Yukon Venture Angels (YVA) was born out of a desire to see the Yukon’s private sector lift up and champion local start-up businesses and diminish the divide between grant funding and later-stage investments. The initiative was introduced to the community in November with a virtual introduction event, held over Zoom during Yukon Innovation Week, in which members of the public were invited to join and participate by sharing their thoughts and ideas. An in-person launch gathering at Northlight Innovation Hub was planned, but has since been postponed due to COVID.
YVA is an angel investment group, meaning it aims to provide capital for start-up businesses to get off the ground, which is usually given in exchange for convertible debt or ownership equity. YVA as a group does not invest, rather it is a group of investors. Both experienced investors and first-time angels looking to learn more about the world of growing businesses are welcomed and encouraged to collaborate with YVA.
YVA members will have access to resources and events such as a quarterly membership meeting, education sessions for first-time investors, National Angel Capitol Organization (NACO) workshops and resources, pitch sessions by local companies, connections to other angel groups in Canada and opportunities to network with other angel investors in the Yukon. YVA is committed to encouraging the private development of an ecosystem and advocating for both start-ups and private investment. By engaging with Yukoners who are interested in investing in and supporting local enterprises, the group believes they can achieve this.
While YVA’s mission is to foster growth in the Yukon’s private sector and build up small businesses and start-ups, its members recognize that there is considerable room for improvement in how this is done in the territory. By leveraging the power of private investment and membership, they aim to help build a genuinely diverse, robust and resilient Yukon economy. As the business world becomes more and more global, it is imperative that the Yukon adapts, as YVA president Barrett Horne articulated.
“Historically, the Yukon was thought of as an isolated place—but remoteness is no longer defined by geography,” said Horne in a press release. “Today, it’s defined by connectivity; the Yukon’s market is now the world.”
Because the territory’s relative isolation is not the barrier it once was, Horne believes companies from the Yukon should seize the opportunity to expand their enterprises across Canada and beyond, with YVA helping them achieve this.
“Our local should have access to capitol that will allow them to become global-facing ventures, and that starts with a strong network of educated, impact-minded angel investors at home.”
To learn more about Yukon Venture Angels, and to stay up to date with the postponed launch event, www.yukoninnovationweek.com/event/introducing-yukon-venture-angels-2/.
“Resiliency in our future means a diversified territorial economy,” said Horne. “If we are to be resilient in the face of whatever happens next, then we need strong, private-sector businesses with start-ups hiring and rooted here. How do we fertilize the field? We create the conditions for success to foster and grow.”