Friday, May 14, 2010

Post column on the NB Entrepreneurs Summit

Can “Canada’s Picture Province” become “the Davos of Entrepreneurship”? That’s the subject of my column in this week's Financial Post on the events of the first annual New Brunswick Entrepreneurs Summit.

The conference featured some of the best entrepreneur speakers I've ever heard, and I will be writing about some of them again. But this column will give you a high-level feel for what went on.

Recent business grad Kara Hachey spoke of her experiences creating children's recreation programs at Fredericton-based Go-Go Gymnastics. Now expanding into Saint John and Moncton, Go-Go will soon have 9,000 children enrolled in its programs. (Her biggest problem: finding and training 80 new employees.)

Hachey's top tip is to know your customer. She started Go-Go with set ideas, and resisted at first when clients asked for other services, such as evening day care. Eventually, she says, "I figured if you're going to pay the bill, I might as well make it work for you."

Hachey's other tips: Build your business around your employees' capabilities; create consistency in your communications, pricing, and policies; seek out mentors and "thank them, thank them, thank them."

You can read the full story here.
You can also read my live-blog posts at the summit by clicking here. (For best results, scroll to the bottom of your screen and then read the posts from bottom to top.)

1 comment:

Flavian DeLima said...

Great analogy Rick comparing the entrepreneur success story with that of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. As entrepreneur Steve Palmer is quoted, "It's not the strongest people who make it to the top of Kilimanjaro, but the ones with the best attitude." The guides in Africa know a thing or two about perseverance. So why is New Brunswick such an innovative environment for startups? I think it has to do with the social ties that supports the "help thy neighbour" succeed regardless of one's educational or professional background. That's quite similar to innovation hubs around the world like Boston, NYC's Silicon Alley and of course Silicon Valley.