Just because you have a great idea for a business, it doesn’t automatically follow that you have an idea of how to get it up and running.
What does follow is a lot of research into areas you may have no experience with: market studies, permitting, supply chains, advertising, patents, etc.
StartUp Whitehorse aims to help people along that path. With a membership, an entrepreneur can learn from others who have been there already, or are going through the same process at the same time.
“There is the Internet and all of its resources, but it is a whole lot easier to be able to talk with other people,” says Alastair Smith, a member of StartUp Whitehorse.
RP Singh, another member, agrees.
“Connectivity adds a whole new dimension,” Singh says.
“This is incredible because this is a hub,” says Smith. “People have been doing this forever, but we didn’t necessarily have spots where we were meeting up and sharing ideas with other startups outside of the Yukon. That helps because we understand we are not the only ones. And that, on its own, is extremely valuable.
“You have your highs and lows: it is good to share your highs and, when you have a low …”
Singh finishes for him, “… you see how other people got out of that low.”
“Yeah, for sure,” Smith continues. “Then there is networking and learning from people who were there: raising funds and trying to hire resources or trying to figure out how intellectual laws work.”
But Singh wants to make something clear: Successful businesspeople can benefit from StartUp Whitehorse just as much as a first-timer.
“This is not unidirectional, there is more to it than that,” Singh says. “When you are established, your disposition after five years is not going to be identical to when you started off.
“As an established person, you have the chance to tap back into that whole ‘How did I do it when I was really hungry?’ and, ‘Hey, your ideas are fantastic, I have resources that could help you with that.’”
Such sharing needs a venue that is safe and stimulating. So, StartUp Whitehorse members meet in the community-driven shared workspace called (Co)space by Yukonstruct, which is located at the corner of Strickland Street and 2nd Avenue on the second floor.
StartUp Whitehorse is an organic, virtual organization that has no executive or clearly defined roles for its members. Its relationship with StartUp Canada is aspirational, at best, with no tangible contributions.
It’s a good match because (Co)space and StartUp Yukon have the same proponent: Yukonstruct.
Singh says he likes to show off the amenities: “This is the main space,” he says waving his arms wide. “Typically you walk in here anytime between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday to Friday, and this is what it will look like.”
Music is playing softly, there is free Wi-Fi and desks are on wheels to be moved around for the many other groups that rent the space at night from (Co)space.
There are whiteboards and bulletin boards and a couch by the window.
Then there are two conference/multi-media rooms with large-screen televisions and computers loaded with software to allow for remote meeting attendance and digital presentations.
These rooms are available to members for free, but non-members can book them for a fee.
To join StartUp Whitehorse, go to Facebook.com/startupwhse or Twitter.com/startupwhse.
Regular events include a breakfast club on Monday mornings at 9 a.m., yoga on Wednesday nights, Beer o’Clock on Fridays at 4 p.m. and special events to be announced.