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DRIVEN BY SUCCESS WITH DAMIEN STEEL

Thank you to all our mentors who came out to support, and to all the attendees who didn’t have time to smile for the camera as they were all busy taking notes! So many notes! That’s what happens when you have an amazing speaker like Damien Steel. On Tuesday Damien talked about the Inside Life of a VC, what investors look for and how to pitch to them. Congrats to @VentureLynx who won the pitch strategy session with Damien!

Damien Steel Teaches

Damien Steel Teaches

 

Engaged Crowd

Engaged Crowd

 

Lots of Note Taking!

Lots of Note Taking!

 

The Crowd

The Crowd

 

Tweets To Live By!

Tweets To Live By!

If you missed the event. check out the pictures below, and don’t forget to submit your topic for the next DRIVEN by Success event!

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NEW JOB LISTING: SPONSORSHIP DIRECTOR

Part Time

Category: Sponsorships

Compensation: Commission 

Project Duration: on-going 2013

Est. Hours/month: 100-200

Deadline to Apply: Immediately 

OVERVIEW

Are you a skilled negotiator, with a large network?  Add real value as a Sponsorship Director for DRIVEN Accelerator Group – Toronto’s first accelerator providing start-up support to female and minority led tech companies in Toronto, ON.

WHAT WE LOOK FOR

We are seeking a Sponsorship Director for DRIVEN Accelerator Group and it’s brands. This is a unique commission based opportunity with amazing perks. The Director will be responsible to develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to attract, retain and build value with corporate and individual sponsors, that build additional value for both DRIVEN and our partners. You will work closely with the Chief Visionary Officer (CVO).

OUR IDEAL CANDIDATE

You are outgoing, skilled at negotiation and an artist when it comes to managing business relationships. You have a proven track record, and express the passion and understanding of the non-profit world. You must be based in the GTA, and have a flexible schedule.  If you are a true team player and are comfortable with the dynamic environment of a start-up – we want to hear from you!

RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Develop and implement an aggressive growth strategy for new and current corporate sponsors
  •  Work collaboratively with internal team partners to identify, fulfill and manage sponsorship opportunities and commitments
  • Evaluate and establish priority targets and opportunities across the various DRIVEN projects, which can increase earning potential.
  • Maintain client audit files and processes that includes securing approval of all sponsorship proposals from the CEO;  writing, assembling, and submitting letters of intent, proposals, budgets, acknowledgements, and presentations
  • Provide Corporate Partnership clients with post event analysis and reports on a timely basis

REQUIREMENTS

  • 3-5 years experience in sponsorship development, sponsorship management or similar role
  • The candidate should be hard working, energetic and a driven sales and marketing leader with a demonstrable background in achieving business plan goals
  • Understanding of key local and national sponsors  in the social enterprise, non-profit and communications sectors
  • The candidate will be a compelling and impactful communicator able to effectively promote DRIVEN and it’s brands
  • The ability to use software applications to strengthen sponsorship material is a plus (e.g. Photoshop, etc.)
  • Experience in the non-profit/social enterprise sector is a must

EDUCATION

Successful completion of a post-secondary degree in Business or Communications is required.  The candidate should have an extensive knowledge of the Canadian sponsorship landscape.

Please submit cover letter, resumé and the names and phone numbers of 3 references attached as a PDF to melissa@drivenaccelerator.com

We thank everyone who applies for their interest, but only candidates selected for an interview are contacted. No telephone or walk-in inquiries please. All applications are considered confidential.

Apply with Confidence!

NEW JOB LISTING: COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT INTERN

Part Time

Category: Public Relations

Project Duration: Immediately – June 30, 2013

Est. Hours/month: 100

Deadline to Apply: Immediately 

OVERVIEW

DO you have experience in developing business with social media? Do you know a thing or two about the digital tech and start-up industries? Add real value as an Intern Community Manager for DRIVEN Accelerator Group – Toronto’s first accelerator providing start-up support to female and minority led tech companies Toronto, ON.

WHAT WE LOOK FOR

We are seeking a community manager for DRIVEN Accelerator Group. You will be working closely with the Chief Visionary Officer to engage with the start-up community through our social media channels. This is a unique opportunity with an innovative start-up that may lead to some remuneration, and ongoing work after the completion of the 3-month internship period.

OUR IDEAL CANDIDATE

You are an outgoing senior or recent post secondary graduate, with knowlede of the Toronto and International tech scene. No one would even know you’re still a student, because of your high levels of professionalism. You have suburb writing skills, and a willingness to work HARD! You are based in the GTA and have a flexible schedule – as events may be held on evenings and weekends from time to time. If you are a true team player and are comfortable with the dynamic environment of a start-up – we want to hear from you!

