Shift by Alberta Innovates

Unleashing Entrepreneurship in Alberta: Dr. Tonya Wolfe on the innovative Resource Roundup at Inventures 2024

May 03, 2024 Shift Season 5 Episode 6
Unleashing Entrepreneurship in Alberta: Dr. Tonya Wolfe on the innovative Resource Roundup at Inventures 2024
Shift by Alberta Innovates
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Shift by Alberta Innovates
Unleashing Entrepreneurship in Alberta: Dr. Tonya Wolfe on the innovative Resource Roundup at Inventures 2024
May 03, 2024 Season 5 Episode 6
Shift

Get ready to discover a revolutionary approach to entrepreneurship in Alberta with our guest, Dr. Tonya Wolfe of Red Deer Polytechnic. In this thrilling conversation, we dive into the Resource Roundup, an innovative event at Inventures 2024 that's flipping the script on networking and support for startups.

Imagine an environment where entrepreneurs aren't just chasing dollars but rather, forming powerful connections with a community eager to propel their growth with a diverse range of services. Dr. Wolfe gives us an insider's look at how this platform is designed to streamline the way companies present their needs and challenges, ensuring they leave with more than just potential - they leave with a plan.

The buzz around Inventures 2024 is palpable as we discuss the nitty-gritty of Resource Roundup's unique three-slide presentation structure with Dr. Wolfe. In a space fit for 20-24 vibrant companies, entrepreneurs will master the art of precise communication, laying out their roadblocks and resource needs to an audience ready to lend their expertise.

This moderated event not only keeps the energy high but also guarantees that every participant leaves with concrete leads and solutions. It's a session that exemplifies the supportive innovation ecosystem Alberta is nurturing, leaving listeners eager to witness the synergies that will unfold.

Join us and be part of the movement changing the face of entrepreneurship one connection at a time.

Applications to be part of the Resource Roundup close May 10, 2014. Apply NOW

Shift by Alberta Innovates focuses on the people, businesses and organizations that are contributing to Alberta's strong tech ecosystem.

Show Notes Transcript

Get ready to discover a revolutionary approach to entrepreneurship in Alberta with our guest, Dr. Tonya Wolfe of Red Deer Polytechnic. In this thrilling conversation, we dive into the Resource Roundup, an innovative event at Inventures 2024 that's flipping the script on networking and support for startups.

Imagine an environment where entrepreneurs aren't just chasing dollars but rather, forming powerful connections with a community eager to propel their growth with a diverse range of services. Dr. Wolfe gives us an insider's look at how this platform is designed to streamline the way companies present their needs and challenges, ensuring they leave with more than just potential - they leave with a plan.

The buzz around Inventures 2024 is palpable as we discuss the nitty-gritty of Resource Roundup's unique three-slide presentation structure with Dr. Wolfe. In a space fit for 20-24 vibrant companies, entrepreneurs will master the art of precise communication, laying out their roadblocks and resource needs to an audience ready to lend their expertise.

This moderated event not only keeps the energy high but also guarantees that every participant leaves with concrete leads and solutions. It's a session that exemplifies the supportive innovation ecosystem Alberta is nurturing, leaving listeners eager to witness the synergies that will unfold.

Join us and be part of the movement changing the face of entrepreneurship one connection at a time.

Applications to be part of the Resource Roundup close May 10, 2014. Apply NOW

Shift by Alberta Innovates focuses on the people, businesses and organizations that are contributing to Alberta's strong tech ecosystem.

Speaker 1:

We creep closer and closer and closer to May 29th, the first day of InVentures 2024, and I'm pretty excited. There's a lot of really cool things going on, and my next guest, Dr Tonya Wolf from Red Deer Polytechnic, and I are going to be speaking about an activation that they have coming up that I think is going to be beneficial for Alberta entrepreneurs.

Speaker 2:

Sit back, settle in Welcome to Shift.

Speaker 1:

I'm very, very excited about this activation that you and your colleagues at Red Deer Polytechnic have cooked up for InVentures this year, called the Resource Roundup. Why don't you describe to me where the idea came from, or maybe first what it is and then where the idea came from?

Speaker 2:

Absolutely. Thanks a lot. So one piece we noted is how to make these events more accessible to entrepreneurs. And all entrepreneurs are looking to seek capital, but capital might not only be the only thing that they're looking for. They are looking for connections and where they can utilize the rest of the community to support their growth.

Speaker 2:

And what we wanted to have is an accessible way where, instead of standing in front of a big room and it being very intimidating and only a small selection of entrepreneurs to be able to showcase their technology and their company, is to have something a little bit more accessible.

