A Modest Entrepreneur Week Proposal

This year’s Entrepreneur Week in Waterloo was a blast (kudos to Communitech for running a great program), and coming out of it, a number of things struck me:

  • Too many of the events sold out
  • Many people missed the round-table sessions like the “chapter” events in the past
  • StartupCamp was absolutely packed

So from that, I propose we add a couple of things to entrepreneur week next year: a camp-a-night program, and/or a StartupWeekend to kick off the week. So here would be my ideal schedule of “unconference” events to run in parallel with all the speakers and sessions that we already have scheduled:

Friday-Sunday: StartupWeekend
Monday: FailCamp
Tuesday: Hall Of Fame Un-Gala (simulcast the event to a local bar/restaurant and enjoy some drinks)
Wednesday: StartupCamp
Thursday: ProductCamp

Yes, that ignores the final Friday, but I figure that by then, the organizers of the camps will simply want to sit with a good beer or glass of wine. If you’re interested helping run these events, let me know by posting a comment. Here’s why I’ve chosen the specific events above.

StartupWeekend: This event would address the “get one-on-one advice” element that I think was missing in this year’s program. In past years we had a giant round-table session that was similar to an open spaces camp event (however it was pre-scheduled). I’d like to get some of that back and run a weekend where some of the local startups could get some great feedback and some real help from local experts and enthusiasts.

FailCamp: I believe that learning from failure is a key part of being an entrepreneur. Celebrating great failures (and the lessons learned) is a very applicable event. That, and I think it would be great to get out some of the companies that have closed/failed/morphed to hear their stories too.

Hall of Fame Un-Gala: The gala for celebrating the Entrepreneur Hall of Fame inductees is a great event – this year it sold out. So, rather than simply running an event in-tandem to the gala next year, I’d rather let more people enjoy the successes of the inductees, the keynote adress, and perhaps a less formal venue where we can still joke and laugh if we don’t want to listen to the presentations 😉

StartupCamp: This year’s startup camp was awesome. Perhaps some of the startups from StartupWeekend would present?

ProductCamp: ProductCamp has a focus on software product marketing and product management. These two topics are very important to tech entrepreneurs (look at the success of Communitech’s 3 marketing and product management P2P groups). An event that focused on this would give new entrepreneurs a great push in the right direction.

Finally – the reason I’d love to have these events is that it would allow more people that can’t make it to day-time events to show up and participate.


VP HCM Products at NetSuite and Founder of TribeHR and Lewis Media. Waterloo Region Enthusiast and active volunteer.

One comment

  • Would love to help run some of the events for next year’s program.

    Also trying to wrap my head around the idea of an IdeaCamp type of event…


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