This past weekend, in my role as President of The Ottawa Network, I had a great experience working with more than 50 aspiring entrepreneurs as they formed teams and competed for $5000 in seed money to start a new enterprise at the first ever Ottawa Network Startup Boot Camp. Together with my peers on the Boot Camp Organizing Committee (Robert Morais, Stephen Fry, Tom Duxbury, Dave Stein, Terry Thomas and Brian Radburn) I had the pleasure of watching a group of strangers with entrepreneurial aspirations come together on Friday night around rather loosely formed product / business ideas that they proceeded to develop over the weekend into sound, well rounded new ventures by late Sunday afternoon.
To gain a full perspective of how the weekend was setup, visit theottawanetwork.com
From a numbers standpoint, we had 52 attendees, 18 sponsors, 26 coaches / mentors and a 5 person review panel made up of angel and VC investors tasked with picking the most promising venture as our winner on Sunday night. Francis Moran, one of our coaches for the Boot Camp covered the teams and their product ideas nicely in his blog post after the event. Also, throughout the weekend, we had a quite a few participants sharing their experience live on Twitter using the #TONSBC hashtag and so far, I’ve seen a blog post from John Duff, one of the Boot Camp attendees.
Our overall goal for the event was to bring together entrepreneurial minded people from Ottawa’s technology sector and lay the groundwork for new venture creation. The venue was designed to broaden our attendees exposure to like-minded and capable potential startup partners with complimentary skills. The intent was for everyone to be in “startup mode” for the entire weekend. The outcome and take home for all was driven by the mix of attendees, innovative ideas brought forward, event guidance skills and everyone’s effort and interest in creating the best possible experience for everyone involved. If our teams stay together and get their new ventures off the ground, all the better. In fact, one of the teams has already published a market research survey on the techhotornot.com site to solicit further customer feedback. So, it looks like they’re giving it a shot.
Our winning team, lead by Grant Hall, was Cambrian Mobile CDN. We’ll watch closely to see how this young enterprise takes form.
Sitting now and reflecting on what was a whirlwind of a weekend, I’m very pleased with the result and the support shown from everyone involved from the attendees, the sponsors, coaches, judges and of course my fellow organizers. We have areas we know we can improve on and we’ve already started thinking about Startup Boot Camp redux for March 2010.
If you were involved in this first event in any way (attendee, sponsor, etc) or if you are learning of the event for the first time please share your comments and ideas below to help us improve our next Boot Camp.
Thanks to all for a wonderful experience.