Speaker 2:

So, unlike a traditional pitch where the startup is up there seeking capital, this event will see entrepreneurs presenting their companies and outlining the specific support they need to propel their ventures forward.

Speaker 2:

And in this piece here it's kind of like a quick format here, but the companies are encouraged to come up and present their company in a quick format way. Encouraged to come up and present their company in a quick format way, and we're emphasizing not on the financial backing component, but the array of services that can catalyze the growth Services such as marketing, engineering, research, product development and in the room we'll have all of those people that contribute, so the whole community is there supporting this entrepreneur and the entrepreneur will say what their problem is, what's holding them back, and, through a digital format, the room will collectively say these are these components that they can help with and that all be housed digitally the room and all the supports they can access to help them move forward. So a little bit different, a little bit more interactive, to be able to make those connections that we so want to happen at InVentures and through the innovation ecosystem in Alberta.

Speaker 1:

For sure. So it's like concentrated networking almost, in a way. You know where you can go in and through it. This is my challenge. And then have all of these people go. Yeah, I can help with that.

Speaker 2:

Or they know somebody that can as well, and instead of having to tell your story over and over again, maybe to multiple different people, everybody's there all at once and then they get that list of directly to them to be able to connect and move forward with.

Speaker 1:

But now, that said, while they're in the resource roundup participating and giving their pitch about their company, they should still have their pitch ready to deploy many other times throughout provide opportunity for as many entrepreneurs as possible. So we're looking at a three slide format.

Speaker 2:

So the first one will really be about you, the second one will be about what's holding you back, and the third one will probably be about what you're looking for to move forward. So very condensed, which is that's a very different format than than a traditional pitch in your five or six slides right.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so, yeah, okay, so condensed, they get up there, figure out who can help them, and then those conversations can continue after this. Now, absolutely so. So it this sounds, it sounds fantastic. It sounds like a really amazing and unique opportunity for companies. But now there's only limited space. I think you said there's room for, I think, 20. Is that how many we're going to try to?

Speaker 2:

Yes, we are looking between that 20 and 24 type of company number of companies to be able to participate in this piece. It will be moderated and when you're looking at that kind of three slide moment, then we really need to make sure that we move people through and we understand that it's quite there's a lot of brevity into these presentations but we're really hoping that we can get that crucial information that's conveyed but keeping the audience really engaged and facilitating that transition between participants so that we get opportunities for as many people as possible to be able to move through that. But yes, saying that we think that there's only opportunity for up to 24 people to have the opportunity to be able to do this work.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so then we're not expecting a lineup of people in the first 24 to get in. There's an application process, right?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, and that application process should be through all the socials. I believe it's on the InVentures website.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, it should be now. Okay, but I'm also going to put the link on our webpage for the podcast, so people will have that, and the closing date is May 10th, right? So there's a bit of a time crunch here, folks.

Speaker 2:

Yes, there is, and it's a really simple form to fill out, so it's very different that you don't have to submit all of your background financial information. It's really on what you are, what the problems are you're looking to solve, and then we'll review all through those and get back to those 24 selected people, making sure that they are aligning with the context of this work here and then submit the three slides back to us before the deadline. We'll make sure that we're all ready to go so that we have all the information we can move smoothly through. So we'll be in touch directly with the selected people. We will let everybody know who applied, whether they were successful or not.

Speaker 1:

Okay, and people need to be registered for InVentures to participate in this activity as well.

Speaker 2:

Indeed, they do, yep, and we'll work with each entrepreneur to make sure that it's accessible for them to attend.

Speaker 1:

Okay. Now, if I'm an entrepreneur with an idea, am I the audience you're trying to attract, or are we looking for companies that are maybe a little more advanced in the ideation phase?

Speaker 2:

However, you may have a higher success rate if you're not just looking for an idea and market traction, that you're actually looking to connect with different service providers to move you along. So we're not just open to early stage entrepreneurs, but certainly to small businesses that are really looking to diversify or look for connections of different types of technology or resources as well. No-transcript.

Speaker 1:

Now, when we think about the people that are going to be in the audience, we've got the entrepreneurs. You've just described what that audience will look like of the 20 or 24 successful participants. What are the service providers? What do they look like?

Speaker 2:

So a service provider would look like anybody that can offer a solution. So it could be post-secondary, it could be a research component, it could be a consultant, it could be a funding agency, it could be a not-for-profit, but if you're somebody that wants to provide solutions to another company, so any kind of B2B activity, then this is the place for you and for you to support this work. So we're really fostering a community-driven approach to entrepreneurship that values expertise, mentorship and the collective power of diverse skill sets. So just it's for anybody that thinks that they can provide a solution to an entrepreneur and in that kind of engineering and business services.

