Startup Quebec City, part of the Startup Canada communities program, will be in attendance on November 26th for the 2014 Startup Canada Day on the Hill. During the Day on the Hill, Community leaders will meet with their members of Parliament, Ministers, Senators and senior government officials to share perspectives from entrepreneurs in their communities. Startup Community leaders will present their progress over the last 12 months to conference delegates, showcasing the impact of entrepreneur-led economic development initiatives at the local level connected nationally through technology like StartupConnect.ca.
Startup Quebec City’s Community leader Davender Gupta will be at Day on the Hill, bringing their message on the importance of startups in Canada. We sat down with him to hear about their progress and impact over the last year and what they hope to get from Day on the Hill.
SC: Please tell us about yourself. Why are you passionate about building Québec Startup?
DG: My name is Davender Gupta, and I am a startup coach and tech entrepreneur in Québec City. My interest in building “Québec Startup” started in 2011 when I saw the new startup wave come through Montreal, and I believed that we also had the potential to do the same in Québec City. It’s been three long years, but the results are starting to show.
SC: What have been some of your highlights and your impact over the last 12 months in growing your Startup Community?
DG: The highlight each year is the Startup Train which takes an enthusiastic group of Québec City startup entrepreneurs to the International Startup Festival in Montreal. This is the third group we have created for this event, and the quality of the entrepreneurs keeps improving. Another metric of our progress is the FastTrac TechVenture startup bootcamp, now in its sixth cohort.
SC: How has becoming involved in your startup community helped to benefit your own business?
DG: In my own case, it has helped me to build my network. One project in particular piqued my curiosity so much that I joined them as a partner this summer!
SC: How have you seen your efforts impact the community?
DG: The community is helping themselves. Two recent examples demonstrate this. The first is “J’entreprends Québec”, which started with a startup entrepreneur who wanted to see more action on helping his colleagues overcome the issues holding them back from building their businesses. Keith Beaudoin organized an after-work get-together, which quickly became a large event where people brainstormed solutions and took action. “J’entreprends Québec” is now becoming a monthly activity. This month they are organizing an activity to connect new and experienced entrepreneurs through a “story journey”.
The other is “Femmes Alpha”. Founded by Viviane Graillon, Joelle Boutin and Isabelle Carrière, who met during the Startup Fuze university startup bootcamp; the idea came together at La Tournée des Entrepreneurs. The mission of Femmes Alpha is to encourage “women who have a fire in their eyes”.
These are tangible examples of how community can encourage people to move forward and transform their ideas into action.
SC: How has being involved with the Startup Canada Communities program helped your community? What have been the greatest benefits?
DG: The original Startup Canada Tour, which touched down in Québec City in July 2012, was a pivotal event in launching Québec Startup. Our connection with the Startup Canada movement has helped to inspire us and also motivate us as leaders to continue our efforts. We very much appreciated being named Startup Community Of The Year (Québec Region) at the Startup Canada Awards this past Spring.
SC: What is your vision for the future of Startup Communities and Startup Canada in the long term?
DG: The Startup Communities project is an important element to develop entrepreneurship from the grassroots level, across Canada, in cities and towns, big and small. Too many initiatives are started “top-down” by government without taking into account the real needs of the community. This is what I admire the most about Startup Canada: that it is a movement which brings together people to first help themselves. Then, as a community, we can communicate precisely to the higher levels of government to make sure they stay focused on what helps the community the most.
SC: What do you hope to get out of 2014 Startup Canada Day on the Hill for your community and for Canada?
DG: We hope to learn from what other cities of our size are doing, and also share our successes and our challenges. Our community has also been active in building bridges with startup communities in France, and we want to help link the two countries, while bringing the best of our unique culture, creativity and energy to the mix.
Learn more about startup communities and get a say at #Startupday on Nov 26 in Ottawa. Register at StartupDay.ca.
This article was written by Rosanne Li, a project and data analysis expert who volunteers on Startup Canada’s Impact Measurement Team. Based in Hamilton, Ontario, Rosanne is passionate about research, analysis, policy and entrepreneurship.