I’m proud to share “Ignite The Maritimes”, a mini-documentary series telling the stories of successful startup founders in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. The idea for this project came to me in the summer of 2015, but I procrastinated in getting started on it. I remember going for a drive with my good friend Mich and telling him about my vision for the project. As I explained it, Mich said he could feel my passion and energy, but I felt the timing wasn’t right. So, I waited and waited for that gut feeling you get before you begin something amazing. And then, 2016 came, which I dubbed with the theme of Relationships. The one thing I felt I was missing in my life in terms of relationships was mentors – entrepreneurs, who had built successful startups, whom I could model. With that on my mind, the project I talked to Mich about 6 months ago started making a lot more sense. What if I could sit down and interview some of the top startup founders in my region and ask them any question I wanted? How much inspiration and insight would that provide to other would-be founders? Would it remove some of the doubt about building startups in the Maritimes? Was it a “hell yeah!” decision? I thought so, and today, I’m excited to launch the first three episodes. Mich later joined me as my co-producer and Julie, an independent freelancer, who worked with me on ToothbrushSubscriptions.com, came onboard as our videographer.
Our mission is simple – to show what’s possible for startup founders in the Maritimes. I’ve already interviewed some amazing founders, who took a risk on me by being interviewed for a project that was just an idea on paper. Kyle Racki, the founder of Proposify, shared his story of depression, searching for product/market fit, and ultimately reaching over 1 million in annual recurring revenue. Mark Hemphill, the founder of Screenscape, told his story of leaving PEI to pursue a career, but ultimately coming back home and building a thriving tech company on the Island, thus creating jobs for the good people there. And Darren Gallop talked about the the lessons he’d learned on finding passion, which you can see first hand in his episode, as he discusses Marcato Digital Solutions, and what they’ve accomplished for Sydney, Nova Scotia, the capital of Cape Breton.
The word “ignite” came from a book called “The Talent Code”, where author Daniel Coyle theorizes how talent hotbeds develop. Whether it’s tennis pros, musicians, or entrepreneurs, Coyle says that moments of “ignition” or inspiration can be the gateway to years of hard work and passion required to be truly great in your field. This was really interesting to me and, oddly enough, made me think of hockey in Nova Scotia. Kids here grow up watching the Mooseheads, the local minor hockey team in Halifax, and they see these players going to the NHL. By seeing players reaching the peak in their careers first hand, they start to believe they can do it too. And out comes the Sidney Crosby’s, the Nathan Mackinnon’s, and the Brad Marchand’s. My hope is that Ignite the Maritimes can be one small spark that helps ignite the up and coming Maritime startup community. If we can inspire a few would-be founders by showing them what’s possible, we’ve done our job.