Prince George is less than a week away from seeing the national do-it-yourself business roadshow.
StartUp Canada has been visiting major centres in every province, stimulating conversation and networking for entrepreneurs. Nearing the end of its coast-to-coast mandate, it will hang out its shingle in Prince George on Monday. Each stop on the tour is a one-day blitz within each city's business community.
"The more the community invests in our visit, the more chance to get something collaborative out of it," said award-winning businesswoman Victoria Lennox, the co-founder of StartUp Canada. She will personally lead some of the public activities scheduled for B.C.'s northern capital.
"It is very much a self-help agenda," Lennox said. "One of the biggest issues we keep hearing about from all over Canada is, the support is there for small businesses and new businesses, but it is fragmented and difficult to find. How we build the business ecosystem is what we at StartUp Canada are involved in fostering. It acts as an event the community builds together. We can start to build collaborations, freer communications, smooth the way and streamline the process within a community, and see through to what other communities are doing."
The primary event at all StartUp Canada is a town hall meeting focused on business topics. UNBC is hosting the Prince George edition of the town hall event starting at 9:30 a.m. on Monday. It features host Rick Spence, columnist for the National Post, as well as a panel of local entrepreneurs. To register, send an email to Renata King at Ren...@northerndevelopment.bc.ca.
The afternoon will have site tours to a number of successful Prince George businesses, so StartUp Canada officials can gather practical data for their final report due later this fall.
At 5 p.m. the Chamber of Commerce is calling on their members to assemble at Ohh Chocolat Cafe for the inaugural Top 40 Under 40 announcements and members' mixer. Outside, the public will be milling about up and down that block which will be closed to traffic for the Chamber's annual street tradeshow. Local businesses and agencies - all of them Chamber members - will show off their goods and services.
"The communities go above and beyond every time," Lennox said. "All we ask is for the community to organize a town hall specifically for entrepreneurs, to host that dialogue. Always, we see so much more happening around our visit, and Prince George is certainly doing that."
Lennox said running your own business "is a risky venture" and can use all the practical help a community can muster. "Ultimately, entrepreneurs get on with it - support or no support - so how do we do the best job we can to support that enterprising spirit."
Some new ideas are expected to flow during the StartUp Canada visit to Prince George, and Prince George input will also help the StartUp Canada officials in the forming of a document immediately following the tour. Lennox said an action plan is due for release in November.