Buying local is hot. It is being mentioned by scholars and influencers as a way to reduce our toll on the environment. It also means buying goods and food produced and grown by local companies. When you buy local, you support your community. Your money goes towards quality and freshness as opposed to packaging, refrigeration, freight, fuel, etc. It’s healthy, good for the environment and the local economy.
There must be a way to apply these same principles to our local startup community
I had an interesting call last week with Martin-Luc Archambault, co-founder of incubator Bolidea. Martin-Luc was telling me about how he had heard that Techstars, the very successful and expanding accelerator co-founded out of Boulder, Colorado by Brad Feld of the Foundry Group and David Cohen was inciting its applicants and graduates to use products and services offered by other Techstars companies whenever possible. He pointed to Sendgrid, an email delivery platform and Techstars graduate as an example of that. Martin-Luc’s point was that we have a growing startup community in Montreal with great startups building world class products, and we need to do a better job at supporting them. He has since switched to Cakemail for email delivery, a local company, which he claims has the best product out there.
I try to meet all the local entrepreneurs I can, listen to their story, and try to give something they can take home with them: free advice (beware as you get what you pay for!), introductions to partners, customers, investors, ideas, suggestion, etc. I do it for many reasons. I absolutely love it. Entrepreneurs are some of the most interesting people you’ll ever meet and I learn a great deal from these encounters. I also think it’s part of my job. In some ways, I consider it my duty to give back as much as I can and help the ecosystem. The more successful companies we have in our community, the more successful we will all be. Success breeds success.
But I can do more. We can all do much more. There is no reason why our local community, which is growing fast and is about to get a major influx of capital, cannot do a better job supporting its own. That being said, we live in a global marketplace and I’m not suggesting we should stop doing business with the rest of the world, or start supporting local companies that aren’t competitive, to the contrary. Supporting the local community means offering your time to beta test the product of your neighbor. It means testing and buying local when quality of product and service is equivalent or better. It means giving a local startup an opportunity to pitch their product to you. It means listening and providing constructing feedback to local companies when their products or services aren’t good enough. If we help each other out, we will collectively raise our game.
I believe the first step is to build a comprehensive list of companies in our web, mobile, digital media, software/saas, hosting/cloud, advertising and gaming industries.
I’m asking every CEO to fill out the form. Some of the information from the form will be available to the public on the page.
I don’t think we should limit the term local to Montreal. I’m suggesting we expand it to incorporate all of Quebec and include Ottawa as well. As long as you’re a Canadian company, we’ll take you.
I’ve also created this facebook group names Local Startup Community Support open for the public for anyone who has an interest in supporting the local startup community. Maybe one day this group can be used to recruit beta testers, etc.
As we build the list, it will be easier to identify what is available from our local community and how we can help. It would be great to get your support on this initiative. I’m also open to suggestions on how to make this initiative a success. Please retweet and share with the local entrepreneurs you know. Together we can succeed.