Canadian Technology Accelerators in the U.S. – WEBINAR

Canadian Technology Accelerators in the U.S. and Asia – WEBINAR

Canadian Technology Accelerators in the U.S. – WEBINAR

How the Canadian Technology Accelerators can help with expansion into the United States.

Despite the exciting growth opportunities, the U.S. market is often undermined as it has many challenges and deep complexities. That’s why the Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) created the Canadian Technology Accelerators (CTA).

Canadian companies are naturally drawn towards to the United States when seeking to expand their business to new markets for a variety of reasons: proximity to Canada, business-friendly environment, and access to expertise, buyers, partners, and investors.

Located in America’s most prominent technology hubs -Boston, New York, and the San Francisco Bay Area- CTAs provide participating companies with high-value services and customized programming focused on improving firms’ international business strategies, maximizing their market potential, identifying competitors, and connecting with global clients, partners and investors.

JOIN this helpful WEBINAR to hear about the individual market opportunities and the high-value services available to help give your companies the foothold they need to succeed. The criteria, application process and expectations will also be explained.

The CTAs are currently seeking Canadian companies with dynamic and differentiated technologies in health and digital industries for their Fall 2019 programs: Click HERE!

When: Wednesday, June 5 @ 13:00 EST

Serban Georgescu, Tech & Life Sciences CTA in Boston
Josh Kleyman, Digital CTA and HealthIT CTA in New York
Thierry Lu, Digital CTA in Silicon Valley
Iraina Miles, Health CTA in San Francisco

Why Asia? What opportunities are there? Why now?

Asia is increasingly top of mind for Canadian companies given the market size and economic growth rate in the region. Its position as a global producer of goods and services, large consumer base and increased drive for innovation offers interested companies significant business opportunities. With the diversity of markets and available opportunities, companies also have multiple entry points to the region dependent on their business strategy and strategic advantage.

New entrants, however, face an array of challenges from inadequate market data and sales channels to complex legal systems and different business cultures. That’s why the Canadian Technology Accelerator (CTA) program of the Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) has expanded its highly successful program to key Asia technology hubs including Hong Kong, Singapore, Taipei, and Tokyo. The CTAs in Asia is meant to emulate the U.S. programs’ successes by providing high-value services and customized programming focused on improving firms’ international business strategies, maximizing their market potential, identifying competitors, and connecting with global clients, partners and investors.

JOIN the WEBINAR to hear about the individual market opportunities and the high-value services available to help your companies succeed and grow their business in Asia. The criteria, application process and expectations will also be explained.

The Asia CTAs are currently seeking Canadian companies with dynamic and differentiated technologies in health and healthIT, cleantech and digital industries for their Fall 2019 programs: Click HERE!

When: Wednesday, June 5 @ 19:00 EST

Richard Fong, CTA in Hong Kong
Tegan Watson, CTA in Singapore
Rowena Ko, CTA in Japan
Rupert Cao, CTA in Taipei

KAST receives $15,000 for inclusive programs at Nelson Tech Club

KAST receives $15,000 for Programs at Nelson Tech Club

KAST receives $15,000 for inclusive programs at Nelson Tech Club

The Kootenay Association for Science and Technology received $15,000 from the Discovery Foundation Technology Education Program to deliver inclusive programming for all ages at the Nelson Tech Club.

“These programs will be a perfect introduction to using technology,” says Cam Whitehead, executive director of KAST, “for anyone who wants to use tech to live better, work smarter, or just build something for fun.”

The Nelson Tech Club, located at the Nelson and District Youth Centre, is a barrier-free public hackerspace for people of all ages to learn, share and play using technology — including 3-D printing, robotics, software, design and more.

The weekly drop-in programs will start July 3rd, 2019, and run for six months on Wednesday nights.

This application supports KAST’s aim to establish an inclusive digital technology community around the Nelson Innovation Centre, which recently received $100,000 from the Rural Dividend Fund.

