Winnipeg, Manitoba, May 25, 2018 – Entrepreneurship in Manitoba is thriving, and the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a new budding business may be closer than you think! After a decade of presenting new ideas, and seeing startup companies launch as a result along the way, North Forge is excited that its annual Ramp Up Weekend, now in its 11th year, is still going strong.
Over the June 1-3 weekend, teams will spend an intense 55 hours building a minimum viable product. Ideas are pitched on Friday evening; teams organically form around the best ideas and the magic begins. “It’s like the four hour work-week, with 51 extra hours,” says Nick Danzinger, CEO of Polar Grinders and North Forge Fabrication Lab member. The duration of the weekend is spent developing product prototypes, customer traction strategies, marketing plans and brand assets. Experienced mentors and advisors lend their expertise to accelerate the process and guide the teams.
At first glance, a 55-hour Ramp Up Weekend may appear overwhelming, but as Elaine Palson, Senior Technology Advisor, BDC explains, “it’s not about the startups that come out of the weekend, better yet, it’s about learning the process of starting a business and all the connections you make. It’s a rollercoaster ride to success!”
Prizes for the event are geared to help companies get off the ground quickly, while greatly reducing risk. Winners will compete for cash prizes and have a chance to have their prototype brought to life by a team of students at Red River College’s ACE Project Space. They’ll enjoy free legal, accounting and marketing services from top-shelf providers. “Winners will also receive access to North Forge’s proven startup program, expert mentorship and office space,” adds Jeff Ryzner, President of North Forge.
Past winners and participants of the event have gone on to raise millions of dollars of investment capital, are driving demand for high skill jobs here in Manitoba, and have been putting Winnipeg on the map as a technology startup destination in Canada.
“Ramp Up Weekend was a life changing experience for me. The skills I acquired over the weekend led to the successful launch of my current company that was formed over Ramp Up Weekend, Go Oil Canada! It’s an opportunity to realize and unlock your potential,” says Jonathon Sparrow, CEO, Go Oil Canada.
There’s opportunity to be a spectator at this event too! The final hours are wrapped up in a Dragon’s Den-style event open to the public. Be in the audience as teams pitch their best ideas to a panel of judges, including Forough Khadem, Business Development Specialist at Mitacs and WCIO and nominee of the CBC’s 40 under 40 youth leaders; Joelle Foster, Executive Director of the University of Calgary Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking and former Director of Futurpreneur here in Winnipeg; and Michael Legary, Chief Innovation Officer for the City of Winnipeg and Director of Innovation Alley.
Spectators are welcome Sunday, June 3 at the Metropolitan Entertainment Centre. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and pitches begin at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are free, but attendees must RSVP. Last year’s event attracted hundreds of attendees, so be sure to RSVP early!
Anyone interested in participating on a team or coming out to enjoy the Sunday Live Finals event can learn more at www.northforge.ca/rampup.