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Let’s talk about the importance of giving back to the startup community
22 February 2022
Some entrepreneurs wonder when they should give back to the startup community, why it’s important to do so or where to start to get involved. We demystify these questions with the guests of our latest edition of Startup Wednesdays: Jean-Philippe Sicard, Co-founder of Ton Equipier, and Laurent Maisonnave, Ambassador and Director of Techaide and with Notman House, co-organizer of this edition and pioneer of the Montréal startup community.
Why is it important to think of giving back to the startup community from the beginning?
Volunteering can be an effective way to build a network. In Laurent’s case, this approach allowed him to hold crucial meetings in his entrepreneurial path and integrate more easily into his home ground.
Help each other within the ecosystem to increase our chances of success
Jean-Philippe speaks a lot about sharing experience and doing outreach within the Montréal startup ecosystem. The meetings held at the beginning of the path can avoid crucial errors related to marketing a product, among others. This is what motivated him to give back.
His quest is driven by a desire to give a clear picture of the realities of entrepreneurship, which too often are left by the wayside for the benefit of the perfect image. For this entrepreneur, who experienced a few misfires in his time, there are plenty of failures, and they hurt. It is therefore important to learn early in the process how to live with failures and take advantage of them to recover better and keep on going. He gives back through this mission and considers that it’s never too early to start.
How can giving back to the startup community be profitable?
Jean-Philippe isn’t embarrassed to say that giving back to the community can be profitable, both personally and in business. In his case, he makes extensive use of the initiatives and events he plans to help the startup community benefit from positive visibility and attract new clients.
He always bears in mind that each initiative must be win-win, both for his company and for people in the community. This is an integral part of his growth model.
Getting involved to make a commitment and recruit talent
Laurent illustrates how giving back to the community is a virtuous circle. This is an aspect that makes him feel good, because he can feel concretely that he has a positive impact on society’s problems.
When this is done within a company, social involvement can also contribute to the employees’ sense of belonging and their level of engagement. Including this in the way an organization operates certainly contributes to recruitment of new employees, because it is at the core of the values sought by many professionals.
Techaide conducted a recent survey that shows the growing power of philanthropic initiatives
- 91% of technology companies organize philanthropic initiatives;
- 77% raised up to $5000 in 2021;
- 92% plan to do more in the coming year.
This means that, regardless of the environment, participation is there and when we do good it isn’t false to say that it always comes back to us.
Where do we start if we want to give back to the startup community?
In unison, our two entrepreneurs point out that the biggest challenge is to kick-start the giveback effort. Nobody should tell them they don’t have enough time. You have to put it on the agenda and commit yourself if you want to derive all the benefits.
Above all, have fun
It’s important to choose to give back in a “fun” contest. It must be easy and pleasant. This is the way entrepreneurs can institute a real culture of generosity in their organizations.
Let’s mention that it can be interesting to share ideas and ways of giving to facilitate the process, but at the end of the day you can simply go knock on the door of the organization to which you want to offer your time. The answer is rarely negative. Regardless of what you will choose, you should feel it’s doing good.
Deepening your understanding of social involvement
This discussion has offered us a starting point to think about the importance of social involvement. If you want to learn more about the subject, we invite you to watch the video or listen to the audio recording of this edition of Startup Wednesdays.
We thank our partner Cisco Designed for Small Business, which contributes to the production of Startup Wednesdays for a second year.
Startup Montréal is there to support entrepreneurs.