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    November 16 Mentorship Questions

    To help the mentors to prepare in advance, please include the three key questions or topics that you would like to focus on
    1. Pitch preparation - Who is the audience/who are we pitching to? Feedback on the bitcompact website. Is the value and impact clear? How does the website as it is score according to the rubric (judging criteria) below. I guess the Linux on Mobile theme is not currently clear.

    2. Recruitment of E-Commerce specialists. How to find a good one? Managing remote workers. Negotiating compensation. Recommend software tools? I've been able to find 50+ candidates thru LinkedIn but it's difficult to find/vet remote workers I can trust. Many are in 3rd world countries like Pakistan. Are they worth the risk?

      Is there something like Github, but for marketing/sales types?

    3. Soliciting general feedback. What am I missing? Is there anything you think I should know? Issues with selling refurbished electronics on Amazon marketplace. Cannot scale up.

     Don't have the high volume & margin, wide selection, demand of say a jewelry store or adult toy store.

  • Here is an overview of the product/service idea pitch format for each participant for the Nov. 23rd Showcase:

    • 5-7 min. product/service pitch ¬†
      • Fundamental elements to include:
        • your unique approach to solving a specific problem
        • how your idea has further developed
        • your customer discovery insights from interviews
        • your supply chain development, and
        • your next plans/steps
      • Tips:
        • incorporate the criteria of the Showcase Pitch Evaluation Rubric (see image below)
        • use powerpoint, images, examples and/or models if applicable
    • 3-5 min. questions from mentors ¬†

    With the Showcase, there are fund opportunities:

    • Founders Award: $1,000 for the 'Most developed start-up idea'
    • Available for each participant: $200, $300 or $500 micro-grants
      • amount based on showcase pitch evaluation rubric and completion of activities¬†

    Here is the Showcase Pitch Evaluation Rubric:

  • ¬†






  • Start-up / Workplace Culture

  • Start-up / Workplace culture is what can make your start-up unique. It is a combination of your beliefs, values, interactions, attitudes, and behaviours.

    With the previous activity, we are working on further developing our product/service idea, and preparing for the showcase.

    For this activity, take some time to consider what is important for your start-up workplace culture. 


  • Workplace culture has been described as the 'heartbeat', 'character' or 'personality' of a start-up or company, and many people describe it as being a key determining factor for why they apply to, stay or leave a specific position.

    Defining and building a workplace culture for your start-up right from the start is foundational as it supports every aspect of your business. 

  • ¬†

  • ¬†



  • Consider the following¬†traits¬†and potential impact of these two distinctive types of workplace cultures.

  • Traits of a negative start-up workplace culture

  • The following traits often lead to procrastination, resentment and apathy that can contribute to challenges or failures that could have been prevented:

    • Gossip in the office:¬† Having a workplace culture where gossip is the norm can cause conflicts among colleagues, and can create¬†a breakdown in communication.
    • Lack of transparency: Limited business updates or lack of information sharing, especially in times of uncertainty or a challenge, may cause staff to question or feel unsure; and over time can result in a breakdown of trust.
    • Unfriendly competition: Healthy competition can help grow a business, but competition as a focal point can create strain and animosity between colleagues,¬†or create ineffective practices for dealing with challenges.
    • Lack of cooperation:¬† An atmosphere of anti-cooperation will inhibit the full potential of the team, and may lead to delays or incompletion of objectives and goals.¬†
    • Excessive tardiness & absenteeism: Not being punctual or being repeatedly absent can be a sign of disengagement. If it becomes standard practice in the workplace, it can also set a complacent tone for accomplishing goals and meeting deadlines.
    • Poor internal communication: ¬†Poor, lack or limited communication within the workplace can result in mistakes being made, misrepresentation of the company, and/or miscommunication with customers and partners.¬†¬†

    It is natural that any of these traits will surface in the workplace, however, if they are not addressed or worked on, they can lead to unnecessary stress, mental fatigue and burnout. 

