Grassroots group wants businesses to grow in Corner Brook

Gary Kean
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Jason Janes, left, and Roger Power, creators of StartUpNL, discuss the merits of the grassroots entrepreneurial concept in Corner Brook Monday.

StartUpNL is hoping a session it hosted in Corner Brook Monday will help stoke the entrepreneurial spirit in the city.

The group based out of St. John’s involves getting local people who either have recently started businesses or are still slow-cooking their business ideas to get together to help one another make progress.

The first such meeting in St. John’s in 2012 began with about 20 people getting together and StartUpNL now boasts a membership of around 260 entrepreneurs.

Around 25 people showed up for the first meeting in Corner Brook, with the hope of generating enough interest in those attending to keep the momentum going on the west coast.

“This is completely free,” said Jason Janes, a Deer Lake native who created StartUpNL with fellow entrepreneur Roger Power. “We’re not asking anybody for anything. We just want to see the community succeed.”

By a show of hands, several of the people in attendance indicated they have a business idea in mind they would like to develop.

One issue brought up was the need for a physical space where entrepreneurial-minded people could meet up to network. Janes and Power noted how one weekend session hosted by StartUpNL last November saw the creation of eight companies, three of which are still in existence today.

“We’re not making a mountain out of a molehill,” said Power. “But the results can be really cool: companies getting started.”

Matthew Connolly, president of the Greater Corner Brook Board of Trade, attended the session and encouraged everyone interested in creating businesses to start working together more.

“There is a fear of partnerships and not knowing how to get out there and network,” Connolly told the group. “Networking is very important and you really have to open up your arms and eyes to that concept of opening up because it helps make getting the word out easier.”

Power said the fact so many people came out to Monday’s session means, with the assistance available online through the website, the seed of working together has already been planted in the Corner Brook area.

“It would be good to have somebody say I’ll be the focal point to keep this momentum going (in Corner Brook),” said Power. “The ball is rolling now, so keep it rolling.”

Organizations: Greater Corner Brook Board of Trade

Geographic location: Corner Brook, Deer Lake

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Recent comments

  • Paul Brake
    June 10, 2014 - 13:24

    The only way to grow business and jobs is to get out of the way. The economy is like an organic ecology. You can't walk up to an apple tree and create an apple on it. What you have to do is create an ecology where the tree will produce fruit. Government intervention takes soil, water and fertilizer from the healthy growing businesses and packs it up on the roots of their buddies businesses. You can't harvest apples from a fence post, and you cannot harvest jobs and businesses from a trumped up, government controlled economy. The government has to get it paws out of it and allow the free market economy to live and grow organically.

  • Jack
    June 10, 2014 - 06:39

    The only way businesses will start up and grow in Corner Brook is if the city tries to erase the painful memories of the "Neville Greeley Era" when Corner Brook City Council under Mayor Greeley used every single excuse possible to deny a new business and showing aspiring entrepreneurs the door, get rid of their "Greek Style" red tape, and take advantage of every single opportunity given instead of showing them the door. During the "Neville Greeley Era", many aspiring entrepreneurs were denied their opportunity to start a business including Daniel Griffin and the modular home plant, Dee Jay Penney and the teen dance hall, the "Super 8" Hotel delays, mineral exploration at Corner Brook Lake, "Costco Wholesale" snub, and the trailer park. To make Corner Brook an attractive place to do business, the first steps include reducing red tape and stop using every single excuse possible to show aspiring entrepreneurs the door.

    • Sandra
      June 10, 2014 - 08:11

      Here we go again with the "Corner Brook turned away Costco" myth. Let's be clear: Costco does not now, nor has it EVER have any interest in hanging out a shingle in Corner Brook for one very simple reason: Their business model requires 200,000 people within a one hour drive. That's TEN TIMES the population of Corner Brook. Even if you counted all the people from St. Anthony to Port Aux Basques, including Deer Lake AND Corner Brook you would only have half of what they require. Besides, anyone who has the money to spend and is foolish enough to pay a 'membership fee' for he privilege of stepping inside Costco's doors already travels to St. John's to shop there, where the population only barely meets the standard set by the company. Why would they poach on that customer base to establish a store on the west coast where the population is not even close to what their very successful model requires?