Startup Basics Program

Tools for Entrepreneurs: Startup Basics Program

Startup Basics Program

Startup Basics offers targeted skills coaching and individualized action plans developed by experienced Executives-in-Residence and supported by industry experts.

If you are a budding entrepreneur and need to learn more about about business and startup fundamentals you may be a great fit for the Startup Basics Program!


We know that entrepreneurship can often seem daunting or intimidating to those first starting out. The Startup Basics Program helps minimize this fear by providing entrepreneurs the tools they need to get started, get validated, and get to market.

Startup Basics fills a gap in the entrepreneurial ecosystem bringing skill progression and light-touch mentorship to help early stage entrepreneurs structure and curate their ideas.

This stage of entrepreneur eventually start companies and create significant community and economic benefit.  All startups and growth stage companies start at the idea stage; nurturing at this stage is an essential service in a productive ecosystem.

You will get the most out of the program if your business is in the early stages, already armed with an idea or are seriously considering how you’re going to build your company.


1. Startup Fundamentals

2. Positioning Statement & Minimal Viable Product

3. Legal & Accounting Basics

4. Business Model Canvas

5. Customer Discovery & Validation

6. Budget Basics & Protecting Your Idea

7. Pitching

8. Lived It & Learned it — advice from experienced entrepreneurs




#nvbc2017 Round 2.5 – placing 17-43

KAST VAP Client Cyberdontics Advancing #nvbc2017

#nvbc2017 Round 2.5 – placing 17-43The results are in for those companies moving on to the next round of the #nvbc2017 competition! The esteemed panel of judges have evaluated the Round 2 submissions.

While there were a few ties, there are 16 ventures moving directly into Round 3, and 27 ventures pitching in Round 2.5.  KAST VAP client, Cyberdontics, was one of them!

Cindy Chambers Sales & Marketing

HERE Partner Cindy Chambers, MBA & Woodbury Point

Cindy Chambers Sales & MarketingThere are any number of businesses who have come up with the great idea, product or exceptional service.  The issue for many of them, the hurdle that trips up many startups and fledgling businesses, is how to get the word out, get eyeballs, get sales!  Tackling the all-important sales and marketing demands often provide some of the greatest challenges to any business.

New HERE Program partner, Cindy Chambers is helping to bridge this gap for the program’s participating businesses.  Currently commuting between Calgary and the West Kootenay, Cindy combines part-time teaching at SAIT with her consulting and coaching business that grows to include more and more businesses here in the Kootenays.

With a strong tie to the area – Cindy’s husband grew up in Nelson – Cindy is looking forward to finally calling their property near Ainsworth Hot Springs home.  She works with clients spanning a diverse range of sectors including telecommunications, agriculture, technology, oil and gas, not-for-profit, and manufacturing, just to name a few.

The busy Sales & Marketing specialist brings a thorough background and experience which, alongside her love of collaboration, allows her the insight to understand a given company’s culture as well as quickly identify and diagnose the needs and challenges they may face.  Cindy’s sharp business acumen and her ability to grasp quickly both the strategic nature of a business as well as the nuances that make an organization unique sets the foundation for her positive contribution in a short period of time.

Specific to her Venture Accelerator and HERE program expertise, the clients Cindy works with enjoy the benefit of her willingness to listen, targeted probing and questions to accurately identify need so as to effectively distill information into actionable plans for the best outcomes.

All clients are looking for the best bang for their marketing buck.  VAP and HERE clients come to her for many of the basic marketing needs such as wordsmithing, helping with effective advertising collateral and, particularly pertaining to startup clients, translating technical “geek speak” into laymen’s terms.

Cindy identifies one of the most important facets to effective sales and marketing as being the importance of clearly understanding who the target customer is.  In this age of digital marketing, geography becomes less a factor in identifying a target audience.  Particularly with regards to tech and innovation startups, the target audience may just as easily be from around the globe as around the corner.

A true team player, Cindy is as comfortable in the board room as in the trenches.  Strategically, she excels at providing clarity of direction, identifying competitive advantage, and facilitating discussions that move organizations in a profitable direction.  Tactically, it isn’t uncommon to find Cindy working a trade show booth, carting boxes, or performing any of the myriad of tasks that are necessary for organizations to successfully market themselves.

Cindy has honed her management and leadership capabilities to a high level of performance.  Career successes include launching new products that showed immediate financial success, eliminating under-performing products from portfolios, and successfully leading cross-functional, multi-cultural, multi-time zone teams to launch new products on time and on budget.

Cindy has been responsible for fund-raising in order to secure on-going private financial support for a non-profit organization, resulting in donated funds that doubled the operating budget.  She has served as the volunteer chair on two separate non-profit boards,  leading the strategic planning process and building strong board-staff collaboration.

Cindy has a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Calgary, and has spent a good portion of her career leveraging technology to implement marketing plans.   She has spent several years teaching business and marketing classes at the post-secondary level (Mount Royal University, University of Phoenix, SAIT), as well as providing marketing and strategic business consulting services across numerous industries.  She continues to take professional development workshops and courses in the areas of fund development, board capacity, and marketing and sales leadership.

Cindy Chambers-Woodbury Point Sales & Marketing

Read more about Cindy and the HERE Program.