Speaker 1:

Okay. So now let's say we've got a listener that identifies as a potential problem solver, how would they get involved?

Speaker 2:

So register for adventures and note when this event is going to happen. That'll be on the website as well, so please come to that. When you come in, there'll be a QR code that'll link you to a digital form that'll ask your name and your business and your contact information, and then, as each entrepreneur comes up, if you can provide some sort of support or connection, you fill that information in digitally and submit it, and all of that contact information and support will be delivered to the client. So there will be. You don't have to download an app, but there will be delivered to the client. So there will be. You don't have to download an app, but there will be some sort of data collection opportunity through your phone that you can access and provide information that will collect and transfer over to the partner themselves.

Speaker 1:

Wonderful. Now we should note that this is a pilot project. This is something that you're launching this year through InVentures, and I remember you and I talking about this space. You know when people come in, and you were saying that quite often. You know some people can come into an event like InVentures, which is thousands of people in their wide eye. They don't necessarily know where to go, where to start, so maybe just flesh that story a little bit more, if you remember it.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, no, absolutely I do.

Speaker 2:

And this is a really important piece to me is InVentures is a really great opportunity as an entrepreneur, as a service provider, as a community member to really connect and a venture capital to be able to connect with the whole industry.

Speaker 2:

But it is in the TELUS Convention Centre and there are a lot of people around and when you're just starting out you may feel some boundaries in terms of being able to connect with the right people and get your company business word out there. So we really wanted to provide a more accessible manner, especially not for those people that are not selected for the big, big pitch piece in front of everybody, but to have a more dynamic networking opportunity and changing it from a one way presentation to an interactive community component where we are developing that community basis and working with each other. So it's a lot more accessible and provides those connections to really support our entrepreneurs and our small companies, to connect further with who. Who are the people that can be supporting, because people just don't know and it's and it and it can feel really overwhelming in these big environments of who am I talking to and am I getting anywhere with any of this and am I? Who am I meeting up with? So?

Speaker 2:

it's really supporting that community driven driven approach.

Speaker 1:

And it's really. It's crowdsourcing. You know, it's uh, I there was always this massive move for crowdsourcing, like 10 or 15 years ago, and now this is this is it in a nutshell, and I love the idea. I think it's brilliant and you've always been such a big advocate of the entrepreneurial ecosystem and helping people understand where they can go, what they can do and the supports that they can receive. And you'll also be on site not only running the activation, but you're participating on some panels as well. Why don't?

Speaker 2:

you tell me a little bit.

Speaker 1:

Which panels are you working on?

Speaker 2:

I'll be involved.

Speaker 2:

No, that's great. No, I'll be involved, working with my colleagues, with the other Alberta Polytechnics, talking really about the type of work we do to support applied research, scale up and commercialization of technology-based businesses in the province and our connection in the work that we do. And this all comes down to the whole innovation ecosystem and the value of our universities, our colleges, our polytechnics and other institutes and how we develop again that whole trend, I'm going to say the ecosystem, to be able to support development of our businesses. So what is the impact that we have as Alberta Polytechnics and how can Alberta and other companies really take advantage of the services and expertise that are in that area, again in a community-driven approach? Right, yeah, yeah no kidding.

Speaker 1:

And if I can add to that is also the networking and the relationships that you guys have outside of the province, whether it's federally with, like the, you know, tech access canada or some of the other organizations.

Speaker 2:

So it's I I think it's a really great opportunity for people to step in and um and and learn and and get some support we also have our our booth, which uh showcase our center for innovation and manufacturing, as well as the other technology access centers in Alberta and how we connect together and the unique services we can provide to support entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized businesses with the technology that are accessible booth to showcase its own applied research and how businesses can utilize those resources to help them answer key questions to move their businesses forward, both from a technical and a social aspect.

Speaker 1:

Right on. So folks you heard it here first come down to InVentures, meet Tonya Wolfe and check out the RDP, the Red Deer Polytechnic booth, check out the Resource Roundup activity that's going on and there'll be more details on social, we've been putting it out on the InVentures and the Alberta Innovates socials as well as Red Deer Polytechnic, social Resource Roundup, and learn more Tonya. Thank you very much for your time. I appreciate it.

Speaker 2:

Thanks, john, and we'll see you there for your time.

Speaker 1:

I appreciate it. Thanks, john, and we'll see you there. Shift can be found online at shiftalbertainnovatesca, where you can reach us via email at shift at albertainnovatesca. We can also be found on your favorite streaming service, so dive in and enjoy. Until next time, I'm John.