by Gloria Welton
Rachel Adams, Marketing & Events Coordinator for Startup Zone in Charlottetown, recently hosted an online summit for entrepreneurs.
One of the sessions was called, So you want to start a business? A panel of people from across Canada brought their insight and experiences to help work through the stages of starting a small business.
Stefanie Corbett, Associate and Director of Operations at Island Capital Partners, led the discussion and acknowledged that starting a business can be lonely.
Here are some of the questions and answers meant to give insight and direction for startups:
Q: What questions do people have when thinking about starting a business?
“The money issue is top priority,” says Stefanie. “People may over or underestimate what finances they need. You need to know how much capital is really necessary.”
The question of money is on the top of people’s minds when considering starting a business, says Alicia Grayeb, Program Manager of Startup Services at Venn Innovation in New Brunswick. From a young age she was very involved with her parent’s business, and her interest and experience continued to grow.
“Be very clear as to what you need the money for so you can weed through the wants and needs,” says Alicia. “Keep in mind that nothing comes for free, so be very good at researching your options.”
“The idea is to prioritize,” says Mohamed Elabshihy, Associate, Knowledge & Insights at MaRS Discovery District in Toronto. “First, ask questions to sort out what is most important to focus on.” The company he works for supports business startups across Canada. His role focuses on developing, designing, building programs for entrepreneurs and addressing their challenges.
Q: How do you pick the right mentors?
“Talk to people who have gone down the road of self-employment, are future thinking, can help with attracting clients, expertise, and possible partnerships,” says Valerie Fox, Chief Innovation Consultant at the Pivotal Point in Toronto.
The company helps business startups around the world. She says knowing what resources are available in your community and having a great mentor is a great starting point.
Stefanie says finding a mentor can be a struggle because it is difficult to decide what advice to follow. It is important to make sure you get good solid advice based on experience, not just an opinion.
Mohamed says to not spend all your time building a product or service behind closed doors, but launch it to people you trust. They will give the feedback you need to adjust your product or service.
Valerie recommends finding a coach or mentor to look at the overall health of the new business and to be there to call upon when you need them. “I would encourage services and supports for entrepreneurs to look at this model as a best practice.”
Q: How can I find the best resources to help with the startup?
Alicia says new entrepreneurs should establish regular check-ins with supportive people to see how the business journey is going.
What resources are available on PEI?
For a list of resources for those considering starting a business or in business now, visit www.employmentjourney.com/resources-to-start-maintain-a-small-business/
The Startup Zone is PEI’s Business Incubator. Their goal is to accelerate new startups by connecting them with the space, resources, and supports they need to grow. Their motto is, You bring the idea and the ambition – we connect you with the necessities to get your business going.
For more information about the Startup Zone in Charlottetown, visit www.startupzone.ca