by Makena Kigunda “Entrepreneurship is not for everyone,” you’ve likely heard from the mouths of successful business tycoons. It’s the startup archetype: high barrier to entry, low rate of success.This lofty, exclusive branding keeps post-secondary students at bay. While Edmonton has a strong startup culture, student exposure to this community is minimal. Whether it’s the fear of taking on a bulk of risk, or a … Continue reading Entrepreneurship: Not for Everyone, But for Anyone
by Ramneek Purewal and Lisa Zhu If you’ve ever helped plan a wedding, you’ve probably witnessed some of the turmoil that comes with picking out color schemes, going to food tastings and trying to find the perfect cake on a budget. Some can spend a whole year going through the agonizing planning process, which is time consuming, stressful and expensive for the bride, groom and … Continue reading Evented: Taking the Planning Out Of Weddings
by Parmiss Mojir shaibani & Amirreza Sohrabi This article is part of a series about the University of Alberta’s eHUB accelerator program which helps students turn their ideas into real companies. We will be featuring a story about one of the accelerator teams every Tuesday in the coming weeks. When Parmiss Mojir shaibani was just three years old, she was hospitalized for the consumption of … Continue reading A Bolt for the Blue: Decontaminating Water with Lightning
by Ben Kostiuk I recently spent my Saturday attending the Cappsule Tribe Conference at the Garneau Theatre in Edmonton on May 28th. Despite my cynical reservations, as it describes itself as an “un-conference” and “Millennial as ****,” this networking and entrepreneurial connected me with similarly driven people and changed my attitude towards building a resume and achieving future ambitions. Indeed, too often I look for … Continue reading Thoughts From Cappsule Tribe’s UnConference: Defining & Measuring Success
A couple weeks ago I had the opportunity to attend Startup Edmonton’s 5th Annual Launch Party, where each year 10 up and coming startup companies in Edmonton are featured. This year the list included:
This year’s event was held at the EPCOR Tower, a pristine new business venue in Edmonton. As a nursing student attending business events in my semester off, I was glowing with excitement. Just as we were walking in, we ran into Mayor Don Iveson, looking dapper, and exceptionally approachable, as always. Already a great start to an impressive event! The venue was filled with a mix of students, investors and business professionals eager to learn more about these exciting new companies.
The night started with opening speeches from representatives of Startup Edmonton, the Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC) and the Mayor. Derek Hudson from EEDC spoke about igniteedmonton.com, a new website to support entrepreneurship in Edmonton, and for customers and partners to discover local businesses. The Mayor spoke to our city’s emerging economy, and acknowledged the creativity of these startups. Edmonton is rapidly changing: 40% of new jobs in the country were created in Edmonton. “People are starting to take notice of Edmonton and recognize that it is the best place to take a risk and create something,” the Mayor concluded.
The opening pitches from each company gave a brief introduction of what they were all about. However, I wanted to get to know a little more about some of these companies and how they started. Time was limited, so I went straight to the companies that caught my attention the most.
Pogo Carshare officially launched that night. Pogo is a locally-based company that allows Edmontonians to use Pogo cars in their area. I talked to James Kwan, a University of Alberta graduate and co-founder of the company:
Who are the people involved and responsible for the start of the company?
Our team consists of five people in total, two of which are University of Alberta grads.
How does the service work?
Currently, we have twenty cars in total: twelve active and eight in preparation. What you would do is check to see if there is a Pogo car available in your area (we have an app in the works) and check out the pick-up and drop-off zones. For example, say you were tired of studying at the University and wanted to head to Whyte. You would locate a car in the University area, access it and park on Whyte. And since they are in the same zone, you do not need to return the car to where you originally found it.
The payment options are per minute, per hour, or per km after 200km. For insurance purposes, we also have eligibility requirements; members have to be over the age of 21 and they require good driver’s abstract.
What are your goals as a startup company?
We want to grow as quickly and sustainably as we can while delivering as much value as possible to Edmontonians. We hope to reach 150 cars by the end of next year.
How will you deal with problems such as downtown parking and the criticism that you will be taking up parking spaces for Edmontonians?
I would argue that although it seems counterintuitive, our service will help with the congestion and help with parking downtown. For example, many car owners are looking to transition from two cars to one, sell their cars, or look for alternatives to car ownership. This would be a great way for people to still drive to the places they need without the stress of car ownership. Parking is also included with our service as we are in partnership with the city.
What was your motivation for starting this company in Edmonton?
It was something that we felt was missing. Many of our founders use alternative modes of transportation; one of our co-founders is a huge cycling enthusiast. We wanted a way to help make Edmonton more sustainable and also provide a service that would give back.
Upon hearing the question, we all leaned in. There were twenty or so of us, a montage of artists, journalists, and entrepreneurs on the edge of our seats in the room upstairs at the Edmonton Petroleum Club. We were mid-session, preparing for Creative Edmonton’s Brewfest: an evening focused on celebrating Edmonton’s creative community with vendors, local breweries, and live entertainment. On this night, however, it was a small gathering of the … Continue reading ‘Do You Have Any Regrets?’ | by Elliot Rose