatest strength is that it is a great place to live and labour/talent costs are much lower compared to Silicon Valley. Vancouver’s weakness however is that labour/talent costs is irrelevant if a startup is not in a growth phase. Most startups in Canada lack the know-how and experience to quickly get to this stage in their start-up, whereas Silicon Valley has an influential community of experience that entrepreneurs can tap into (funding is also easier to obtain in the Valley from what I hear). Many organizations such as Bootup, AceTech, and EIO look to fill in this gap to create a community of development and support for entrepreneurs in Vancouver, thus Vancouver’s outlook is great.
5. What’s next? After mentor connect what other projects have you got on your radar, are there any other big events you’re excited to attending or organizing?
At the moment, I believe that anything is possible, but I do look forward to the next Vancouver Launch Party.