“We want all people to be able to benefit from new opportunities created by tech and innovation,” says Whitehead, “and that means creating a community space to learn new skills.”

The Nelson Tech Club, launched in 2012, comprises over 500 members and volunteers of all ages and backgrounds.

Interested in attending the program? Please contact the Nelson Tech Club.

Mining Month Luncheon Trail BC

Mining Month Luncheon | May 28th

Mining Month Luncheon 2019

May is BC Mining Month. Around the Province, communities will commemorate this vital industry and the people involved in it.

Mining is one of BC’s largest and oldest industries and BC Mining Month is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the importance of this modern, and ever-innovating industry to British Columbians.

Activities are planned around British Columbia to recognize the people and communities that participate in this foundational industry each and every day.

Participate in the celebration!

Be sure to join us at the Mining Month Luncheon in the Muriel Griffith’s Recital Room at Selkirk College in Trail for the Mining Month Luncheon, May 28th at 12:00 pm. Lunch will be provided.

Hear Michael Goehring, President of the Mining Association of BC, speaking about the evolution of the sector, including the latest innovations in mining. Learn about:

  • automation in operations, making mines safer than ever
  • the use of drones and how they’re improving efficiency
  • how artificial intelligence is impacting the sector
  • how virtual reality is being implemented in projects to improve engagement with communities.

This is a FREE event – Click HERE to REGISTER!

For generations, mining has generated jobs and prosperity for BC families in every region of the province. Since 1901, the Mining Association of British Columbia has been the voice and advocate for BC’s mining industry.

Mining Month Luncheon in Trail BC


KAST steps for startup growth

A Growth Strategy to Help Prepare and Sustain Your Startup

KAST steps for startup growth

There is a growth strategy you can follow in order to properly position your startup for sustained success.

With only 50 percent of startups making it successfully past the five-year mark, it’s important to have a smart growth strategy – a roadmap for long-term success – to ensure you’re not only prepared for the various inevitable bumps and roadblocks along the way but have the tools to overcome them.

Know Your Value Proposition

If you don’t fully understand your startup’s value proposition – what makes the benefits of your products or services crystal clear – you’re already behind the proverbial 8-ball. The first fundamental step towards developing a smart and effective strategy for growth is being able to explain, without hesitation, how your idea or startup is uniquely qualified to meet or even exceed your prospective customers’ expectations.

Unfortunately, it’s not unusual for many startups to either bury their value proposition in buzzwords or trite, meaningless slogans neglecting to highlight it in their marketing or on their website – or it’s so vague they have difficulty identifying it at all!

“Many entrepreneurs lost out, due to never truly articulating a compelling value proposition,” says Michael Skok, VC and Forbes contributor. “Establishing a substantive value proposition is critical if you want to start the journey from your ‘idea’ to building a successful company.”

Your startup’s value proposition is arguably the most important component of your overall messaging, for marketing and otherwise. Startups that can’t identify and clearly convey their unique value proposition will be challenged when it comes to converting sales, growing the business, engaging with potential investors, and becoming market leaders.

You don’t need a huge marketing budget to clearly articulate what makes your business uniquely beneficial – just careful consideration of your product or service from the perspective of your users. It only has to be as long as a headline, sub-headline, and maybe a few succinct bullet points.

Thoroughly Identify Your Customer

Identifying your target, your customer, is fundamental to the process of creating an effective, yet realistic growth strategy. If you don’t clearly understand your target, you’re less likely to provide your customers with what they really need. In fact, chances are greater you’ll iterate on the wrong product enhancements, run with inaccurate marketing messages, and other costly mistakes.

There are several ways to help  identify your customers:

  • Draw on Personal Networks: Don’t be afraid to tap your personal network — friends, family, colleagues, funders, mentors — for feedback and to help examine your product or service. You can use their feedback to help validate – or not – the assumptions and hypotheses you’ve come up with.
  • Launch a survey: Issue surveys via social media, email, or newsletters. Ask pointed questions with regards to the problem you’ve identified and gather feedback to validate.
  • Analyze Market Data: Look to your competitors for information and insights related to target markets. To whom does your competition market? Why do they choose to use them? How are the competition effectively addressing your target and the problem?

