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Ever wondered what it takes to be an entrepreneur?

The professional and personal challenges, the high and lows, the failures and the success? Startup Weekend is a global grassroots movement of active and empowered entrepreneurs who are learning the basics of founding startups and launching successful ventures. It is the largest community of passionate entrepreneurs with over 400 past events in 100 countries around the world in 2011.

The non-profit organization is headquartered in Seattle, Washington but Startup Weekend organizers and facilitators can be found in over 200 cities around the world. From Mongolia to South Africa to London to Brazil, people around the globe are coming together for weekend long workshops to pitch ideas, form teams, and start companies.

All Startup Weekend events follow the same basic model: anyone is welcome to pitch their startup idea and receive feedback from their peers. Teams organically form around the top ideas (as determined by popular vote) and then it’s a 54 hour frenzy of business model creation, coding, designing, and market validation. The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback.

Whether entrepreneurs found companies, find a cofounder, meet someone new, or learn a skill far outside their usual 9-to-5, everyone is guaranteed to leave the event better prepared to navigate the chaotic but fun world of startups. If you want to put yourself in the shoes of an entrepreneur, register now for the best weekend of your life!

We’re excited to be bringing a special edition of Startup Weekend to Ottawa for our October event – Startup Weekend: Change the Ratio.  What makes this event special?  It’s about changing the ratio in the tech-space by providing the opportunity for the aspiring women (and men) entrepreneurs in our community to (1) get inspired by an idea/product/team… perhaps even enough to explore starting their own venture, or (2) become more connected with other brilliant entrepreneurially-minded individuals in Ottawa and thus more engaged within our local entrepreneurial ecosystem. The entrepreneurial talent we see from women in Ottawa is inspiring, and we are excited about creating an event that will showcase it. Is this a “Women’s Only” event?  Absolutely not. Our goal isn’t to create a gender-restricted event, but to increase the number of women who participate. To help with that, we’re encouraging male participants to invite and encourage the women in their networks to participate with them. Since Ottawa Startup Weekend is about connecting entrepreneurial women (and men) through the process of building exciting companies, we want to connect them to the best resources and people out there – that includes both men and women. That said, to ensure that we maintain a high percentage of female participants, the number of tickets we issue to men will be limited (there will be a wait list). If you’re a man who wants to attend, find a female participant to bring you along, and do so quickly! (Note: Each female participant can only bring one male participant.) Will the participants be required to pitch or work on “women-focused” startup ideas? No, participants can pitch and work on any kind of startup idea they wish and all attendees are encouraged to pitch ideas.

We’re here to answer any questions or concerns you might have – so don’t hesitate to reach out to one of the organizers!

See you in October!



Oct 3
  • Registration & Networking
  • Dinner
  • Kickoff & Welcome
  • Icebreaker Activity
  • Attendee Pitches Start
  • Attendees vote for the top ideas
  • Teams start forming/recruiting
  • Team check in
  • Finished for the day. Go home and try to get some sleep.


Oct 4
  • Doors
  • Breakfast
  • Breakfast Seminar: Looper Labs
  • All teams briefing meeting
  • Scheduled Mentor office hours begin
  • Lunch
  • Mid weekend check-in. Status reports & call for help
  • Scheduled Mentor office hours end
  • Dinner
  • Finished for the day. Go home and try to get some sleep.


Oct 5
  • Doors
  • Breakfast
  • All teams briefing meeting
  • Scheduled Mentor office hours
  • Lunch
  • Start prepping for presentations
  • Presentation dry-run and tech-check for all teams
  • Stop working. Tidy up your work area. Prep for Judges & Sunday audience to arrive
  • Judges arrive & registration for Sunday-only audience
  • Final Presentations begin
  • Awards & Wrap-up
  • Go home!

Tanya Snook

Tech Blogger and Co-Chair, UXCamp Ottawa   |   LinkedInGoogle+

Tanya Snook has spent her 15 year career bouncing between the public and private sectors. Her experience spans corporate, internal and e-communications, web and software design, information management and user experience. She is an avid fan of technology and its impact on culture, and is happiest when nerding out on Lego, Star Wars or technology giving away information on the Twitters, or sipping espresso.


Susan Richards, FCMA

The Casual CFO   |   LinkedIn

Susan Richards is a contract CFO, and Co-Founder of Givopoly. Equal parts entrepreneur and accountant, Susan takes a holistic approach to business strategy and says that is the value she brings to the executive table.

A Certified Management Accountant (CMA), Susan has had an active career in Ottawa, including CFO positions of a number of local tech companies including Magmic, bitHeads, Chipworks, and Momentous.

Susan has received employment awards throughout her career including a 2009 Leadership Award presented by CMA Ontario & Canadian Business Magazine for business achievement for creative vision and “Intuition”. In 2010, Susan was one of 14 appointed to become a Fellow of the Society of CMAs of Canada (FCMA). The FMCA designation demonstrates excellence in management accounting, commitment to and pride in the profession, and a civic mindedness that brings community respect.

In her non-core hours, Susan is a big community supporter and has served on the Board of Governors for CMA Ontario, the steering committee for OCRI’s Dollars and Sense program, and has volunteered for many local non-profits.

Tracey Clark

President & CEO, Bridgehead Coffee   |   LinkedIn

Tracey Clark is President and CEO of Bridgehead Coffee. Bridgehead Links small scale farmers with consumers through fair trade. Bridgehead operates a Roastery, and fifteen coffeehouses in Ottawa, as well as a scratch Bakery and Kitchen. Tracey holds an MBA and was awarded a Fellowship in International Development Management from the Again Khan Foundation. Her voluntary work in includes serving as the Chair of Hub Ottawa, and as a member of the Impact Investment Committee of the Ottawa Community Foundation. She enjoys cooking, many outdoor pursuits and time with her family.

Myles Foster
Krissie Thornton
Cheryl Draper
Renee Tavares
Silver Sponsors
Contributing Sponsors


by Paul Austin-Menear

As we count down the final days to Startup Weekend Ottawa 5.0, we’ve got some exciting news to report about [...]