For Science and Technology Industry Entrepreneurs and Start Up Companies
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29 Nov Key to Success

Building Start-Ups is an art. There are core elements involved and fundamental principles, but the application of those are up to the practitioner. A key approach used by MTA to only get involved with good people. We want to work with people who want to do good for others without ever expecting anything good back. This idea of dealing with mensch’s (as referenced by Guy Kawasaki in Art of the Start) has resulted in a...

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31 Oct Location, Location, Location

MTA recently attracted a client who was located in a large Canadian city but moved to Winnipeg. A key phrase in the decision was that after a small project, the client realized that they could get 300% the production, at 80% the cost and 10% the headache in Winnipeg versus their other location. Sometimes the temptation is to think that the smaller cities cannot compete against the larger ones. But that’s just laziness talking. Malcom...

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30 Sep A Village

Building a start-up culture is not a job for one person or one organization. Instead, just as it takes a village to raise a child, it requires a community to raise a start-up. What’s encouraging here is the emergence of local mensch’s dedicated to doing just that. Innovation Alley is now a recognized term in our city and it is not because of the institutions here, but rather the people who champion for start-ups. There...

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20 Aug The Importance of Relationships in the Context of Farming and Hunting for Business Outcomes

Oftentimes I can get too focussed on direct results. If we invest time, money or energy into an activity I want to see an immediate outcome. For example, if we cold-call 10 prospects, I want to see 3 leads for a 30% success rate. While this mindset is important, it can often provide blinders to softer activities. A great example of this is attending networking events. There are occasions where I do not see a direct...

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24 Jul Alpha Users & Beta Customers

This month the importance of alpha users and beta customers was reinforced to our start-ups. For example, this month we are entering china with three prestigious alpha users to generate publications on our Arterial Stiffness testing device which will then let us sell to beta customers. The amount of information you can learn from getting alpha users is tremendous. A start-up can understand how the technology fits into the workflow process and how users interact with...

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30 Jun Elements: Core & Key

Witnessing the growth of start-ups is fascinating. One of the elements which intrigues is how there is no single path to success. The core elements are always present: a product or service which adds value to customers or consumers, a business model to capitalize on the innovation, and an unrelenting focus on securing early customers. But how those elements are applied is heavily influenced by the personality of the founder. As the companies progress, they...

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31 May Prairie Brethren

I had the wonderful experience of presenting an MTA client company to the Saskatchewan Capital Network (SCN), an Angel group from Saskatoon. What resonated was how similar but yet different we are with our prairie brethren. Saskatoon is home to a number of promising start-ups, with a focus on IT and mobile. The companies however are actively seeking management support and investment. One of the start-ups announced how lucky our companies were to be in...

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30 Apr Featuring “Feedback”

At a recent presentation I provided an overview of the MTA commercialization process. I explained our structured approach of moving companies down the pathway box by box from idea to feasibility to development and market entry. Then a question took me aback. An audience member appreciated how we had a structured process, but questioned where the creativity fit into the structured process. This feedback was great and helped remind me the importance of what happens...

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31 Mar Manitoba meets Saskatchewan meets NW Ontario

MTA organized a call with 5 other incubator / technology Commercialization organizations focussed on organizations in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and NW Ontario. What emerged was that the organizations have more similarities than differences. Each has some specific strengths and each some holes to fill but it was interesting to see how each organization has somewhat independently ended of at similar spots. Looking forward all organizations have agreed to continue to share challenges and successes with an...

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20 Feb Connecting in Cambridge

This past week I was in Cambridge building connections and relationships for MTA client companies. I was struck by the mass of activity from technology to Angel to VC. There are about 20 Angel groups active in the region and they seemingly have a good level of communication, collaboration and deal syndication. This is a stark contrast to the Winnipeg experience where there are no local Angel groups to syndicate with. What was encouraging however was...

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