Founder Fridays – Fireside Chats

Use this link to register for upcoming Founder Friday events.

Typically held on the 1st and 3rd Friday of each month, Founder Fridays are free virtual events that are based on the success of a fireside chat, in November 2020, with Ian Hathaway (Techstars founder Brad Feld’s co-author on their latest book) that had 300+ participants and gave away 100 copies of The Startup Community Way to attendees from across the Alberta.

Founder Fridays are designed to support Alberta’s entrepreneurs, mentors, ecosystem builders and service providers by:

  • Upskilling entrepreneurs, mentors, ecosystem builders and service providers across the province
  • Growing entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship support in and around Alberta’s post-secondary institutions
  • Increasing the volume of startups and the velocity at which they progress through the Startup Commons stages
  • Helping startups grow faster and developing the expertise and traction required to attract capital from angel investors and Venture Capitalists.
  • Working with existing entrepreneurship support organizations across Alberta to expand and upskill their mentor network

The Alberta government recently announced a goal of 20,000 new jobs and $5 Billion in additional revenues from Alberta’s high-tech sector within the next 10 years, which strongly aligns with the goals of the Butterfly project.

If we are to reach that lofty and attainable goal, Alberta entrepreneurs require access to an army of highly skilled mentors that reduce the likelihood of failure and increase the likelihood of scaling and being funded.

Current partners include 150 Startups, Bow Valley College, Futurpreneur, Rainforest AB, and the VMSA.

The intent is to create highly skilled mentors while at the same time upskilling tech entrepreneurs in Alberta by introducing them to global thought leaders, providing free copies of relevant books they can read and share, and connecting them with like-minded people across the province so they can brainstorm ways to apply the content from each authors session and book to Alberta’s startup community.

Founder Fridays started in April 2021 and are scheduled to continue until March 2022 – less July and August – where we have a virtual fireside chat with an author of a recently released book that shares ideas that can help grow Alberta’s tech ecosystem.

After each session, we would ship books to as many participants as funding allows and have participants return the 3rd Friday of the month (sometimes with, sometimes without the author) to discuss how we can apply the book’s content to Alberta’s tech sector.

In between the two sessions, we would attempt to pair people from different locations across the province and ask them to connect over a 30-minute call or zoom meeting to share projects/challenges and resources. Hence, we build personal connections between people in different sectors and locations across the province.

Those who permit us will also have a mentor profile added to a publicly available list of startup mentors that can be filtered by location, training, expertise and industry. The intent is to create something similar to what can be found on the member’s page of the A100 website – https://thea100.org/members/.

Target participants include current mentors of Futurpreneur, VMSA, Intergen, Rotary Club Members across the province, leaders of the 100+ ethnic groups in Alberta and those who have registered for past fireside chats, mentor training, Innovation Rodeos, MVP Mondays, Tech Sales Tuesdays, WannaB Wednesdays, Techathon Thursdays.

The goal is that 100+ Alberta Entrepreneurs, mentors, ecosystem builders and service providers will participate each month, with many receiving a free copy of the author’s book. Over the duration of the program, our goal is to ship over 1,000 books to participants across the province.

The province’s benefit will be more startups growing faster by being better informed with access to new and upskilled mentors and greater cross-province collaborations.

Past Sessions

April 9: Fireside chat with Cory Bray, author of Sales Playbooks: The Builders Toolkit

April 23: Roundtable discussion with Joseph Fung on how to apply the learnings from Cory’s fireside chat and book

May 7: Fireside chat with Vijay Govindarajan, author of The Three Box Solution

May 21: Roundtable discussion with Wally Thorson on how to apply the learnings from Vijay’s fireside chat and his book

June 4: Fireside chat with Tsedal Neeley, author of Remote Work Revolution: How to Work From Anywhere

June 18: Roundtable discussions on how to apply the content of Tsedal Neeley’s book Remote Work Revolution to Alberta’s startup community and tech ecosystem

This initiative is a collaboration between 150 Startups, Bow Valley College, Futurpreneur Canada, Rainforest Alberta, and the Venture Mentoring Service of Alberta. It is made possible by the generous support of Bow Valley College, RBC, The Hunter Family Foundation, Calgary Innovation Coalition, RINSA, Women in STEM and APEX Alberta.