Apply for Metabridge | April 3 Deadline

Apply for Metabridge | April 3 Deadline

Apply for Metabridge | April 3 Deadline

Apply to Metabridge’s Top Start-up Cohort | April 3 Deadline 

The 9th annual Metabridge program connects the Top 15 Technology Start-ups with top tech executives, mentors and investors to help take their organization to the next level.

This is a highly competitive process designed for the best and brightest growth stage tech founders (late seed or early Series A). SMB can be from any technology sub-sectors and we look for demonstrated traction.

The Top 15 who make it into the program will be invited to Metabridge’s Tech Retreat in Kelowna, with access to 48 hours of VIPS, workshops, activities and 1:1 meetings.

Learn more about the program or contact

HERE Partner Roger Austin & Team, Austin Engineering Ltd.

With a long mutual family history in the area and the region being ground zero for world class engineering projects such as Teck and BCHydro, it makes sense that two homegrown entrepreneurs with a particular interest in engineering would choose to create a life, a family, and a successful business right back here in the West Kootenay.

From their office in downtown Trail, specializing in heavy industry and hydro and within a stone’s throw of Teck’s Trail operations, Roger and Mary Austin of Austin Engineering Ltd. keep connected to their community as well as their clientele, providing the space to create and foster the important relationships that keep their company bustling.

Austin Engineering, led by Roger, Principal Engineer, and his wife and business partner Mary, Director of Business Development, guide an exceptional team experienced in geotechnical, civil, structural and hydrotechnical engineering. The company has specialized skills in earthworks, bridges, dams, utilities, foundations, structures, building design, water treatment, hydrology and environmental consulting.

Another valuable partner in the BC Venture Acceleration and the KAST HERE Programs, Austin Engineering Ltd. and the Austins help young businesses see their potential, identifying the potential upward trajectory that may help take what is a small business now into a bigger business down the road.

Participating program clients are often needing simply to talk to someone else who’s travelled a similar path and it isn’t always about engineering needs.

While businesses participating in the programs do come in need of design and engineering services, the bigger demand of the successful engineering firm is mentorship.  Often, clients are looking for guidance with tasks such as business plans, contract language and project schedules – how to get from point A to point B and on to point C.

The Austins provide a much needed sounding board.  They are there to listen and answer questions, supporting the larger vision of the client – encouraging them, “You should try it!” – as they navigate the entrepreneurial waters towards growth and success.

Mary and Roger Austin see their work within the Venture Accelerator and High Value Expertise in a Rural Environment (HERE) programs as an opportunity to experience the fresh energy of entrepreneurs.  They enjoy the valuable networking component of the programs and they’re excited by the pride clients have in their ideas, the innovation required in many cases, as well as the courage it takes to see these fledgling businesses through to the next steps.

It’s a win-win for the Austins.  They are happy to support entrepreneurs that are working to become vital participants in a positive local business culture – promoting exceptional business practices and innovation – while contributing to the growth and development of the local community as a whole.  Values very close to the heart and vision of Austin Engineering Ltd.

Read more about Austin Engineering Ltd. and the HERE Program.

HERE Partner Lesley Beatson, PhD

HERE Program Lesley Beatson PhD

It takes a certain type of professional to take on teaching leadership to leaders.

With credentials and experience spanning decades and industries, from coaching sport – swimming, cycling and triathlon – to coaching organization managers and startup CEOs, Lesley Beatson is just that professional.  She is passionate about seeing her clients succeed, providing them with insights and tools to work through challenges, exploring and, ultimately, realizing the best in themselves.

Effective leadership amid rapid change

In this era of technology where innovation and connectivity make for a rate of uncertainty and change previously unheard of,   leaders find themselves facing new and significant challenges.  Whether you’re operating on a shoestring or wondering how to achieve greater productivity within your organization, establishing an effective way to motivate and fully engage your team, all the while managing change, is integral.

A PhD in Leadership, Dr. Beatson is a passionate and experienced coach – a professional consultant who strives to deliver her clients high impact results.  While surrounding yourself with supportive friends, family and associates can provide a great foundation, she believes firmly that the road to success is made more smooth with the help of a professional partner who provides an entirely objective perspective.  Lesley pulls no punches.  She delivers her brand of coaching with honest and insightful candor, her only agenda being the success of the client.

Through consulting solutions in leadership development, group facilitation, coaching, and engagement, Lesley brings out the best in her clients.  She is a proven, effective resource for aligning employee performance with organizational strategy.

Changing thinking, changing results

With a particular interest and expertise in coaching skills related to “how to think”, Lesley believes firmly that we are able to choose our thoughts. Much like making the choice to change the channel to a more enjoyable television program, we can change our thoughts from those that hinder us, hold us victim, to those that are more conducive to supporting and ensuring our success.

The HERE and BCVAP programs are fortunate to have a coaching professional of Lesley’s calibre, offering her considerable expertise and experience to organizations in a range of industries.  With her guidance, advanced teamwork and enhanced leadership and organization development is achieved by building capacity in the individuals and teams that make up our client list.

Drawing on the influence of leading edge thinking, research and tools, Lesley enthusiastically provides fresh ideas, powerful approaches and the strategies you need to navigate your team, organization or community through the pitfalls of change and growth along the path to success.