RESPONSIBILITIES

  • Content creation - writing blog posts, articles, newsletters, communications materials, and material for social media channels
  • Social media marketing – creating, managing and growing the company’s presence through blogs, Twitter, Facebook, and other strategically relevant online properties
  • Events and event planning – attending industry events in the city (often outside of 9-5 hours) and planning meet-ups for your community
  • Public relations –  managing incoming media requests and building relationships with industry journalists; creating, executing and measuring media campaigns
  •  Customer relations – the Community Management Intern will be responsible for customer support – answering questions however they come in (phone, e-mail, Twitter) and managing any online feedback
  • Communications/marketing strategy – the Community Management Intern will assist in creating strategic marketing/communications plans to provide direction for the company’s public-facing communications
  • Analytics – Using Google Analytics and other measurement tools to provide reports on metrics, and continually find ways to improve on those metrics through testing and new initiatives

REQUIREMENTS

  • 2+ years experience in community management, or similar role
  •  Strong writing skills with the ability to translate technical information/jargon into layman’s terms)
  • Demonstrated interest in social change and the start-up community
  • Knowledge of key local and national media channels
  • Familiarity with using social media as a business resource
  • The ability to use software applications to strengthen digital content is a plus (e.g. Photoshop, etc.)
  • An understanding of SEO is a plus
  • Interest in the non-profit section a major asset
EDUCATION
  • Current, or completed education in Business communications, Marketing, Advertising or similar course.

Please submit cover letter, resumé and the names and phone numbers of 3 references attached as a PDF to melissa@drivenaccelerator.com

We thank everyone who applies for their interest, but only candidates selected for an interview are contacted. No telephone or walk-in inquiries please. All applications are considered confidential.

Apply with Confidence!

Look At Me Now

Wow I can’t believe it’s almost mid-November. It seems like just yesterday we were ushering in our start-ups for our first cohort, now it’s almost time for demo day. I have mixed feelings to be honest. I feel like the professor of a graduating class. I am excited for the next cohort, but I will miss them all: Theresa, Yohannes, Nolawi, Ivan, Igor, Felice, Jeff and Katrin.

People ask me if I have a “favourite” start-up, and my response is always no (that must be the mom response). I honestly can’t choose just one, they are all great, intelligent go-getters that will all succeed. I am just happy DRIVEN had a hand in that success.

In the past 12 weeks, we had some amazing people come through our Foundery doors to teach and mentor our start-ups, including the DRIVEN Directors: Andrew, Pierre and Carolyn. It was a learning process for everyone, including me! I am excited, because all the insight we gained over the past 12-weeks will allow us to refine our program and make it better for future cohorts.

It’s tough running an accelerator. It’s just like any other start-up, we face very similar challenges and because of that, I was able to relate to our founders on many different levels.

As I get ready for the final week of class, reviewing pitch decks and preparing for demo day I can honestly say I’ve done my best. Less than a year ago, DRIVEN was just an idea in my head and look at the success we’ve received since then. Through all the challenges, hard work and determination, I am happy. I had people tell me I couldn’t do it, and that DRIVEN wouldn’t be a success. Well, in the words of Kirk Franklin: Look at me now.

When 40 Degrees Feels Like 180

Your immediate reaction to that title would be to think in terms of temperature, and that’s okay. What I’m actually referring to is degrees in terms of angles. More specifically, I’m referring to the feeling you get when you shift (or pivot) your business plan/model/idea/etc… to better align yourself for success. Coincidentally (or ironically in this case) the two feelings are very similar. When it comes to temperature, we refer to something “feeling much hotter” than the numbers indicate when we want to convey how just strenuous and exhausting we find the current heat. When pivoting a business – even a theoretical “40 degrees” – the same comparisons can be made. Let me explain …

We, CitySqoop, a team of three ex-corporate chums, were accepted into the Driven Accelerator in mid-August of this year. We liked the list of mentors that Driven was able to provide, and fortunately the directors of Driven liked our team and idea enough to take us under their wings. The product we had described and demonstrated to the directors was one we had been developing since mid-February. It was a Facebook application that aggregated, categorized, listed, and made tickets available for events listed on Facebook’s Event platform. All those features were missing from Facebook’s Event platform so we figured we had a natural hit. Then, the Driven mentoring sessions began …

People think accelerator programs are all about getting much needed funding. I’d say no. Accelerator programs are all about getting honest advice and mentorship from people who have gone through it before so that you can build a business that makes money efficiently. And boy, did we learn a lot very quickly. In fact, we learned quickly enough that we were forced to ask questions of ourselves and our business that we hadn’t before. Ultimately, that resulted in us making the hard but necessary decision to make a drastic change in our business if we planned to be successful in the long-run. Which brings us to where we are now …

We’re now focused on enabling sports and entertainment promoters to more easily sell their tickets using Facebook. A social promotion platform of sorts. We made this decision as a result of the questions we were asked, the insight that we gained, and the people that we spoke to as a result of the accelerator. The market we’re going after is larger, more under-served, and if we prove that our social promotion platform works for events, the scaling opportunities are endless.

