Growing our Community of Entrepreneurs
This weekend’s Fort McMurray Fall Tradeshow and Market will feature five local businesses taking part in Startup YMM’s Industry Connection Pilot Program. Startup YMM, operated by Fort McMurray Wood Buffalo Economic Development & Tourism (FMWBEDT), launched the four-part industry program this fall, with segments focused on oil sands, retail, tourism, and technology.
“Supporting local entrepreneurs to scale-up and grow in a number of areas is at the heart of what Startup YMM is all about,” says Kevin Weidlich, President & CEO, FMWBEDT. “Entrepreneurs are the driving force behind a vibrant local businesses community—an investment in their success is an investment in the health of our local economy.”
The program offers local entrepreneurs mentoring, training, and access to opportunities that will help them achieve success in the marketplace. One of those opportunities includes sponsoring and preparing Startup YMM’s retail businesses, Prestige Foods, Fort McMurray Buttons, Nesting Den, Borealis Microgreens, and Pena Engineering to showcase their products at the tradeshow and market.
“As local entrepreneurs, we have a clear picture for how our products and services can meet the needs of our residents,” says Victor Pena, Prestige Foods. “What can often hold us back from launching or growing, is building in the time to work on the business, not just in the business. This program is excellent because it brings together all of the essentials that can be used every day.”
Earlier this month, five Startup YMM’s oil sand businesses took part in the Oil Sands Conference and Tradeshow, which has historically drawn-in more than 3,000 attendees from across the country. Prior to the Industry Connection program, these entrepreneurs may have been reluctant to participate because of barriers such as cost, preparation time, and marketing capacity. Through the program, entrepreneurs gain transferable skills they can apply in a number of business development settings such as tradeshows, negotiations, and partner development meetings.
“We got more than ten leads through Startup YMM’s Industry Connection Program and are working on negotiating a few contract agreements,” said Mukul Hossain, CEO of Ciptor IT-Safe Canada. “We were also able develop a partnership agreement with a local Indigenous community, which would not have been possible without the education we received through this program.”
225 Startup YMM members were invited to apply for a spot in the program. Each industry segment will sponsor five local entrepreneurs to take part in training, tradeshow readiness, and support introductions for investment opportunities or partnership creations. More information about the participants in the remaining Industry Connection segments (tourism, technology) will be announced at a later time.
To learn more about Startup YMM programs, visit Our Programs — Startup YMM.