The Startup Canada Communities have had the good fortune of gaining a great deal of media attention as a grassroots community of passionate individuals dedicated to fostering success amongst entrepreneurs from C2C..er…coast to coast across Canada and internationally. The fifteen pilot communities, their respective leaders and volunteers have worked very hard to elevate the level of innovation among new businesses in their regions. On the weekend of May 24th, at Ramp Up Weekend in Winnipeg, a group of savvy entrepreneurs took media attention and innovation to another level in just fifty four hours.
Ramp Up Manitoba, and Assent Works their “non-profit workshop” or “Fab Lab” (Fabrication Lab) are key elements in Winnipeg’s business community for entrepreneurs Ramp Up Manitoba is a grassroots community of about 300 Winnipeggers that use the Fab Lab to make prototypes, use specialized equipment, and collaborate with highly talented “Makers” and Developers. Ramp Up members pay dues and Assent Works is partially sponsored by corporate partners in the region such as CREAFORM, Seccuris and Princess Auto.
When the Startup Communities launched on May 2nd, you could clearly see on the Google Hangout that the Ramp Up Manitoba team was engaged in their community, in their business and were glad to have one of the first Community Hubs to put recognize the innovation going on in their community. They quickly totalled some 20,000 hits on the StartupWinnipeg.ca Web site,over 1500 people registered online, and a great energy emanated from the event.
Just over three weeks later, Ramp Up Manitoba Founder Chris Johnson (pictured above) and his team came up with a business model that was selected out of 65 pitches, had a prototype mobile app (Minimal Viable Product and then some) and took first prize at Ramp Up Weekend.
Their app, called Spot Squad, gives smartphone users the ability to snap a picture of an illegally parked car and to send it to local authorities for a cash reward. Photo radar with the police is one thing, but there are already over one thousand beta signups registered in the “Spot Squad Nation”. After Ramp Up Weekend concluded, Chris and his team were besieged with media calls from around the world – across Canada, Sirius XM Satellite Radio, and even “the CNN equivalent of Germany”. If you have ever seen the Seinfeld episode where George Costanza gets “caught” parking in a Handicapped spot you can imagine what happens when parking lot shutterbugs looking for a bounty start using the Spot Squad app when it is generally available!
Chris says “It has been great to have a Web platform like Startup Communities that lets him get news out so quickly to Canada about what is happening with Ramp Up Manitoba and Winnipeg’s entrepreneurial community in general.” He mentioned that with everything that has been happening with Spot Squad, Ramp Up Manitoba, and his own company Hype Technologies.Co it has been very busy and hard to put specific numbers on the impact of Startup Winnipeg, however he has really enjoyed being a part of the movement and to tell the story of Ramp Up/Startup businesses in the region.
You can get your fill of the media coverage on Spot Squad by Googling the name and/or follow the team on their Twitter handle @SpotSquadNation
Observe – Report – Reward! If you are in the Winnipeg area you can contact Chris@rampupmanitoba.com although it seems his phone is ringing off the hook with international media these days! When you are out driving your car, be sure to park it legally because the Spot Squad Nation will be on patrol before you know it!