The decision to pivot has come at a cost though. That is to say, our 40 degree shift in our business feels like a complete 180. We have had to speak with our potential clients all over again, we have had to re-write most of our code, and we’ve spent hours and hours trying to poke holes in our business. In fact, the list of what we’ve had to do all over again just goes on and on and with demo day fast approaching, the task at hand feels daunting at times. But, at the end of the day, this is what we signed up for when we decided to leave our jobs to launch our own business. The only thing we were promised is that we would fail and fail some more but if we stuck around long enough, we would eventually succeed. Ultimately, that’s what pivots are all about. You try something, you fail – you change/adapt a bit, you fail – you then change/adapt a bit more until you finally get it right. Then, and only then, will all the heat you had to withstand finally pay off.


Regards,

Yohannes Tadesse, Founder of CitySqoop
yt@citysqoop.com

How to choose a lightweight issue tracking system

Guest Post By: Juan Silva
Senior Software Developer at Leapshot Labs

Software development processes and workflows can be very different depending on several factors such as the size of the team, the kind of software being developed (web, desktop, mobile etc.), the programming language and even the business domain that the software addresses. However, regardless of the workflow and requirements of the project, all software development projects have one thing in common: The code written will have bugs!.

Developing software that addresses real life problems is usually complex to implement and even the best programmers will write code that initially will have issues. This is a normal process, and there is no way to avoid it. The best thing you can do is to address it properly, and for that, you must use a system that allows you to keep track, and catalog, reminds you of any issues related to the code.

Using an issue tracking system gives structure to the process to follow up with anything that is wrong with your software or anything that has to be improved about it. Having this structured central repository of all the pending items to be addressed is key to be efficient, thorough, and effective in the entire software development process.

Bug (or issue) tracking systems come in many sizes and flavours. Choosing the right one is a task that requires careful consideration so that it will fulfill the needs of your development team. In general we could divide them in two categories: Robust and Lightweight.

Robust systems will usually include a full suite of features, including advanced reporting, project management, time tracking, performance evaluation, and other add ons. These kind of systems fit well for larger development teams with a complex organizational hierarchy. In these cases data must be aggregated and presented with different levels of granularity and the system must support the individual needs and the different roles of the people involved: developers, designers, QA testers, project leaders, managers etc. All such extra functionality usually means that the learning curve to become proficient with the system is fairly steep. Also, those kind of systems are normally commercial products that come with a price tag higher than what small teams or individual developers can afford.

For the individual developer and the small team, lightweight systems work better. The ease of use and the lack of overhead related to advanced features allow the user to be up and running in a short period of time. Plus, it is easier to find open source or cost effective solutions in this category. However, because of the slim properties of systems in this category, it is often difficult to find one that actually does enough and does it right.

This guide is meant to help you in choosing  the right lightweight bug tracking tool. The following sections outline the features that you should be looking for. These features are, in our experience, the ones that will allow your small team to operate with a reliable system that strikes a perfect balance between feature completeness, ease of use, and a low learning curve.

Simplicity

It is not strange that the first feature you should look for in a lightweight bug tracking system is simplicity. This is hard to evaluate, but in general: if you can understand the way the user interface is organized and perform all the basic tasks in the system without the need to refer to the “help” section or the manual, then the system is simple.

Ease of use

A system should be simple (easy to understand in concept), but should also be easy to use. This means that the number of clicks and the number of “views” that you have to go through to perform a task should not be too high. All the common tasks should be at hand and navigation across the site should be fast and fluid. You will be working with the system on a daily basis, so look for functionality details that facilitate your daily work; such as (auto completion of entry field, remembering settings, and last entries, system recommendations and suggestions etc.)

Flexibility

Although the majority of the “issues” tracked on the system are probably going to be “bugs”. You will probably want to track other related issues such as “to do” lists or other tasks, feature requests, QA issues etc. Make sure that the system is flexible enough to track such other kinds of issues. Look for the ability to “tag” the issues, classify them by some criteria or set priorities on them.