  • ¬†

  • raits of a positive start-up workplace culture

  • The following traits often lead to motivation, inspiration, and aspiration that supports success with all aspects of a start-up:

    • Effective communication: From written messages and business documents to meetings and conversations, clear, focussed communication brings clarity, provides purpose, and¬†supports community and collaboration.¬†
    • Peaceful atmosphere:¬† Having a peaceful working environment limits distractions, supports focus, increases creativity and encourages productivity.
    • Clear objectives¬†and goals: Setting and focussing on tangible goals - for the whole team and each individual team member - gives a sense of a common purpose and focus, as well as individual¬†value.¬†
    • Diversity and inclusion: Having team members with a broad range of skills, capacities & expertise, varied worldviews and ways of thinking, and from different backgrounds and cultures supports developing new ideas and creative problem-solving when issues arise.
    • Failures are learned from: A common start-up phrase is "fail fast and fail forward". Learning from mistakes can unlock new levels of success, promote trying new approaches, and help to adapt the changing start-up landscape.¬†
    • Autonomy is encouraged: Encouraging team members independence to complete work in way that is most productive for them builds trust, respect and capacity.

    All of these elements reduce stress, mental fatigue and overall burnout, and ensure more time and energy to complete goals and grow a great start-up. 

    A 'Founders tip' for a positive start-up/ workplace culture:

    • Be visible, mindful and¬†available: as the leader of the start-up, how and what you say and do sets the tone for your start-up culture and what is acceptable and valued.¬†¬†
  • ¬†================================


    Here is a possible template for 5-7 min. Nov. 23rd Showcase Pitch

    Please use this template as a guide to help organize your Showcase pitch if you wish. 

    A slidedeck/PowerPoint optional.

    Link to Showcase Activity:

    • Product/service idea¬†[Explain in 1-2 statements/‚Äôsentences‚Äô, approx. 30 sec.]

      • What is your product/service?¬†

      • Who benefits from your product/service?

    • Unique approach to solving a specific problem¬†[State in 1-2 statements/‚Äôsentences‚Äô, approx. 30 sec.]

      • What problem solving or supporting?

      • How is your product/service different from potential competitors?

    • Idea development¬†[Summarize in 2-5 statements/‚Äôsentences‚Äô, approx. 30-60 sec.]

      • Has¬† your initial idea further developed since the beginning of Founders Fundamentals? And how?¬†

    • Customer discovery insights from interviews¬†[Elaborate in 1.5- 2.5 min]

      • What have you learned from customer discovery interviews?¬†

      • How has it supported & evolved your product/service idea?¬†

    • Supply chain development¬†[Detail in 1.5 - 2.5 min]

      • What are the main links in your product/service supply chain?¬†¬†

        • For a product idea, define how the product¬† is made and how you will deliver it to the user/customer¬†¬†

        • For a service idea, define what the service is and how you will provide it to the user/customer¬†¬†

    • Next plans/steps¬†[State in 1-2 statements/‚Äôsentences‚Äô, approx. 30 sec]

      • What is your plan for after the program - proceed, pause or pivot?

      • What is one step (e.g. register for an incubator or accelerator), make a business plan, set up)?

      • What is one thing / step you could use the micro-grant for?

    Micah Louison

    Program Developer & Outreach Coordinator 

    MindFuel (

    O: 403.220.0077  | E:

    Suite 260, 3512 33 St. NW, Calgary, AB T2L 2A6





    Founders Fundamentals is nearing its conclusion - we can’t believe it!


    We have been enjoying our time together so much, and hope that it’s brought you nuggets of founder insights and inspiration. You have inspired us, and we are really looking forward to hearing everyone’s pitch at the Showcase next Tuesday, November 23rd from 8:00-10:00am.


    We are excited to share that each Founder is eligible for the micro-grants. There will be three mentors sharing feedback and questions at the Showcase, and they will help us with the micro-grant values ($200, $300 & $500) based on the Showcase Evaluation rubric (see attachment). 


    As is with every start-up/business, and especially in the early stages, that each founder is at a very different place and pace, and we encourage everyone to share their learnings and where they are at in their pitch with no pressure or worries. The Showcase is a time to share our learnings, support each other, and celebrate the wins along the way. There is no set expectation that your product/service idea must be at a certain stage. 


    If any questions come up before the Showcase, or you would like to brainstorm some ideas or receive some feedback, please just let us know. We’re happy to connect.


    Here is the Showcase Timeline:

    • 8:00-9:15am: Welcome and Product/service pitch¬†
      • 5-7 minutes per pitch with 3-5 minutes questions from judges¬†
      • For the order of the pitches, we‚Äôll draw names¬†


    • 9:15-9:45am: Reflections & learnings¬†
      • Mentor judges deliberate on award & micro-grants¬†


    • 9:45-10:00am: Share micro-grants, and Closing


    Please just let us know if any questions come to mind or any clarification is needed. 


    Looking forward to seeing you at the Showcase!

    Cheers, Micah and Sabina