Spotlight on GEW Partner: Blair Kilrea of Collab Space
Written By: Blair Kilrea, Founder, Collab Space, Ottawa, ON
Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW) is a time where I can reach out through my personal and business networks and connect with people that want to give back to the local business community. By hosting events, I’m able to help educate others on various business topics as well as provide an environment that is perfect for networking opportunities. I love to help start-ups and small businesses thrive by making introductions, passing on tidbits of information, and fostering collaboration.
The first time I heard about GEW was in 2014, and I loved the concept of it. I was working with a local co-working space in downtown Ottawa and we put on 15 events over the course of that week. We had a great turnout of guest speakers and attendees, and everyone enjoyed themselves. Following this incredible experience, I discovered that in previous years, Ottawa typically held the greatest number of events in Canada, but in that year we were out done by Vancouver.
In the next year (2015), I had just been funded by Futurpreneur Canada and opened my own co-working space in Ottawa’s west end, and really wanted to reach out and help do my part for the local entrepreneur community. I also wanted to ensure that Vancouver would not grab the title of being the Most Entrepreneurial City away from us again (Nothing wrong with a little city rivalry). We had just expanded Collab Space, and built a second boardroom the week before GEW, and managed to pull off 36 events that week. Not only did Ottawa take back the title, Collab Space ended up hosting the highest number of events in Canada in a single location!
Now in 2016, we have expanded again and built an education room as well as a large mezzanine for hosting events. We have 48 events scheduled for this year’s GEW, and it is going to be amazing. We have partnered with Startup Ottawa and Startup Youth to host a few great events, as well as a plethora of very talented and respected business owners. We will end up with hundreds of entrepreneurs and business information seekers coming through our doors over the next week, and I intend to meet as many of them as I can, find out what drives them and see how Collab Space can help make their dreams a reality.
Wherever you live, please enjoy this Global Entrepreneurship Week, educate yourself, make some new connections, pass on information, and be supportive of the local community. You can work for yourself, but you do not have to work by yourself.