December 23, 2020
It has been quite a year! Many take this time of year to reflect, and given the year it has been, we wanted to focus on some meaningful moments. Many of you have shared in these moments, and we’re grateful that you were!
- We celebrated two years of moving to 100% virtual accelerator
We launched the virtual accelerator model in September 2018 with the objective to work with founders regardless of where they were - from Yarmouth to Dieppe and Sydney to St. John’s to Charlottetown we worked with founders wherever they needed to be to work remotely, or to meet with customers, employees, investors. Little did we know how vital it would be two years later, operating virtually in order to deepen collaboration with the BAIs and the broader Startup ecosystem, and continue the meaningful work with founders to validate and grow their ventures.
- Our team clocked 6,938 hours on zoom
We were using zoom for our Coaching calls, and this year, of course, we saw a huge uptake. The hours spent on zoom this year involved 2,043 meetings, 8,370 participants and 416,276 minutes! There was a strong sense of community - we were all in this together, working from home while hosting lunch & learn events with our cohort companies, or providing training and fireside chats with the BAIs, on Positioning with April Dunford, and on training the pillars of Coaching methodology. Thank you for taking an active part of it!
- Our summer showdown challenge had over 5,774 votes cast
We launched the summer showdown this year in order to encourage more entrepreneurs to take the change. We had an overwhelming response, with startup ideas covering a broad range of verticals - aquaculture, social impact, mining and retail. It was fantastic to see the diversity of the entrepreneurs, with newcomers to Atlantic Canada, women founders and minority represented groups. Congratulations to all those who took part, for taking the leap. We had 8 finalists in order to identify the winner from 5,774 unique votes cast through social media.
Kathryn Lockhart joined our team as CEO in September, unlocking the next stage of Propel’s future. We were fortunate to have Barry Bisson as outgoing CEO who enabled a smooth transition for the team, and who continues to be involved. Kathryn quickly began rallying the team and taking action, leveraging her previous tech and business experience into crafting her vision for the region - creating more Baby Unicorns.
Part of our move to a virtual model in 2018 included our partnership with Ash Maurya, founder of Leanstack. We use the leanstack methodology with founders who are seeking problem/solution fit. It helps founders not only validate their idea, but also helps them develop the discipline of experimentation using the scientific method - build, measure, learn. To build on this foundation, we partnered with GrowthX in 2019 to help founders develop the structure and rigor of market development and find a repeatable sales process. Our coaches are trained in applying this methodology with founders, and we are looking forward to a continued partnership in 2021.
- Moving to a continuous intake model
In our continuously evolving programming, we took another step in leveraging the power of delivering a virtual program. We shifted to a continuous intake approach, accepting applications on an ongoing basis, and starting work with a new group of startups monthly. As with everything new, there was a learning curve and change in operations to implement this shift. Now we can help founders not only where they are, but also when they need the support.
- We had some amazing speakers
We were very fortunate to host regular fireside chats for our cohort companies including Marcel Lebrun, Mark Roberge, Eva Lau, Michele Romanow and April Dunford, to name a few. Thank you to all the mentors and speakers who took the time to share their perspective, expertise and personal stories with the founders.
- Our Startup Coaches logged 1,153 hours of coaching with founders
Coaching is a pillar of our approach to working with founders. It is a key part in helping founders make meaningful and measurable progress, by holding them accountable to reach their objectives, helping them focus on activities that enable continuous learning. The dedicated time we spent coaching founders from problem/solution fit to market development was 1,153 hours. We’re excited to continue into 2021!
What were your most meaningful moments of 2020?