Startup Open House highlights Canada’s startup ecosystem and the importance of connecting

SOH showcases tech startups and connects them with a new crowd to spark new opportunities.

by Eva Bieniarz & Ryan Aceman

• Canadian tech is expanding globally and driving the doemstic economy

• Startup Open House (SOG) is growing bigger every year, featuring 600 startups and 10,000 participants across 7 Canadian cities in 2018

• For startups, SOH is a unique networking opportunity within their communities

Canada’s startup scene is gaining momentum, especially in the tech sector, which has blossomed into one of the country’s most significant socioeconomic industries. As a result, governments and businesses are starting to take notice by implementing policies that facilitate the continued development of Canadian tech. In 2017, the federal government’s budget included an Innovation and Skills Plan in an effort to solidify Canada as a country where world-class innovation is encouraged.
The Vancouver tech scene alone has seen significant growth, with more and more companies looking to set up offices there. Bench, Globalme, Vidyard, and WeWork are just a few examples of companies that are part of the flourishing ecosystem in the city. Startup Open House aims to be the bridge between these companies, students, entrepreneurs, and business professionals looking to connect in a friendly and welcoming atmosphere.
Launched in Montreal in 2013 by a group of local entrepreneurs, SOH has since grown to include six more Canadian cities including: Toronto, Vancouver, Quebec City, Ottawa, Calgary, and the Waterloo Region. Lisa Dimyadi, Project Lead for Startup Open House notes, “We wanted to build an event that provided accessibility to anybody to be able to go in and see what life in a startup is really like — this event is meant to connect people to companies and showcase Canada’s amazing businesses.”

Connecting Companies and People
Startup Open House helps people network with innovative businesses in their community. Both entrepreneurs and students — no matter what background, age, or experience level — have the rare opportunity to visit the offices of hundreds of startups. By doing so, Canadians have a chance to meet influential executives and founders at the C-level in tech hubs all across Canada.
Simultaneously, attendees can get a feel for the unique cultures of these distinct companies. In turn, local companies are able to host hundreds of people that wouldn’t normally be able to stop by. SOH is particularly important from an educational standpoint — Canadians are afforded a first-hand glimpse of the future business leaders that are helping drive the country’s economy — and bolster its reputation as a go-to locale for tech.

Canada’s Startup Scene
Canada’s startup landscape is robust and growing, as many companies with Canadian roots have achieved impressive global success. The nation’s own Innovation and Skills Plan not only promotes and nurtures innovation, it also works to help fund Canadians to prepare for the new work economy, where technology reigns. With more funding geared towards startups and talent, the potential for Canadians in tech is insurmountable. Forbes adds that Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal are growing as major hubs for startups. These cities are part of key financial markets and make for great home bases for the likes of Amazon, Microsoft, and more.
“People are taking note of the booming tech scene in Canada and are opening offices here because they see great talent,” says Dimyadi. However, it can be challenging to penetrate the sector without the requisite connections. “That’s where we come in.”
While Canada continues to blossom as an epicenter of global technology, Startup Open House is knocking down barriers for entry into the industry. “We want to help people make connections in a way that’s casual and fun — to show up at a participating company, getting to know more people, especially for those who are fresh out of school and do not yet know how or where to network.”
2018 Recap
Whether you are looking for a job, partnership, investment opportunity, or just a friendly chat, this event encapsulates all that and more. All you have to do is show up for one evening at the startups of your choice and walk into the offices of the most exciting companies in your city — it’s that simple.
This was another successful year for SOH, as the event had 633 participating companies across Canada — 70 per cent of these companies were also looking to hire. These startups ranged from sectors including AI, communication, e-commerce, energy, entertainment, finance, healthcare, software, and more. This year also saw 10,207 registered visitors, where 50 per cent were looking for a job and 50 per cent for the opportunity to network with like-minded individuals. SOH’s wide-ranging impacts are sure to be felt for years to come, as Canada fortifies its reputation as an international powerhouse in the start-up realm.

For more information about Startup Open House, check out the link here.