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29 Jan Laser Focus

Incubators and accelerators are now springing up over Canada. One thesis is organizations are slapping that label on in an effort to attract public funding. If there is a message here it is the obvious one. Build an organization that adds value to start up companies. Never loose your laser focus on helping start ups. Deliver on that promise and financial support for your organization will be ensured....

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22 Dec Start-Up Central District

Today, the Manitoba Technology Accelerator (www.mbtechacclerator.com) is announcing ambitious expansion plans to relocate to 136 Market Avenue and work to create central Canada’s most powerful technology start-up district. Effective Dec 23rd, MTA and MTA’s clients will relocate and assume ~45,000 square feet of space in the Start-Up Central District. Marshall Ring, CEO of MTA communicated that “MTA clients have been on an incredible growth trajectory for the past 18 months. About every 6 months we were...

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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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