Awareness

Even in small teams, there will be more than one developer and being aware of the things that other developers are doing is key in order to collaborate in an effective way. Look for systems that provide some way to notify other developers about changes that happen in the lifecycle of the issues being tracked. Notifications can take any form, from email, to screen displays, pop-up windows or even sms integration. In order to avoid overloading of information, the system should also provide a way to select the kind and frequency of notifications that you want to receive.

Communication

Unless you are totally working in a bubble, you will need to communicate at some point with your peers. You can always email, call or talk directly to your fellow programmers. However it is important for your bug tracking system to support communication in the context of the issue being discussed. This has the additional advantage of having a recorded trail of communication that can be accessed at any time in the future; even by third parties who were not initially involved in the discussion.

Speed

So you are looking for a lightweight system right? This implies that the application should be fast. Page loads should happen in fractions of a second and use of AJAX and other techniques that refresh the page and accurately reflect the state of your application should be preferred.

Security

Since most bug tracking systems are web-based tools, security is an important aspect that you should consider when choosing yours. Make sure that permissions are handled properly, in such a way that nobody can have access to information that is private or is not meant for them. If the system is distributed as Software as a Service (SaaS), then the hosting infrastructure is also important. Look for any security measures that the provider has taken such as encryption or use of ssl certificates.

So which one to choose?

The above features should be used as a guideline when choosing your bug tracking tool. Depending on your particular needs you may give more or less importance to each one of those or you may add others. Just keep in mind that you should not be the one adapting to the workflow given by the system, but the system should be flexible and adjust to your development process, while staying light and support your agile development.

What is next?

If you decide that you like the idea of using a lightweight and versatile bug tracking system I encourage you to try Bushido at bushidotickets.com. Bushido is a bug tracking system that is delivered as Software as a Service, which can get you up and running without any installation hassles. It is under current active development and is geared towards independent developers who wish to collaborate in a distributed environment with an unlimited number of peers. And the best of all: it’s free to use!. Paid plans are optionally available for those who require heavier usage of the service resources.

Happy bug tracking!

 

ROXI LAUNCH PARTY

It was a fun night at Lavish&Squalor – DRIVEN start-up Roxi launched their mobile app, which allows club goers to purchase bottle service and booths at select clubs around the GTA. The crowd was a mix of start-up enthusiasts, investors, fellow DRIVEN teams and mentors, community supporters, friends and family. The Roxi app will be ready for launch on OS and Android in the following weeks.

Roxi Crowd

Roxi founder Jeff Tchadjeu, Mentor Carolyn Van and Founder of DRIVEN Melissa Huggins

Roxi Presentation – Dashboard

#drinksup

INTERNSHIP: EVENT PLANNER

Full Time 

Category: Event Planning/Corporate Sponsorships

Project Duration: September 24th, 2012 – November 23, 2012

Est. Hours Required to Complete: 300

Deadline to Apply: September 17th, 2012

 

OVERVIEW 

Do you have experience planning corporate events, with style and flare? Add real value as an Event Planning Intern for DRIVEN Accelerator Group – Toronto’s first accelerator providing start-up support to female and minority led tech companies Toronto, ON.

WHAT WE LOOK FOR

This will be an exciting year for DRIVEN as we continue to make history, and break through barriers. We are seeking a highly motivated individual who wants to be part of a new era in Toronto’s start-up history. Reporting to the Founder, the ideal Event Planner/Sponsorship Intern will have strong educational background, and experience in event planning and corporate sponsorship.

OUR IDEAL CANDIDATE 

This position is perfect for a senior student who has a specific interest in social change, sponsor activations/logistics and special events integration.

RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Creating and distributing sponsor/supplier event checklists to ensure all supplier needs are met
  • Updating Master Festival Event Calendar/Spreadsheet
  • Participating in site tours to ensure sponsor presence
  • Setting up and striking signage and other sponsor materials at events
  • Providing administrative support, as required
  • Assisting the Sponsorship team with various tasks as requested
  • Working some evening and weekend hours

QUALIFICATIONS:

  • Minimum 2-3 years experience in event planning and corporate sponsorships
  • Education in related discipline
  • Strong organizational skills and a keen eye for detail
  • Professional, with creative flare
  • Established network an asset
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Proven ability to work well under pressure and meet deadlines
  • Ability to work independently and in a team environment
  • High proficiency with computers and Microsoft Office applications (Word and Excel)
  • Previous sponsorship, special event experience and/or event management experience
  • Experience in the non-profit section a major asset

Please submit cover letter, resumé and the names and phone numbers of 3 references attached as a PDF to melissa@drivenaccelerator.com

We thank everyone who applies for their interest, but only candidates selected for an interview are contacted. No telephone or walk-in inquiries please. All applications are considered confidential.