Use the data you’ve collected to help develop your buyer personas – the fictional representations of your ideal customers, their unique characteristics, and other qualities.

Keep an Eye on the Competition

Monitoring the competition is helpful for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that your competitors may very well have already solved the challenges that you are currently facing. Follow their progress and you may discover insights regarding possible shortcuts to success.

“One of the reasons why people do not analyze the competition is, in my opinion, the fear of discovering that their product is not as good as their competitors’ product,” says Gilles Bertrand, global commercial lead at Shire. “But you cannot hide from reality — it’s better to face it and improve quickly or pivot your plan if required. Another reason is that they simply do not know how to analyze the competitive landscape.”

Establish Key Performance Indicators

It’s quite difficult to accurately measure your startup success without first defining a few key performance indicators. Startup founders who focus on the key performance indicators that most affect the growth of their startups and dedicate resources to those areas are those at the top of their game.

“Founders cannot hope to grow a company in any meaningful way without an almost obsessive focus on its KPIs,” says Phil Nadel, co-founder and managing director at Barbara Corcoran Venture Partners. “This focus must not be limited to the KPIs themselves, for they are merely measurements of outcomes. We look for founders to have an understanding of what levers can be pulled and what tweaks can be made to improve the business, which will then be reflected in its KPIs.”

The most popular growth metrics include:

  • Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC): The price you pay to acquire a new customer. Calculate CAC by dividing the total costs associated with acquisition by the total number of new users over a period.
  • Customer Lifetime Value (LV): The total net profit attributed to a customer during his or her relationship with the company. Calculate LV by dividing average order divided by one minus the repeat purchase rate. Subtract that number by CAC.
  • Burn Rate: The rate at which a company spends capital. Calculate the burn rate by defining an observed data period. How much money did you start with at the beginning of the quarter? How much money did you “burn” during the quarter? Divide by the number of months in the observed data period.
  • Gross Profit Margin: Measures revenues after paying the cost of goods sold. Calculate gross profit margin by dividing revenue minus the cost of goods sold.
  • Conversion Rate: Measures the desired action that consumers take. Calculate the conversion rate by dividing the number of conversions by the number of total visits.

Keep front of mind those KPIs that have the biggest impact on your definition of success.

Hire Very Carefully

A bad hire can cost your startup in many ways and can be as high as at least 30 percent of an employee’s first-year earnings. Bringing on the right people is integral, throughout the life of your business but especially in the tenuous early stages. For early-stage startups, a five-figure investment in the wrong employee can cause a significant loss of traction, momentum, and profits. So, finding the right people to work for your startup is not easy, but it is extremely important.

“The culture is what creates the foundation for all future innovation,” CEO Brian Chesky said in a 2013 company memo. “If you break the culture, you break the machine that creates your products.”

Scale Conservatively

Avoid premature scaling by monitoring spending habits, avoiding debt, and limiting overheads. Spending too much money before establishing a product-market fit is the number one reason for premature failure.

Don’t jump into renting office space prematurely. One of the easiest ways to maintain a low burn rate is renting coworking space and the startups who choose to cowork over traditional office space typically save tens of thousands of dollars per year. It also allows for the room to rapidly scale up or down without incurring fees or breaking expensive lease agreements.

Startup teams that work in tech-centric coworking spaces can also the benefit of exposure and introductions to VC, targeted educational programming, and access to resources designed to help them scale faster.

Job Opportunity: Nelson Innovation Centre (NIC) Community and Events Manager

The Position

The digital economy represents an opportunity to expand economic diversification through the export of digital products and services around the world. Expanding support for the digital tech sector is an opportunity to create modern, inclusive, high-paying, environmentally- and socially-responsible jobs and sustainable wealth-creation in the Kootenays.

