Techopia Live: Upcoming conferences targeting Ottawa entrepreneurs of all ages

Techopia Live had the scoop this week on the summer’s hottest conferences and programs for founders young and old.

Dropping by were Malindu Danthanarayana and Graham Gould Maule from Ottawa-based Inventure, a new platform connecting high school, college and university students to the resources and opportunities they need to start a business.

“In Ottawa, there’s a lot of students, high school and post-secondary students, that have great ideas surrounding entrepreneurship and business, but they simply don’t have the mentors or the resources to pursue these ideas on their own,” Danthanarayana told Techopia Live.

The program kicks off this summer with Sparkfest, a startup expo at the Brookstreet Hotel on Aug. 23. Supported by Invest Ottawa, the event will feature workshops and booths from companies that are in the early stages of their startup journeys.

Maule told Techopia Live that matching young aspiring entrepreneurs with companies who are getting it done today can help set the students up for success down the road.

Connecting the next generation of entrepreneurs with those who have done it before is also key to next week’s AccelerateOTT conference, said Invest Ottawa’s vice-president of venture development Nick Quain.

“You’ve got the next generation of entrepreneurs, entrepreneurs who have exited two or three times, investors, strategic partners, all of them in the same room – literally – and inevitably you have connections, introductions, collisions; serendipity takes place and awesome things happen,” he said.

Contrasting today’s students with older entrepreneurs like himself, Quain added that youth are the idealists who will “actually create something big.”

“Giving them the opportunity to comingle with the previous generation of entrepreneurs is a really, really powerful mix.”

The University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Engineering, a Techopia sponsor, is also looking to inspire young engineers and entrepreneurs this summer. Co-host Pam Lee-Shanok, the faculty’s youth programs manager, told Techopia Live about the numerous programs offered to kids and teenagers at the university.

One such program, the Faculty of Engineering Secondary School, introduces students to coding, robotics, technical design and more with the chance to earn credits towards their high school diplomas. Other programs, which can be found here, include summer camps and science workshops.

“We have a ton of different programs for everybody,” Lee-Shanok said.

To hear about the opportunities coming up for entrepreneurs of all ages this summer, watch the video above.