Entrepreneurship drives the world forward and a lot of the masterminds behind it are nurtured here in our very own backyard. Vancouver has had some great companies sprout out of it and many are yet to be recognized by the masses. At Vancity Buzz we’re excited to feature a weekly interview with great emerging startups of Vancouver roots to help connect the city with its innovators.
Our friends at WiseWords have a similar mission and have interviewed great companies such as: Hootsuite, Glowbal Group, A Thinking Ape, YYoga, and Vision Critical. I had a chance to connect with Melissa Kwan, CEO of Flat World Applications Inc. to hear more about how this project got started.
VcB: How did this idea first develop and what was the inspiration to do so?
WW: WiseWords was conceived late last year when Leon Ng from LNG Productions and I were talking about Vancouver entrepreneurs and realized there are a lot of people wanting to do something but don’t know where to start. There were a number of meetups around the city but not too much feedback loop and mentorship readily available and within reach. We threw some ideas around on what we can do to help propel the entrepreneurial community. Since I’m very involved with the startup scene and Leon works with Novus Community TV; so we decided to put our strengths together to create WiseWords – a collection of short success story interviews from successful CEOs as inspiration to entrepreneurs.
VcB: What’s the primary objective of it?
WW: We just wanted to put something out there to motivate people and inspire them to do something. At the same time, we wanted to bring entrepreneurs to mentors they trust and respect, people who are successful and have walked the same path…people who know what it takes to get there. The most amazing thing is we get to learn as we conduct interviews and the experience has been fun and fulfilling.
VcB: How has the feedback been so far from your readers and do you have any stories of people finding inspiration from the interviews and doing something cool?
WW: We constantly get a lot of positive feedback from people who have visited the site saying how unique the idea is and how much they love hearing from successful people in their own city. The speakers we interview also tell us how great it is that they can use this as a channel to speak to aspiring entrepreneurs. People seem to be enjoying our videos because they’re short and informative. When we were coming up with the idea we made sure to take people’s short attention span into consideration and come up with quick and refreshing timbits of advice. As for finding inspiration from WiseWords and doing something cool…we haven’t heard any stories yet, but I assume it’s because they’re so busy doing cool things they forgot to let us know!
VcB: What can we expect in the future with Wise Words regarding content and types of companies/startups you feature?
WW: We started WiseWords with a focus in tech but we’d love to see this expand into a project where we interview notable CEOs from companies that represent Vancouver. We’ve started to do that already with Glowbal Group and YYoga; the inspiration one can derive from WiseWords is not industry specific. We want to see WiseWords be a source of inspiration for any entrepreneur, no matter where they live, and find something they can connect with no matter what industry they are from.
VcB: Top advice to Vancouver entrepreneurs? Are there any specific things about Vancouver that make it conducive to starting a company, especially in the tech world?
WW: It may sound cliché, as all great advice is but just go and do something. You’re not an entrepreneur until you actually start a business, just wanting is not enough. Start by doing something small every day, get out to the meetups and surround yourself with like- minded people. There’s nothing like having a group of people to hold you accountable to your goals and help you polish your idea. An object in motion stays in motion, an object at rest stays at rest.
On the topic of tech in Vancouver, there’s a lot more support now than last year and it’s growing constantly. GrowLab is a tech accelerator that was put together by a group of successful entrepreneurs and since their inception last year, have become the advocates for entrepreneurship in Vancouver. Launch Academy, a community workspace for tech startups have just launched in the GrowLab office and together, they form the frontline of startup activities connecting people and pushing ideas forward. This collaboration of entrepreneurs and mentors helping each other created a unique energy to fuel early stage companies. As a startup in Vancouver, there’s no better place to be. Just get involved.
VcB: Awesome, thanks for your insight!
In review, there really are a lot of great resources and support for entrepreneurs in Vancouver as the community is growing at rapid speeds. Vancouver’s beauty is a source of inspiration for many great and creative minds and we look forward to staying in close touch with the community and seeing what the various great Vancouver startups have up their sleeves.
Stay in touch @pauldavidescu
*Vancity Entrepreneurs is a weekly feature on the city’s most notable entrepreneurs or startups that are making Vancouver a better place. If you think your venture deserves to be on the series, send firstname.lastname@example.org an email explaining why*