Our Startup programs are designed to help businesses who are ready to take their business to market through peer-to-peer engagements, one-on-one business coaching, and entrepreneurial training and resources with industry-expert mentors.
What makes our mentors so qualified? They’ve been there. They’ve lived through the challenges, thrived in success and learned from experience.
We recently caught up with one of our mentors, Ty Summach, to find out more about what makes him uniquely qualified.
The success of a business always ties back to the customer. Without them, there is no business. Whether it’s measuring things like the cost of customer acquisition or the strength of customer loyalty and retention, how well you understand your customer directly correlates to how successful the business venture will be. You have to have happy customers in order to generate sustainable growth. If you don’t listen to your customers, someone else will.
I’ve got a ton of empathy for the community I’m trying to serve—which is a soft skill that I believe translates into hard, tangible results like lasting bonds, greater insights and improved communication skills. It comes down to what I’ve personally experienced, whether it’s the entrepreneurial journey or being a part of a family that’s involved in grass-roots sports. I cannot think of a more necessary time for empathy than now, during a global pandemic. Teams deserve leadership who deeply understands what they are going through and have an awareness of their needs, what they’re feeling and thinking.
When you’re just starting out, especially in a big organization, there is a lot of pressure to stand out. Trying to do everything perfectly from the beginning was a big mistake. I realize now that you’ll never get it perfect the first time, but starting somewhere will force you into an iterative cycle of improvement. Making 1% improvements over time will consistently stack up. That’s how you showcase value.
Earlier in my career, I was lucky enough to work for the Walt Disney Company, an iconic brand where I was surrounded by exceptional leadership. I could focus on long term strategy and operate at scale. However, at the end of the day, I felt like a number in a system. To me it’s not enough to have a purpose, we need to serve one. When you’re in an organization where everything works, no matter what you do, it is a challenge to help foster change and improvement. For me, wanting to make a difference meant that I needed to start something on my own.
This pandemic has proven that we don’t need to live in high-density urban centres or be effective in the office every day. We’re at a tipping point for a whole generation of skilled knowledge workers and I believe places like the Okanagan will benefit significantly from that. These individuals will start to choose smaller tech hubs that offer affordability and an improved lifestyle. At Sportgo, we just brought on an ex-President of Microsoft as our Chief Operating Officer. The skill set companies are able to pull in and attract is really interesting. We’re only just starting to see a levelling of the playing field.
NO STRAIGHT LINES
As the saying goes, “If it’s both terrifying and amazing, then you should definitely pursue it.” That’s what I’ve found, stepping out on my own and into entrepreneurship. It is extremely difficult to move something from ideation to a sustainable business. If I’m working with the kind of founder that knows what they’re getting into and wants to put in that level of time of effort, I’ll put in more time and energy than what’s expected from the program because I know the road forward is not a straight line.
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