Montreal and Toronto, Canada, November 8, 2012 – BDC Venture Capital has concluded an agreement with Startup Weekend, an international not-for-profit organization based in Seattle, Washington, to become the first-ever nationwide partner for Startup Weekend events taking place in Canada. BDC VC’s financial support will enable Startup Weekend Canada to hold a greater number of events across the country than previously possible. The announcement comes on the eve of five Startup Weekend events taking place in Canada November 9-11 as a kickoff to Global Entrepreneurship Week (November 12 to 18).
Startup Weekends are intensive 54-hour events where developers, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products and launch startups, mostly in the web and software sectors. The home office in Seattle, which is funded by The Kauffman Foundation, Microsoft, Google and others, provides the framework as well as assistance to local volunteer organisers around the world. Since the movement started in 2007, over 650 Startup Weekends have gone on worldwide. In the past two years, there have been 18 Startup Weekends in Canada.
Up to 22 Startup Weekends in Canada in 2012-13 alone
BDC Venture Capital and Startup Weekend count on seeing that number grow over the next twelve months. BDC VC has taken the engagement to support up to 22 Startup Weekends across the country during the coming year. “Individuals events should also be bigger and better than ever”, says Chris Eben, Startup Weekend Canada’s Director and Lead Organizer of Startup Weekend Toronto.
Chris Eben also calls on fellow local organizers across Canada to take notice, as well as everyone else who’s played with the idea of organizing a Startup Weekend in their area: “The time has never been better for a Startup Weekend. I want to see BDC Venture Capital’s support utilized to its fullest.”
Part of BDC Venture Capital’s strategy
“The partnership with Startup Weekend is strongly aligned with our efforts to ensure a healthy and vibrant early stage ecosystem in Canada,” explains Senia Rapisarda, Vice President of Strategic Investments and Initiatives, the group which oversees such early startup support at BDC Venture Capital.
BDC VC backs a number of projects that aim to train would-be tech entrepreneurs and create networking opportunities between potential partners, mentors and investors, with the ultimate goal of leading to fruitful business ventures. The partnership with Startup Weekend is as strategic as it is natural.
Startup Weekend has established itself as a valuable and respected partner in the development of local and national startup ecosystems. Successful companies like Zaarly, Foodspotting, Launchrock and Memolane were all born out of Startup Weekends. In Canada, these events have yielded many active and vibrant startups. In Toronto alone, Venngage, Wash.ly and Ven.io are up and coming companies that all began this way.
More partners welcome
BDC VC’s national support is meant to complement local sources of financing for individual events. “It will be good for Canada if there are more and bigger Startup Weekends taking place all over the country and we hope even more organizations will get involved at the local level. We’d also be more than pleased to welcome other national partners. There’s no exclusivity when it comes to supporting our startup sector,” adds Senia Rapisarda of BDC VC.
Startup Weekends are taking place November 9th to the 11th in Victoria, Vancouver, Winnipeg, Toronto and Ottawa. Those who would like to organize a Startup Weekend event in their area can submit their proposal at startupweekend.org.
About BDC Venture Capital
At BDC Venture Capital, we help great ideas become great companies. With more than $1 billion in current and planned investments and over 25 years of experience in venture capital, we focus on innovative IT, health and energy/clean technology companies with high growth potential. We work with entrepreneurs and other investors in the public and private sectors to build outstanding Canadian companies, and are involved at every stage of the development cycle, from seed through expansion to exit. Our goal is to deliver excellent return on our investments, while working to create a sound financial ecosystem for Canadian technology ventures.