Friday, September 4, 2009

I have all these entrepreneurial ideas, where do I start?

Just today I spoke to a friend of mine about a business idea she has. Listening to the passion in her vision made my heart race. I love it when women have great ideas and even better when they know exactly what they want to do with their ideas. Not everyone gets to that point at age 26 like my friend here. So the wheels in my head started turning and all sorts of resources came to mind (thanks to networking through WISE). I thought about it, searched the internet a little bit, and I realized that there is a lot of help available out there. Here is my advice to all of you entrepreneurs at heart:

Begin by making sure that your online presence is superb. Networking online is huge. Start with updating your profile on LinkedIn. Find people to connect with and ask people to write you recommendations. Join relevant groups, like the "Ottawa Talent Initiative Alumni and Friends","On Startups - The Community For Entrepreneurs", "Women for Hire", "She Geared", as well as all the groups I listed below. And don't forget to join the below organizations' mailing lists and contact them too.

Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) focuses on "stimulating knowledge transfer through the development of bright minds, moving their skills to the market". They provide workshops to help you get your business ideas together. It's focused on research and development in science and technology, but their workshops would help anyone for any business. And best of all the people who teach these workshops (ex. marketing) have a passion for helping young people do what they love in a business setting. I met a few of them and I've seen it.

The Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation (OCRI) is "Ottawa's lead economic development corporation bringing business, education and research together to help local technology companies thrive locally and compete globally". They hold lots of events that may help you network and gain knowledge. I know that a while back OCRI and OCE (as well as INSA) organized a keynote presentation by Apple Computer Inc. co-founder Steve Wozniak. Unfortunately it cost $60 for members and $80 for non-members, including lunch. I do wish they would have made Steve a little more accessible while he was in town. Oh and look into OCRI's e2 Entrepreneur's Edge Program as well.

Women 2.0 is "committed to increasing the number of women entrepreneurs starting high growth ventures by providing the resources, network, and knowledge for the launch and growth of their company". Their vision is "to be a catalyst for change, mobilizing a global community of ambitious women entrepreneurs seeking to advance the world through technology". Women 2.0 is headquartered in San Francisco. For example, they have contests for best business proposals and help the winner start her business economically and socially. You can find them on LinkedIn, Facebook, etc..

This should get you on the right track. Just follow your gut and your heart. And drop me a line if this helped! It will make me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Good luck to you all!