Long before starting TheCodeFactory I had blogged extensively about the challenges and opportunities facing the Ottawa Tech community. Topics covered everything from funding to entrepreneurial support systems.  One of my favourite posts and IMHO one worth revisiting is called; The Entrepreneurial Hockey Analogy written on April 3rd, 2007 (roughly the same time as TheCodeFactory aha moment). Considering the post was written 4 years ago many of the concepts and principles are still valid. Looking back at the post with the accumulation of knowledge having worked in close proximately with start-ups for four years it is time for an update.

It takes a village to raise a start-up and the goal of collaborative economic development should be to promote the advancement of all participants to their maximum capability. This will produce maximum economic benefit to the region.

Hierarchy principles;

  • Everyone that wants to participate should be given the opportunity
  • Team advancement to the next level should be based on merit
  • Healthy competition will benefit stakeholders at all levels of play
  • Support mechanisms should be appropriate to the level of play

The top most level of play is labelled “Super Elite” and the equivalent of the NHL in North America. In the entire continent there are only 32 teams of roughly 32 players each for a grand total of 1,024 players in a population of 360,000,000 … companies that can compete at this calibre of play are exceptional. There are maybe one or two growing start-ups founded in the past 7 years at this level in Ottawa today.

The goal of a healthy and functional ecosystem should be to incubate and accelerate the growth of start-ups through the various stages as quickly as possible. The type of support needed by a start-up in the super elite league with Series A funding is totally different than the company of two founders with an idea that just incorporated last week.

Building a healthy ecosystem means incubating start-ups in the formative years, accelerating growth once the business model is scalable and then connecting the start-ups with the appropriate resources to continue to scale and grow even faster. To get a single team to super elite probably takes close to a decade … to get multiple teams to that level require a truly collaborative network of support services based on the open source principles of; open, transparent and meritous.

-Ian Graham