Videotron Business Solutions is a partner of the fifth annual International Startup Festival, an event designed by and for startups which will be held on July 15 to 18, 2015. I asked entrepreneurs from Québec City who attended the Festival with me last year what has stayed with them from the event.
Here’s what they said:
It gives you perspective
The Festival is the ideal place to get perspective on your business idea, get other opinions and improve it. François Lanthier Nadeau is a strategist and Web copywriter with Snipcart, on online shopping system that manages payments, shipping charges and order tracking without the customer ever leaving the merchant’s site. He and one of his colleagues attended a brainstorming session with Why not blue, an agency that develops customized websites and e-commerce solutions. He wanted to run their product past other people. The experience taught him that explaining to experts how their product is different from the competition can be a challenge. He came away from the event with ideas about how to fine-tune their approach.
It shows you how to present your business more effectively
Most of the attendees who responded to my query mentioned that the Startup Festival helped them realize the importance of having a clear message when they present their business to anyone. The point was driven home by Coach Davender, who facilitated Québec International’s activities on the Québec City delegation’s train, and by many of the speakers at the event. Some of them took advantage of opportunities to practice their pitch at the Festival. Personally, I thought the “Grand-mères” had a terrific idea. “What I will do in the immediate future is use my elevator pitch more often and refine it so I can explain my product to anyone in 30 seconds,” David Boudreault told me. He is the cofounder of CycleMap, an app that helps you plan your route using an iPhone or iPad.
You can share your ideas with entrepreneurs from around the world
The Festival brings together entrepreneurs from around the world who are ready and willing to listen to your ideas and help you improve them. Their openness was what Diane Bouleau most appreciated. She is the founder of 11.08, a company that helps entrepreneurs and individuals who are settling in Canada set up shop here or find work. “People encourage each other, give each other tips, network, do business, bounce ideas off each other. The atmosphere is very congenial and laid-back, but also high-level.” Personally, I particularly liked the fact that there was a central meeting place surrounded by stands. It was great for networking.
You can learn about useful tools to support the development of your business and find out about the experiences of other entrepreneurs
The wide range of speakers provides a useful overview of topics of interest to startups. “Given the multitude of people who are trying to dissuade us from pursuing our business dream, I can say without hesitation that the upbeat attitude of the speakers and their efforts to encourage us were the things I most appreciated about the event.” Etienne Bernier, General Manager, Kreezee, a platform that supports sports team management, participation and collaboration.
“When it comes to product development, we were very interested in Thompson Reuters’ OpenCalais project, which Mona Vernon discussed. It could be a strategic plus for CrowdBase. We have already contacted them for more information.” Julien Gobeil Simard, General Manager of Crowdbase, an application that makes it easy for organizations to create a lively, stimulating meeting place for sharing knowledge, skills and ideas.
It can boost your self-confidence
Presenting your idea to other people and taking part in pitch contests can be quite a challenge. It’s stressful, but it gives you a lot of confidence afterwards. I remember the reactions of participants before and after presenting their ideas to the jury. It was like magic. They would go in and come out so pumped up. “Presenting our business to successful businesspeople was super-stressful but doing it really gave me self-confidence.” Joëlle Boutin, co-owner of Atelier Ëdele, which designs artistic bedsheets made of organic cotton for babies and children.
Have you ever attended the International Startup Festival? If so, let me know what stands out in your memory.