Interview with our Canadian Partner North Forge

February 10th, 2020
5 min read

Could you please give me a short introduction to yourself? What does North Forge stand for?

“Teresa Dukes is the President of North Forge Technology Exchange. She has worked with companies of all sizes, including large organizations and startup entrepreneurs, Teresa has a fresh perspective on partnerships and how partnerships can ignite innovation and grow the economy.”

“Shane serves as the President of North Forge East Business & Technology Incubator and the Instructor of University of Manitoba Asper School of Business. Shane holds a Bachelor of Commerce (honours) degree, Master of Science in Management, MBA from the University of Manitoba, and has also earned CPIM (Certified in Production and Inventory Management), CSCP (Certified Supply Chain Professional) designation from the APICS. Shane has over 8 years of experience providing advisory services to businesses for both public and private sectors, from start-ups to large multi-nation.”

North Forge stands for North Forge Technology Exchange. We are the technology and business incubator located in Winnipeg Manitoba. As the largest incubator for the province of Manitoba, we provide various services and supports for entrepreneurs through our start-up program.

How does the Startup scene in Canada look? Did it change in the past years?

In Canada, Startups focus on areas such as AI, Big data, Fin technology, clean technology, advanced manufacturing and IoT. We have a very diversified industry and a pool of start-ups in Canada. From the past three years, AI, clean technology and healthcare have become the hot areas in Canada. Many startups try to incorporate some of the technologies such as AI to further enhance the competitiveness of the business.

And what about investors?

Most of VCs in Canada are focused on later-stage investments. For the early-stage company, individual angel investors and government grants are the main sources of finance.

What do you offer German startups when they plan to go to Canada?

At North Forge, we can offer German startups with the soft-landing services to let German startups to quickly understand the local market, access to local government and public networks, access to the North Forge Innovation Center office spaces and North Forge entrepreneur in residence for business mentorship during the 4 weeks program.

What are the biggest hurdles for startups? What should be avoided?

At North Forge, we believe fail fast, fail cheaply. Entrepreneurs often devote too much of their attention on product development but overlook the product-market fit. At North Forge, we work with every entrepreneur to make sure they understand every facet of the problem they identified and make sure the solution they build is going to be well connected to the market needs. North Forge staged program helps entrepreneurs to mitigate the risks of building the start-ups and early-stage market feedback before fully committed the capital for production and scale-up.

What are your expectations of a partnership with SpinLab?

We believe SpinLab will be the ideal partner for North Forge in Germany. The acceleration program, additional funding support and exchange program will not only provide strong support for entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem in Germany, but also provide a pathway for Canadian startups to explore potential opportunities in the European market. We believe, the exchange program will further facilitate the collaboration and communication between tech startups between Canada and Germany and create many economic opportunities.

What can you offer especially for startups in the SpinLab acceleration program? What are its benefits?

At North Forge, we can offer German startups with the soft-landing services to let German startups to quickly understand the local market, access to local government and public networks, access to the North Forge Innovation Center office spaces and North Forge entrepreneur in residence for business mentorship during the 4 weeks program free of charge.

About the author

After working for various startups in Leipzig where he focused on sales development and value selling, Dennis now supports the SpinLab. He studied Applied Media Science and wrote his bachelor thesis at IBM Germany about software based knowledge management and collaboration.

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