Small businesses in Charlottetown getting boost

P.E.I. capital will join the Startup Canada network in 2015; local office to help entrepreneurs to set up on Water Street

Dave Stewart dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca
Published on December 14, 2014

Charlottetown recently joined Startup Canada's network, which means that entrepreneurs here will be able to network with their colleagues across the country. Hannah Bell, executive director of the P.E.I. Business Women's Association, the spokeswoman for Startup Canada in Charlottetown, says it's an organization with a lot of clout that will help young entrepreneurs get started — and stay — in the city.

©Guardian photo by Heather Taweel

The road to success for small business in Charlottetown just got a lot smoother.

Toronto, Halifax and Charlottetown are the latest cities to join Startup Canada’s network in 2015.

The network currently consists of 18 communities including Ottawa, Montreal and Calgary.

“It’s a pretty big deal, in terms of the weight of Startup Canada as an organization,’’ said Hannah Bell, spokeswoman for Startup Charlottetown.

Bell also serves as executive director of the P.E.I. Business Women’s Association.

Startup Canada isn’t just a national organization, it’s one with a lot of clout. Bell wants to use that clout to help people start work here, and stay working here.

“The more people who support them, the more likely we are to get success and that’s my driver in everything that I do. I want people to be able to stay here.’’

Being involved with Startup Canada means networking with successful entrepreneurs across Canada, it means access to contacts, it means exposure in national newspapers. It’s an organization which boasts 80,000 people.

Charlottetown’s inclusion into Startup Canada’s network in 2015 was mentioned quite prominently recently in the Financial Post.

“I want a network of mentors who I can connect with entrepreneurs who need those mentors. Entrepreneurs are here and they’re doing cool things and they’ll get to do more cool things.’’

She talks about how economic activity is driven by small business, ordinary people doing ordinary things.

“It’s the cafés and the grocery stores and the little business that starts on someone’s kitchen table. Not everybody is going to grow up to be Google and they don’t have to be to be successful.’’

Bell is trying to make getting started in Charlottetown easier. An office is being set up on Water Street. It’s a physical place where people can get information, something as simple as find out who to call, or meet with an accountant for free and ask questions - real answers to real questions.

“You can walk in and talk to somebody but it will also be a virtual place. If you’re home that’s the first place you can go.’’

That’s the movement that is afoot. Startup Canada providing a national network of connected communities improving access for entrepreneurs, combined with local sources of support and advice.

It’s paving the road to success for small business.

dstewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart