After another successful #MashupWeekend in the books, it’s time to reflect on the thrilling experience that was felt in the room in Pictou. Plenty of ideas were shared, market research done and those little light bulbs on the top of people’s head, definitely had some spark!
With an ear-to-the-ground approach of recruitment for our Mashup Weekend, we were happy to connect with the Coordinator of the NSCC Enactus team and we welcomed many members of the team to our Mashup Weekend, among many others. Happily, we had plenty of folks in and out of the room to hear the ideas that were being worked on and this only leads to ideas becoming stronger and more concise. We also welcomed local MP of the Pictou area Sean Fraser into the space.
From this, ideas that were shared were both innovative and unique. While, numerous business ideas were pitched, an altruistic theme was shared amongst all in the room so; many of the ideas came to be structured around mental health issues. Ideas were approached differently but ultimately, they were centred on supporting those with mental health issues and the families of those affected by it.
For some of the prospective entrepreneurs in the room this may be their first time ever pitching an idea so, the idea of it could be terrifying. That’s what we love about #MashupWeekend, having a supportive team around you gives you the courage to share something you typically wouldn’t, and it allows you to feel confident about what it is that your sharing!
For someone to share an idea for a mental health centre is not something that would be ordinarily spoken about. However, with a supportive and encouraging environment created, the team feels the courage to reach out to numerous healthcare professionals over the course of the weekend to see if they believe the same things they did!
While, for another it’s the confidence boost they felt to share an idea for a clothing brand they had mulling in their head for many years. Sharing this at #MashupWeekend made it all the more easier to take an idea they’ve been stewing on for a while and build a team to actually see the vision be put into action. With this confidence boost, they begin to see actual validation for their idea. This made it even easier to approach friends or family and tell them about the exciting idea they’re ready to share and ask if they’d be interested to support as well.
This exciting energy that is shared at our #MashupWeekend is electric for all who come into the space. It’s scary for many to enter a space without knowing anyone to share an idea or critique another’s. However, once you get into the room and see supportive faces around you, those people who may initially cause you a bit of fear, will probably be your support network by the end of it.
Check this video out below to hear what Andrew thinks about the type of feeling you get when you enter a space like #MashupWeekend and the sort of opportunities that come of it:
After another successful #MashupWeekend in the books, it’s time to reflect on the thrilling experience that was felt in the room. Plenty of ideas were shared, market research done and those little light bulbs on the top of people’s head, definitely had some spark!
So, we’d love to share with you how our #MashupWeekend runs and why people in the room feel so inspired and eager to work together with people they never met before, on business ideas completely new to the majority of them!
After pleasantries and ambiguous small talk that always comes up when people that aren’t too familiar meet each other for the first time we dive right in to the meat of the weekend.
To start, you share three words or things that inspire you and put it on the inspiration board. This reflective exercise allows people to share what it is that they work for. Whether it is freedom, learning, travel, music, art or even family. With this, people quickly get put on teams and pick three pieces of inspiration from the abundant list of buzzwords to develop a quick business idea from the words selected! This is fun way to introduce people to the focus of the weekend and keep them on their toes!
Once the creative juices are given a quick shock from that, the real business ideas for the weekend are shared! Past #MashupWeekend business idea topics have ranged oceantech, mental health support and even, energy efficiency!
After being placed on teams and hashing out some details, it’s time to actually lay out the groundwork with a Business Model Canvas; a tool that helps you focus on the specifics of the business. You map out your value proposition, to customer segments and the relationship they can expect from your business and any sort of key partnerships, activities or resources your proposed business would need to thrive.
At #MashupWeekend it’s interesting to see how folks interpret this tool and watch how it can be used to either, divide the work and have each aspect delegated based on peoples’ strengths or, tackle each individual piece head-on as a group.
After working on the Canvas for a few hours we call it a night! However, this overnight period is typically when the most work is done as ideas are mulled over in the back of people’s heads! So, when we start back up in the morning over breakfast, the chatter in the room is electric as fresh new perspectives are shared!
A few cups of coffee and a team-brainstorm first thing in the morning and people are excited to get working at their ideas again and really trying to get their business ideas into action!
After the Business Canvas is hashed out and made more concise to ensure the business can flourish, it’s time to put those assumptions to the test!
So, teams do all that they can to engage potential customers/clients or industry experts. Whether it be Googling as much information as possible, phoning up folks from their network, or even hitting the streets and trying to get some questions answered from the general public. The point being, whatever you may think works easily as a business model or potential product, the fact of the matter is you need to have someone eventually make a purchase in order for your business to thrive.
With as much market research that can be done to ensure your business is as sound you believe it is, it’s time to present what it is you and your team was working on over the weekend! We bring in a panel of judges that are either business leaders or experts in the area to offer feedback and advice that is grounded in their own entrepreneurial experience. As folks ignore the nerves and present their kick-ass business ideas, the inspiration of the weekend comes to a full peak as you get to watch what great ideas can come from just one weekend!
After hearing about what happens at our #MashupWeekend we hope that you’ll take the plunge and #GetInTheRoom! We know once you do you’ll feel the inspiration that happens when folks share ideas and work together on some really interesting and innovative ideas.
Hear about what Andrew has to say about the magic that happens during our Mashup Weekends and what its like when that entrepreneurial spirit is felt!
With applications pouring in for our next Cape Breton #DreamBusiness Program (we’re still accepting applications now!) we’d love to share with you some of the stories that happen after the program ends. While the program may end for these budding entrepreneurs, the work only starts there!
Here at Mashup Lab we're thrilled to help support folks coming out of our most recent Mainland Nova Scotia #DreamBusiness cohort and create communities around our entrepreneurs! Tara Jaskowiak just finished pitch-night and is now working on one of her great business ideas!
Maker Day is happening on Sunday, October 21st, makers and crafters should head on over to LaHave Bakery’s Upstairs Gallery Space and take part in an awesome event that has all the services you need to make your business work, all in one place!
Tara entered the #DreamBusiness program because she values genuine connections and that beautiful feeling you have when you get stuff done. She loves connecting with small business owners to help them move forward in their work... be it via 1-on-1 planning sessions or during Work+Retreat Days customized to different industry sectors. She entered the #DreamBusiness program to build a business around this.
With this, Tara is hosting a business-minded event to offer support to creative entrepreneurs all across the province. Offering up services such as E-commerce coaching, bookkeeping and visual branding to best-style products, Maker Day is for creatives to connect and work at those little nuanced details that take great makers and turn them into great sellers.
Not only will there be services on offer to ensure your product looks and sells its best, there’s also folks supporting you with your personal branding as well as self-care so that the stresses of being an entrepreneur aren’t so harsh. Have your headshots taken professionally with Callen Singer and, Nicole Lynds will be right there making sure you look and feel your best for those headshots.
Then, shape up that ever-elusive bio with Margaret Hoegg of Locavore Creative who, will be helping you write the most challenging piece of content (who’s also from our #DreamBusiness cohort) and plan your strategy for ecommerce with Janna Graham of Whisper Wind Gallery (another #DreamBusiness alumni!). Tara will be there to help map out some goals to help your vision for both you & your business.
Be sure to balance the day with some self-care time and putter on over to get yourself a mini-massage with local RMT, Nadia Gemeinhardt and create a customized product like a yoga mat spray, bath soak or room spray with Melissa from Mighty Oak Essentials (again, another #DreamBusiness grad!) to help with your self-care routine that you can take home with you. At lunch, head down the stairs of the LaHave and grab a bite to eat, sponsored by South Shore Opportunities.
It’s wonderful to see the #DreamBusiness community collaborating on each other’s projects even after the program is wrapping up for them! As friends for a number of years, Tara & Margaret took their business ideas together through the program and have since continued meeting Thursday evenings to keep Dream Business’ accountability period going, having them both focus on their business goals!
If the Dream Business program sounds like something you’d be interested in, we’re still accepting applications for our Cape Breton cohort happening October 24th. Please, fill out an application on our website here:
If you’d like to attend Maker Day 2018and take advantage of the sweet $150 Early Bird Deal, you should register before Sunday September 30th!
To register and/or find out more, go to the website or check out the Facebook event page, both attached below!
Nova Scotia has been a transformative sight for clean growth, innovation and infrastructure. Developing plans to support inclusive economic growth by reducing barriers for entrepreneurs starting new businesses, cutting inter-provincial trade barriers and formalizing Develop Nova Scotia’s role.
Mashup Labs has been recognized in the Speech from the Throne delivered by the Honourable Lieutenant Governor of NS Arthur J. LeBlanc for the growth of its Dream Business program to be delivered province-wide. Also, as a significant incubation contributor to the overall growth in all areas of the province:
“Our startup community is thriving. There are nearly 500 startups and high-growth companies in the Atlantic provinces, most of which are based in Nova Scotia. The tech sector has become a significant employer in our region, with about 6,400 people working in this area and employment growing at an estimated seven per cent per year.
Starting this fall, Mashup Lab’s “Dream” program for budding entrepreneurs will be available across Cape Breton as well as mainland Nova Scotia, in cooperation with Nova Scotia Community College and the Cape Breton Partnership. It’s a six-week program supporting rural entrepreneurs working at the idea stage.
Incubators are driving growth across all regions of this province. COVE, the Centre for Oceans Ventures and Entrepreneurship, on the Dartmouth waterfront, will soon be home to 40 ocean technology companies.”
As the Dream Business Program empowers those who are entrepreneurially & creatively spirited, it enables new industries and businesses to start their roots from any area in the province. From this, we hope that it’ll only keep growing with the new businesses and ideas that are being shared from people all across our beautiful province.
With this in mind, Mashup Labs was created as a chance to catalyze the growth that happens when those entrepreneurially minded are rurally based. The idea is: in rural Nova Scotia, any sort of new business or venture, is a positive business or venture for the rural community.
