The Event, The After-Party & The Hotel

Last month, I had the privilege of attending the 2018 StartupFest for the very first time in my beloved hometown of Montreal. It was such a great experience from the Startup Train to Air BnB.

First, let me backup a little bit, in December 2017, I received the promotion of a lifetime and a complete life elevation when I started working with Exponential University (ExU), an organization that offers advice, funding and resources for startup businesses, mainly tech startups who are finding new and innovative ways to create social impact or as we say at ExU, alleviate human suffering and expand human potential. I’ll share more on ExU in another post.

The Event

Startupfest is an event built for founders from all walks of life with investors, partners, sponsors and a community of thousands who are enthusiastic about startup business and entrepreneurship. Besides world class content across 8 stages, the event is designed to offer concrete investments and networking opportunities throughout the entirety of the Tent Village.

Some of the event highlights were the Premium Fests including AcceleratorFest (which I attended in part), AIFest, CannabisFest, CryptoFest, HackerFest and ScaleUpFest. The Braindate Lounge was also a major feature where founders got to connect with investors and pick their brain, the Women in Technology Boot Camp, the Grandmother Judges tent where the investor with the best pitch won an investment for their business and let’s not forget the food trucks, where I tried my very first lobster poutine.

At our booth the founders of ExU, James Wallace aka JW and James Tonn aka JT, were performing superpower assessments on-the-spot which had founders walking away feeling enlightened and inspired. We all wore t-shirts naming our own superpowers (mine being Inspiring) and visitors to our booth were quite intrigued by our philosophies and our approach to digging deep into our passion and effectively and efficiently managing startup business.

The After-Party

The highlight of the entire week (and 2 months leading up to Startupfest) was the after-party which was my project to organize. Just to clarify, it was actually a private dinner with the intention of bringing together founders and investors in a more intimate setting where they could sit and talk more in depth about their business and aspirations over a delicious meal.

Base on the feedback I received, the dinner was a hit! Everyone had a great time, they made great connections and had great conversations which, in my opinion, always leads to great collaborations in the future.

The Hotel

The venue I selected for the private dinner got a hold of me early and it could not be shaken. When you look at the photos below, you will know exactly why.

Nestled in an original Beaux-Arts building in the historic quarter of Old Montreal, the St Paul opened in 2001 as Canadaโ€™s first ever boutique hotel. The 119-room property, designed by Montreal-based design firm Borrallo Interiors offers a timeless blend of past and present, and an innovative design that maintains the integrity of the buildingโ€™s original architecture.

Take Aways

I have been working with startup businesses for almost 15 years and do you know what the difference is between side hustlers, startup and small businesses? Besides the budget they are working with, there really is no difference. In fact, they have a few major things in common.

What I found among all the groups is that they struggle with things like knowing their ‘why’ and their strengths. They have a lack of awareness of the available tools and resources to help them with the administration and operations of their business and when it comes to their health and wellness, it takes a backseat to the work that they love.

Knowing your strengths will help you put your greatest assets into play with your business and knowing the right tools to automate and optimize your business will allow you to stay focused on the work you are most passionate about. Lastly, I don’t have to tell you how ‘full circle’ your life feels when you’re living and working at optimal health. My client and mentor JW says that your health is your greatest productivity app. Without it, there is no you to run your business and so it should always be your top priority.

Here’s a free gift for founders who need help navigating their strengths; top tools and resources for their business and a short story from JW about how he almost died working 12-16 hours a day for well over 5 years without a single day off…there’s no exaggeration in that.

If you have sage advice for any founders reading this post, please share in the comments below.

There Is More Where That Came From

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