E-Town Edmonton

What would you ask one of the world’s most interesting people? That’s my task this week as Chris Hadfield, Guy Kawasaki, Hilary Mason, Tiffany Schlain, Bruce Croxon and David Usher all come to share their experiences with the attendees at E-Town (www.e-town.ca).

I started by taking some time to look back at the themes of this blog, and realized that they collectively make up the very themes that will be explored on Thursday (pm) and Friday (all day) this week. Themes like … Becoming Remarkable, Building [IT] Here, Entrepreneurial Thinking, Civic Branding, Festival Creation, Post Secondary Excellence, Powerful Women, Innovation, Commercialization, Competitiveness and the fact that our Capital Region Rocks … are not only what our city needs to be talking about, but they’re also the themes and ideas that need to be baked into the missions of our individual organizations.

How can you teach courage?
What do you feel least prepared for?
What differentiates those that succeed from those that fail?
How can a simple idea become a movement?
What’s coming next and how do we prepare ourselves?

Members of Edmonton’s entrepreneurial community have come together to create E-Town with the goal of stimulating the entrepreneurial discussion of “What’s Next?” and “How do we Capitalize on What’s Next?” We created this conference/festival specifically for those that want to be remarkable, and those willing to lead the charge in their own unique ways. It’s perfect for entrepreneurs, but it is even more perfect for aspiring entrepreneurs and those teams of people within organizations who embrace the mindset of “we gotta change.”

Thursday night we start with one of the great Canadians … Commander Chris Hadfield … and after his keynote he’s asked to stay around and jam with The Barenaked Ladies. How superfantastic is that? Then, Friday is an intense learning and networking experience …. continuously challenging you to think differently and act courageously. It’ll be a great show, with an abundance of energy.

Please don’t miss it. We designed it for you!! Registration will close quickly, so do so now as we are trying to finalize our numbers for the food trucks (Yum!).

See you there.

Needed: Entrepreneurial Thinking

I’ve always struggled with the word “entrepreneur.” I tend to raise an eyebrow and wonder what is really meant when someone says, “I want to become an entrepreneur” or when government says “we need to create more entrepreneurs.”  It always sounds noble, but I’m just not sure what to expect.

Is an entrepreneur someone who starts and assumes the risks of a new business?  Or, is an entrepreneur someone who champions new ideas, processes and solutions that create value … regardless of their vocation?  There’s a big difference, and it begs the question of whether entrepreneurship should only be taught in business schools, or should it be liberal art applied to all disciplines … entrepreneurship in medicine, in engineering, in education, in nursing as well as in business?

Which do we need more?  Entrepreneurs or Entrepreneurial Thinking? 

Exactly three months ago, we assembled a team of eight entrepreneurial Edmontonians from various disciplines and challenged them with the goal of building a festival that celebrates entrepreneurial thinking.  There were only three criteria:

  • It has to celebrate creativity and entrepreneurship applied to all kinds of disciplines, as we know industries and technologies are converging like never before, and we are surrounded by an endless stream of new opportunities to make change;
  • It has to become a platform for many, many organizations to get involved and use in their own creative ways … and over the next three years, it needs to grow into a 5-day, scalable, multi-location festival that takes place around the city … kinda like SXSW in Austin; and
  • It has to be launched this September and it has to be absolutely awesome from the very beginning.

You know what I love about entrepreneurial Edmontonians?  Without even a question, the group of eight (relative) strangers looked at each other, rolled up their sleeves and collectively said, “Yeah, we can make that happen.”

And exactly three months later, on July 8th, we launched E-Town 2013 (www.e-town.ca) with Commander Chris Hadfield and The Barenaked Ladies kicking off the opening night, followed by five interactive keynote speakers that will be discussing topics ranging from “Why Culture Trumps Strategy” to “The Future of Data and Privacy” to “Using Filmmaking to Create a Movement.”

Wait a minute you say … Chris Hadfield’s an astronaut, not an entrepreneur?

Wait a minute I say …. Does the world need another coffee shop, or does the world need another Chris Hadfield?  This risk-taker single-handedly changed how the world sees the space exploration industry while doubling the demand for science-based education.        No entrepreneur there!!

Entrepreneurial thinking, risk-taking, rule-breaking … converging Education, Entrepreneurship and Entertainment in Edmonton makes for a fantastic start to E-Town 2013.  This festival is all about the entrepreneurial mind-set … and you, your colleagues, your company, your community, your city, your country … we all need more of it.

Don’t miss it … Sept 12th/13th … (www.e-town.ca) … it will be remarkable.