NIC is a technology-focused business incubator that will drive regional job and wealth creation by connecting people and businesses to the supports they need to thrive in the global technology, knowledge, and innovation (tech) sector.

The NIC Community and Events Manager will manage staff and volunteers to cultivate a vibrant community of technology and knowledge workers around the Nelson Innovation Centre. This will be accomplished through the development and implementation of programming, the curation of a professional space, the execution of compelling events, the creation of community partnerships and the delivery of exceptional value for members and the general public. Key deliverables are outlined in the NIC work plan.


Job Requirements

 Minimum qualifications

  • Minimum 2 years’ recent leadership experience designing & coordinating high-profile events; and,
  • Minimum 2 years’ recent experience in communications and social media

Preferred criteria

  • Administration, operations, customer service or human resources experience would be an asset
  • Creativity, digital design or videography would be an asset
  • Tech savvy and co-working experience would be an asset
  • Knowledge of the regional tech sector would be an asset


  • G-Suite (Core Apps: Gmail, Sheets, Docs, AdWords)
  • Microsoft Office suite
  • Adobe Acrobat
  • Online events management software (Eventbrite or equivalent)
  • Customer Relations Management (CRM) software


  • Travel will occasionally be required

Application Requirements

  • Cover letter(1 page; format and content will be used for evaluation purposes)
  • Resume (no longer than 2 pages)

The position is full-time and permanent with a 6-month probationary period. The expected starting salary range is $45,000-50,000/year.

Close date is May 13th at 4pm. Please submit resume and cover letter to

Note: Professional reference and criminal record checks will be conducted prior to appointing the successful candidate.

Nelson Innovation Centre benefits from BC Rural Dividend

Nelson Innovation Centre benefits from BC Rural Dividend

Nelson Innovation Centre benefits from BC Rural Dividend

BC Rural Dividend Program has awarded $100,000 to Community Futures Central Kootenay (CFCK) for development of the Nelson Innovation Centre.

The funds will allow CFCK to hire a manager to co-ordinate operations of the Nelson Innovation Centre, including a technology business mentorship program and membership framework.

“Nelson Innovation Centre will help to position our region as a destination for technology entrepreneurs and workers,” said Andrea Wilkey, CFCK Executive Director. “The Nelson and the Area Economic Development Partnership has been working alongside the Kootenay Association of Science and Technology to keep momentum behind this project. The support of the BC Rural Dividend Fund will support our post-launch programming, as we build up our membership and establish income streams to become self-supporting.”

Nelson Innovation Centre will be located on the first floor of the Historic CP Rail building in Nelson’s Railtown neighbourhood. It will create a hub for Nelson’s growing tech sector, with shared work and meeting spaces, business development services and skills training programs.

CFCK is one of six organizations in the Central Kootenay who are celebrating successful applications to the BC Rural Dividend Program. Other successful project proponents include the Village of Kaslo, Regional District of Central Kootenay, Nelson Civic Theatre Society, Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce, and Touchstones Nelson.

“Whether it’s promoting partnerships with First Nations at the Nelson Museum, helping the Village of Kaslo develop opportunities for aviation and recreational tourism or building local government capacity to attract new business, these grants will go a long way to boost our rural communities,” said Michelle Mungall, MLA for Nelson-Creston.

These grants help fund projects that support economic development and diversification in rural communities throughout the province. Grants can be up to $100,000 for a single applicant project or up to $500,000 for partnership projects.

“This funding supports the diverse needs of small towns throughout the province and the people who live in them,” said Doug Donaldson, Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development. “Our government is getting results for people in small cities and towns in every region, creating jobs and enhancing everyday services and amenities for families around the province.”

The Rural Dividend is one aspect of the Province’s rural development mandate, which commits to making rural communities more resilient.

Originally posted at CFCK.