Grassroots group wants businesses to grow in Corner Brook

Gary Kean gkean@thewesternstar.com
Published on June 10, 2014
Jason Janes, left, and Roger Power, creators of StartUpNL, discuss the merits of the grassroots entrepreneurial concept in Corner Brook Monday.
Star photo by Gary Kean

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 www.meetup.com/StartupNL/, 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.”