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From doldrums to trade winds

By Francis Moran

We’ve written a couple of posts about the wisdom of continuing marketing activities through the summer months when, it is broadly assumed, everyone is on vacation and so not paying attention to such things. Our consistent counsel has been to maintain a steady level of activity since not everyone is on holiday at the same time, mind share is a highly perishable commodity that needs constant refreshing and you might even gain a leg up on the competition that put its marketing on a summer hiatus.

One area where this does not apply seems to be our own business development activities, which are largely based on networking and getting out where we know we’ll meet technology companies. There are precious few such events during the summer months and this isn’t entirely a bad thing since it vastly reduces the time I need to spend, especially in the evening hours, doing the networking thing.

But man, I tell you, come Labour Day and the whole tune changes, and this year seems to be even more pronounced than usual. I don’t know whose hand was on the dial this year but the volume has been cranked way up.

Here in our home town, The Ottawa Network has introduced a new schedule of events that gives us somewhere to go every Wednesday evening. Judging from the numbers turning out so far, they’ve hit on topics and approaches that are drawing a good crowd.

OCRI, of course, greeted September with a new season of programming and we’re regular attendees at many of these. On the private-sector side, Ian Graham of The Code Factory — and a client of inmedia‘s — has a pretty full calendar of activities at his downtown business incubator.

The start-up community here in Ottawa and elsewhere is also newly galvanized. We’re looking forward to Ottawa’s first DemoCamp of the season, the city’s 10th edition of the wonderfully grassroots event that sees six new companies show off their product or application and get feedback from a room of their peers.

On a somewhat larger scale, the superb Toronto-based blog startupnorth.ca is organizing a two-day conference it has grandly titled Startup Empire. Featuring two days of workshops, speakers and networking “by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs,” the event takes place November 13 and 14 at The Diesel Playhouse in Toronto.

I don’t know if I’ll make it to Startup Empire but I’ll seize any good reason to go to Montreal if only because it provides the opportunity to tuck into the best smoked meat on the planet at Schwartz’s Montreal Hebrew Delicatessen. On November 27, there’ll be a lot more than good brisket bringing me to town, however. inmedia has singed on as sponsors of StartupCampMontreal3, which will see scores of new companies compete to be one of five that will formally present to what organizers hope will be hundreds of attendees. This is our first interaction with the Montreal startup community and I’m very much looking forward to it.

Also on the list of firsts for inmedia was the foray I made down to Waterloo a couple of weeks ago to attend the official launch of the University of Waterloo’s VeloCity residence and to also drop in on the exciting and so-successful-it’s-bursting-at-the-seams Accelerator Centre. I blogged about this visit and will keep you up to date as I return to VeloCity October 16 for a presentation on public relations.

And, last but not least, my time at the Red Herring Canada Conference 08 at the beginning of last week yielded not only a well-read blog post on the antics of organizer Alex Vieux but also introductions to a couple of dozen new companies.

Bottom line: We’re less than a month into the new networking season and this PR guy has one full dance card. Let’s hope these trade winds steer me into some high-value ports.

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