A startup accelerator for “creative, innovative and socially responsible people” in Calgary is offering a $10,000 cash prize to people who help them build an online presence, build a business, and build community.
The $10k prize is one of two $10-million prizes that are being offered by the Calgary Startup Network to help budding entrepreneurs.
The first $2.5 million of the $10m competition will be distributed to the first 250 people who apply.
The second $2m will be dispersed to entrepreneurs who apply to build their online presence and build their business.
“We’re really excited about the opportunity to provide a little bit of financial support to people in our city, and it’s something that’s really important to us,” said Jason Bouchard, founder and CEO of the Calgary Entrepreneur Network, which is based in Calgary.
“It’s about building communities, and creating opportunities for young people, young entrepreneurs and all of the people who have a strong social conscience and a strong desire to be entrepreneurs.”
In 2017, the Startup Network was the fastest-growing startup accelerator in the country, according to the Startup Association.
The Calgary Startup Program is designed to attract young entrepreneurs who are interested in investing in Calgary, build an initial business and build a community.
“This is the next step in building the Calgary community,” said Bouchards partner in the Calgary startup program, David Dickey.
“As a network, we’re not just about helping you get a job, but helping you create a business and a community.”
Startup community The Calgary Entrepreneurship Network’s Calgary program is part of the Alberta Startup Program.
In 2017 the Alberta program launched a new initiative, Calgary Startup Community, to attract entrepreneurs from all over the province to learn more about Calgary.
In 2018, the Calgary program launched an initiative to expand the Calgary entrepreneurship network to include other Canadian cities.
“People who want to do business here are starting businesses in Canada, and so the Calgary network is really a great place to start,” said Dickey, adding that the Calgary entrepreneurs are encouraged to connect with local community leaders.
“The Calgary Entrepreneury Network is a fantastic way to bring people together in a very strong community, so it’s really exciting to see the enthusiasm and the interest for Calgary being so high,” said David Dingle, founder of the Toronto Startup Network.
“There’s a lot of people who want the opportunity, who have aspirations to start their own business and to be entrepreneurial.
It’s a great way to connect people to people and get them to start something.”
The Calgary entrepreneurship program has also created a platform for local entrepreneurs to find community support.
“In 2018, we were very fortunate to have a number of community leaders who really took a leadership role and made a difference,” said Sarah Lien, executive director of the Startup Community in Calgary program.
“When we launched Calgary Startup community, we saw that there was a tremendous amount of support from our community and community leaders, and a lot more people than ever before were taking advantage of the opportunity.”
“We want to help people who are new to Calgary or to Calgary entrepreneurship to be able to get to know other entrepreneurs and to really know where to start.”
Calgary Startup program has seen a surge in the number of people applying for the program in the past year, according the Calgary Venture Council.
According to the Calgary-based VC, Calgary startups have increased by over 300 per cent from the previous year.
“While the Calgary Business Development Corp. is always working to improve the program, it’s also a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to build a new career and create a new community,” Lien said.
“I’m really proud of the work that we’ve done to support and nurture the Calgary entrepreneurial community and to bring more entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs to Calgary.”