Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Letter from GrowthCamp

I had a great time at PROFIT Magazine's GrowthCamp on the weekend. It's the annual conference/seminar/celebration for the entrepreneurs on PROFIT's Hot 50 list of Canada's Emerging Growth Companies.

I guess it's a sign of progress that it was held in the plush White Oaks Conference Resort & Spa in Niagara on the Lake - as opposed to the former Ontario Hydro training camp back when I was in charge. I miss the rugged, beers-'round-the-campfire atmosphere from those days, but I seem to be the only one. Everyone else - including the sponsors and the entrepreneurs who came from all over the country - seems delighted with the venue and the program.

I'll blog about some of the speeches and events when I have time. For now, here's some of the good advice from the finance specialists on the "Find the Capital You Crave" panel:

* If you want to raise capital for your business, "act like a public company," advised entrepreneur (and PROFIT columnist) Jeff Dennis. Form an advsitory board, get your statements audited, follow appropriate governance procedures. "So when you go looking for financing, you'll have the structure in place."

* "Have a clear vision of why you need the money and what you're going to do with it,” said Ungad Chadda of the TSX Venture Exchange. “Really knowing that cold is key.”

* Norm Stevenson of Roynat Capital says everyone looking for money should have a business plan. He recalled that one client asked why Roynat needed a business plan from him. “It’s not for me,” said Stevenson. “It’s for you.

Build a relationship with a banker and establish a line of credit, even if you're not going to use it for now,” said Rob Wilkes, a CA at BDO Dunwoody. “So that when you do need something, you're not coming to them out of the blue. They know you and your business, and what got you here.”

I’ll post s'more GrowthCamp treats as time permits.

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