What’s the most exciting part of meeting with businesses?
“I love exchanging ideas and pooling our expertise (mine and the person’s in front of me). I truly believe that when you work with entrepreneurs, you’re really in the trust business. Everything is built on trust. Every meeting, every collaboration depends on it.
To build something together, you have to be confident in your own expertise while also trusting the expertise of the people you’re working with. I think Centech and Mitacs are seen as highly trustworthy, thanks to their proven selection criteria and processes.”
How can entrepreneurs know when to seek your advice?
“We don’t all have the same skills and this is especially true for entrepreneurs. That’s where I come in. Like I said, it’s all about trust. You can’t really quantify or measure the trust you have in a person or an institution. It’s just something you feel. Personal bias can come into play very quickly.
You need to get to know a business or entrepreneur to really understand the essence of their project. That’s crucial for finding funding. The investor has to have confidence in the entrepreneur’s integrity. For me, it’s all about expressing ideas effectively.
That’s what Centech does and that’s a big part of my job—giving the maximum number of people the right information to bridge that gap. Funding applications are all about presentation. The way you present a project is very important. So is the content, but presentation is key.
Not everyone has the skills to write a funding application. You have to know who to get in touch with to find the information you need. At an organization like Centech, that’s also a major part of what I do: figuring out how to provide Centech entrepreneurs with the tools they need, when they may not even know they need them. There’s this idea that being an entrepreneur is some kind of gift, like you wake up one day and suddenly you’re an entrepreneur. That’s not how it works.
It’s about reaching beyond your limits, every day. It’s about being able to rely on the trust you’ve built with your colleagues. Centech’s team—the entrepreneurs in residence, the coaches—they’re all extremely generous people who are dedicated to equipping entrepreneurs with the right information, so they can effectively “bridge the gap” and allow their projects to succeed.
You can have an amazing idea at the technical level, but if you lack business development skills or don’t know how to create a pitch or presentation, that can be a big hindrance. It can mean the difference between a project that gets off the ground and one that never goes anywhere.”
Communications – Centech
Mélina Cyr St-André