Which, is why the business is structured to incubate entrepreneurs who have ideas to take a hobby or a craft and turn it into a viable business. Mashup Labs takes those who may not have revenue yet, may not have any sort of a business plan or even any sort of scope of what the business would look like. Mashup Lab’s Dream Business Program takes ten people and their new business ideas through all the stages of turning their business dreams into a reality. What’s most important is: that they have an idea or a goal, and they want to work to achieve it.
As more and more people get excited about the entrepreneurial buzz in Nova Scotia we hope that they see the value that Mashup Labs provides as a supportive platform to allow those early entrepreneurs to share their idea and take the plunge to start something on their own.
It can easily be recognized that rural communities are the ones who can benefit from any sort of entrepreneurialism most. Traditionally, these are communities that typically comprise of fisheries and tourism based economies. With the rise of the movement to buy and support local, it has introduced a wealth of new entrepreneurs to Nova Scotia. Ultimately, providing an entrepreneurial buzz in rural Nova Scotia that was seldom felt before.
With these formative years that Nova Scotia is facing, it is great to see a positive entrepreneurial spirit happening in rural Nova Scotia. It’s exciting to not only seeing the changes that happen in urban centres in Nova Scotia but to see the impact that the entrepreneurialism spirit will have in all regions of the province.
We hope to see the impact you could have on our beautiful province if you are interested in taking the Dream Business program and contributing to the budding entrepreneurialism that is taking our beautiful province by storm. Please contact us if you have any questions or would like anymore information on what Mashup Lab can do to help you take your business from the idea that you have, to the impact that could come of it.
If you would like to read the Speech from the Throne delivered by the Honourable Lieutenant General Arthur J. LeBlanc in its entirety click this link:
It is so easy to say 'no'. What might be possible if we had the courage to say 'Yes!'? Guest blogger, Erin Elaine Casey, shares a few thoughts that might inspire you to think of an idea to bring to Mashup Weekend . Do yourself a favour - say 'Yes' and register right now. Enjoy!
The courage to say 'Yes!'
By Erin Elaine Casey - Writer. Editor. Writing coach.
This morning, I found myself explaining Mashup Weekend to a friend. A bunch of interesting people with different strengths, viewpoints, and skills all show up on Friday night and work in teams on amazing business ideas over the weekend, where they get praised, prized, and go home for a really long nap.
She thought it was cool, but her first comment was, “I don’t know… You’d have to have a really good idea, right?”
“You can have a half-baked or even quarter-baked idea,” I said.
“The whole point is that it’s an IDEA. Not a business plan. Not a strategic direction. Spreadsheets are not required. You don’t need a folder full of market research. The other people there are going to help you figure all that stuff out.”
Two years ago I did the most audacious thing I've ever done in my life: run three Mashup Weekends simultaneously on the same weekend in three rural communities in Southwest Nova Scotia. Many said I was crazy (and they were probably right - a little) but I pulled it off and it was one of the biggest successes of the year. Luckily I was able to find some rock-stars to help me bring Mashup Weekend to life, people like Erin. Erin Elaine Casey is an entrepreneur - oh, and she is also one of the most brilliant creative writers that I've ever met. In this guest blog post from 2014, Erin talks about Mashup Weekend and the 'Top Five Reasons' you need to register right now. Enjoy!
What is this 'Mashup Weekend' thing, anyways?
By Erin Elaine Casey - Writer. Editor. Writing coach.
I love my job. I’m a writer and editor. I believe that creating your own job is probably the most financially responsible thing you can do at this particular time in Nova Scotia history, so that’s what I did – I started my own company. Right now it’s just me, but I’m hopeful it’ll be more than just me someday. I sell my services anywhere and everywhere, I help out my fellow entrepreneurs, and I get to learn a whole bunch of different things every day.
Lucky for me, I’m part of the crack team promoting Mashup Weekend. I’m supposed to help you understand what the heck it is and why you’d want to do it. So here goes.
I was scrolling down my newsfeed on Facebook today and I saw this...
This post gave me goosebumps. This is exactly why I do what I do! Let me explain...
Photo credit: Gayle Wilson
We had another amazing Mashup Lab Lightning Talk with Meg Craig, the genius behind SkySail Brand! Here is a great piece from Gayle Wilson at LighthouseNow that captures some of the key messages from Meg regarding the true value of branding in your business. Click Here to link to the original story. Thanks Gayle!
The next cohort of the Mashup Lab SPARK! program starts on January 19th and I couldn't be more STOKED about the line-up of guest entrepreneurs that have committed to this cohort!
Here are just a few that have confirmed...
So, I'm pretty stoked! Right now I am on a bus with other Founders and startup enthusiasts on our way to Montreal for one of the largest startup events in the country: the International Startup Festival.
I've been trying to get to StarupFest for the past two years but things just didn't line up. I was thinking somehow incorporating this experience in to Mashup Lab incubation programming (some REALY exciting news to share on that front later this week ... stay tuned!!). But, I'm a bit of a control freak - and I like to 'practice what I preach’ - so I wanted to check this thing out for myself.
Working with over 1,000 Entrepreneurs starting and growing businesses from rural communities gives you perspective. Here is where I share the things I'm learning through my work with Mashup Lab. This is my Rural Perspective; I'd love to hear yours.