Techstars Community Pilot: Vol. 1
Accelerate Okanagan - Sep 12 - Columnists

Image: Contributed

The Okanagan tech community is one of only five tech communities selected to participate in the Techstars Community Pilot Project.

The Techstars team arrived at the end of August and has been performing a grassroots, founders-first assessment of the city’s startup ecosystem.

The goal is to accelerate growth in our startup community beyond what would happen organically and to inspire future innovation and ideas for a diverse group of community leaders and partners to rally around.

As part of this assessment, a dinner for a group of local founders was hosted at Bar Norcino Sept. 5. The goal of the event was to connect the Techstars team with the some of the passionate entrepreneurs in the Okanagan tech community and promote some lively discussion.

Peter Matejcek, founder of INhouse Video, was one of the entrepreneurs who joined the discussion. Matejcek’s latest blog explores the future of Okanagan tech, the importance of staying curious, and the power of asking for help. Here are some of his thoughts:

Image: Contributed

On the power of community

Every time I go and sit with others, I learn not only about some aspect of technology, business, marketing etc. but about myself. The Founder event was an opportunity to actively engage in how to keep the community spirit engine going, and how to keep feeding the momentum that has been started by many in our community.

Listening to stories of tech giants like Chris Heivly (Founder of map-quest; for those youngsters, this was the first Google Maps) about how they sat around a room, hashing out crazy ideas of what to do to spark the local community, like organizing crazy festivals just for the heck of it. And young energized entrepreneur Josh Fraser from Data Nerds speaking passionately about employee retention and the happiness of his team.

On staying curious

From Accelerate Okanagan to the Innovation Center, to the local and federal government – all have been building new roads to a tech frontier in our valley of golf, lakes and wineries. This dinner/gathering, of which we hope to have many more, was just another step to expanding the energy that is clearly buzzing around tech in the Okanagan.My lesson from that evening was to always ask and explore with others, with no agenda in mind.

On asking for help

At times, I am more of an introvert than most people know. As an immigrant kid whose parents escaped a hard communist country (which I vividly remember), I am often gripped by a “fear first” mentality. It’s something I have been working on for some time, to not let fear from the past cloud and hinder my future decisions and possibilities.

Last night I was reminded again that the people surrounding you always want to help. Not just help you, but help their surroundings, community, and anyone who asks. That is especially true of the great people of the Kelowna technology community that so openly invited me into their lives years ago.

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