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Startup Zone hires Patrick Farrar as new CEO

Patrick Farrar took over as Startup Zone’s new CEO on Monday.
Patrick Farrar took over as Startup Zone’s new CEO on Monday. - Terrence McEachern

Halifax native wants to improve how businesses and startups communicate with each other

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Patrick Farrar, Startup Zone’s new CEO, has heard the criticisms that P.E.I. business is perhaps slower and behind the times compared to other places in Canada.

But he sees advantages in that pace, especially in terms of learning from other’s mistakes.

“We’re able to move faster and learn from those mistakes, and really try to succeed on places where others have failed,” said Farrar.

Originally from Halifax, Farrar, 30, started the new job last week. He took over for Shannon Pratt, who left Startup Zone for a position with Innovation P.E.I.

Farrar graduated from Mount Allison University and Dalhousie University with a bachelor of management, entrepreneurship and then Saint Mary’s University with an MBA focusing on entrepreneurial and small business operations.

After graduation, he moved to Toronto with his business partner and co-founder Scott Stirrett, and started the not-for-profit Venture for Canada. The experience taught him what it’s like to start a company.

“The first six months were a little tough, as with any kind of company I guess. But you just trek through it,” he said.

The company recruits recent university graduates and trains and supports them as they work for startup companies and learn how to start their own business.

Farrar served as the organization’s chief operating officer.

Farrar’s goals at Startup Zone include improving communication and knowledge sharing between resident companies and Island businesses to help everyone succeed and identify issues that lead to business failures. He also wants to see startups think bigger and realize their potential.

“I just love to connect people,” he explained. “I just think there is a very interesting ecosystem here, where it’s small enough but it’s transparent enough that you can get things done and there’s a strong communication.”

“I just love to connect people,” he explained. “I just think there is a very interesting ecosystem here, where it’s small enough but it’s transparent enough that you can get things done and there’s a strong communication.”

Farrar also likes the passion and drive he sees in Startup Zone’s resident companies as they grow their business, as well as the respect they have, as entrepreneurs, while dealing with other businesses and trying to work together.

“Here on P.E.I., you can’t be burning bridges. You can only burn so many, and then you’re left on an island by yourself.”

Farrar has family in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and P.E.I., and grew up spending time during the summer on the Island.

Farrar has been on the job since Monday, and feels like he’s made friends with half the Island.

“I just love the people. You know, meeting a stranger who will tell you their life story and the heritage of the building they’re living in and who their parents are and their family and their kids,” he said. “I think that’s phenomenal.”

Located at the corner of Queen and Water streets in Charlottetown, Startup Zone is a non-profit business incubator that provides work space, support and resources for startup companies. It opened in June of 2016.


terrence.mceachern@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/Terry_mcn

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