I have spent a lot of time in Halifax in the past year. I have been out for HPX Digital and for 2 workshops with Toon Nagtegaal (LinkedIn). It has allowed me the privilege of hanging out with Atlantic Canadian entrepreneurs. I’m going to try to spend additional time in Moncton, Saint John, Charlottetown and hopefully St. John’s (but a road trip like that will require additional planning and spousal support).
My next 2 trip are very different. The first is another workshop with Toon. The second is to attend Atlantic Venture Forum (still working on travel plans).
We are looking for startups that are “at the point where you have to push your business or business idea to the next level”.
The workshops with Toon are interesting. You can read Peter Moreira’s piece on the workshops. The workshop is a Thursday to Sunday ordeal. It’s called an Investor Readiness Workshop. The goal is to put companies through an artificially intense meat grinder and focus on building a stronger investment presentation. The goal is to walk through your business plan, your assumptions, and your traction. Toon provides his guidance from his experience funding companies in Europe and North America. I provide my experiences as an entrepreneur and what I’ve learned living for a short period of time on the other side of the table.
The goal is to provide Atlantic Canadian founders practical advice about refining their business plan. It revolves around Toon’s PhaseMap methodology and software tools.
The PhaseMap methodology helps define and articulate a business case around 4 questions:
- Do customers need and want my product? = Value Proposition
- Is there a market, big enough and ready to pay now? = Market
- Do customers wan to buy from me? = Positioning
- Can I deliver? = Execution
- Learn how focusing on your customers pain is the key to defining your value proposition, market and position. Practical real world, in the trenches advice about raising financing from both sides of the table
- To provide the team with methods and tools they can use to learn more about customers and product/market fit.
- Provide individual feedback to startup teams throughout the session, both to guide the iteration and strengthening of their startups and to provide strong group learning
Ideally, founders either written a business plan, started the investment circuit, and/or generated a few business models or a Lean Canvas or two. The target audience is companies that are actively raising investment capital. The focus is on how to make the case for your business. How good is your business case and how well you are able to present it? These are the crucial factors founders will learn in how to convince others of the quality of your plans.
Update: I’ve been informed that if companies are willing to cover their own travel expenses, the good folks at ACOA are willing to make exceptions for companies from across Canada.
The workshop is sponsored by ACOA. If you are a founder based in
Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, PEI or New Brunswick you are eligible for ACOA sponsorship. The ACOA team has informed me that the workshop is open to any Canadian startup willing to cover their own travel expenses to the region. The fees are divided between the founders and ACOA. Fees for founders are $750 for up to 2 founders to attend. This covers hotel and food costs. The remaining fees are covered by ACOA.
The next workshop is June 6-9, 2013 in Halifax.
It’s a fun, intense weekend that is designed to help startups and founders.