JFDI and other reasons behind why we did the smOffice

Reason #1

To awaken the entrepreneurial spirit in our town and inspire others around the county. “Hey Canadian small towns and mid cities: you are more startup ready than you think!”

Every city or town has felt the shadow of that larger mega city nearby looming over them. We look up to them, yet this shadow seems to cause us to doubt our place and our ability to become greater than we are. Along with this shadow creeps another phantom: a noise. A clammer of what we believe is considered success, energy and it can, if we let it, drown out our own amazing story. This can cause what I call an economic or cultural paralysis. We convince ourselves we’re not valid, not ready and therefore accept our place within the shadow. We banish ourselves to this psychosis of “never good enough, big enough, rich enough, talented enough”…. and so we embrace our mediocracy as we squint at the eclipse of the closest major city.

What the smOffice hopes to do is to awaken the entrepreneurial story within us all. To ignite the flame of a grand economic and cultural ambition. Barrie is an “indie city” and we are proud of our uniqueness and want to tell the nation. We want to show the country what we’ve got and encourage other smaller cities and larger towns that you have what it takes to tell your own story and spark your entrepreneurial culture too. Every community has that spark. We decided to fan the flame and do something creative. When you want to see change or make a difference, you innovate and challenge the status-quo. The smOffice is doing that.

The reaction from the business community, both from the public and private sector, has proven there is a passion and hunger to be proud of our story and to be proactive in igniting our startup culture. Within our community alone, we have the capacity and resources to birth world-changing companies as well as those that become the fabric of our local culture.

Reason #2
Avoid the Dragons – “You don’t need to sell your soul to launch a great idea into the marketplace.”

We need to stop the hyper-glorification of high value, high return startups and the model the media and government is peddling. We need to recognize that all businesses have great value. In fact, micro-businesses are the backbone of our society. 95% of all business in Canada would be classified as “small” and 75% are four staff or less! And yet we still pour millions into these large city, startup hubs and convince the nation that the only way to launch a successful company is through this model. We also invest heavily in the big corps, offering incentives to build, etc. That is a complete misuse of our tax dollars. We’ve read the stories. Apple started in a garage. Why are we spending millions on glass and chrome epicentres of startup-ness, when what entrepreneurs and inventors really need is some space to work and a strong community of support.  Sure, money is needed, but I think with this innovative model (which is really the coworking model), we would need less and launch companies sooner!
We need to see the amazing resources and talents hidden beneath the shadows and shine a light on them. The smOffice does that.
Quality of space, mentorship, a community of support and some extended focused time. What the government tries to do for millions in these huge innovations centres, every town and small city could do for a fraction of the cost, and, I believe, will show more value in the long run and truly impact a community, as opposed to just making a small handful of people a lot of cash on “the next big thing.”

A grassroots effort to ignite the entrepreneurial spirit within our community!

This new grassroots (smOffice) model keeps more money in the pocket of the entrepreneur/startup. It keeps more money in the community as the ‘trep lays down deeper roots as their success grows and less money is required from government or investors. We still need the cash, but a little goes further when you move within this grass-roots/ lean-startup model.

To summarize these reasons into one term – JFDI!  (Just F***ing Do It!) made famous by coworking guru Alex Hilman. 🙂  I don’t swear, but the point is made.


#barrie is addressing the needs of every #startup & #trep in #Canada: we offer you the #smoffice! Your city is more startup ready than you think!

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