“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” ― Socrates
Three years and 8 months ago I was given the privilege to join Propel ICT as its Executive Director. While it was my intent at the time to “change the conversation” about startups in the region and to expand outside of New Brunswick, never in my wildest imagination could I have scripted what we’ve been able to accomplish during that time.
I remember our 2011 Annual General Meeting which was held at LaTeraz in Moncton, NB. There was a certain air of optimism, energy and intrigue about what we had in store. It was at this event that we announced plans for a new accelerator program called Launch36. The goal of this program would be to help mentor 36 new tech based startups over a 36 month period. The program would begin by focusing on New Brunswick with eventual expansion to other markets based on the demand for our service. Feedback was mixed, but we felt determined and focused on the task before us.
Just a few weeks later we sent out a call for applications. We were overwhelmed by the response we received and regional expansion plans were accelerated with 2 companies from Nova Scotia being accepted into our inaugural cohort.
In 31 months, we’ve helped launch 32 new high growth enterprises in the region. These companies have raised close to $12M from venture capital firms and angel investors, created close to 200 new full time jobs and have generated a $19 return for every $1 invested by taxpayers. Needless to say I am damn proud of everyone involved with us over the last 3 years as each of you help me achieve what many thought was impossible.
With the Launch36 campaign coming to its conclusion this fall Propel must move forward that is why as of Thursday we will be making organizational changes to meet the objectives of our new 5-year expansion plan called "Propel 2.0".
This is an exciting time for Propel and our stakeholders as regional expansion is fully underway. As we expand our team, many of you have reached out to me to inquire of my future intentions. I want to first thank you for your concerns but just like many of our entrepreneurial founders the time has come for me to decide what role I wish to play, if any, in the evolution of Propel.
As of Thursday’s AGM, I will transition into the role of VP of Business Development for Propel. I am excited by the challenges this new role will give me. It will enable me to focus on what I love doing the most helping curate the entrepreneurial community, build a more diverse and international mentor network and work with our community partners to make sure we continue to deliver the quality accelerator services that the community has become accustomed to in recent years.
In the coming weeks Propel will add a new CEO who I will be working with closely to make sure we meet our new 5-year objectives. This individual will have my complete support as we meet our goal to launch Atlantic Canada’s first billion dollar tech company!