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Startupville

Startupville is …

A podcast featuring interviews with startup founders and tech community leaders discussing what it is like to build a startup – and a startup ecosystem – in a small city.

Startupville is brought to you by Innovation Place and Martin Charlton Communications.

Stay in touch with the friendly folks of Startupville.


Latest Episode

Blood in the Water

with Neil Anderson of SkillShark

"I thought to myself, ‘We just spent eight hours in the dust gathering all this data, and all you’re doing is adding up five columns into a single number and ranking the kids best to worst.’ And in my mind, there was just so much more that could be done with the data."

— Neil Anderson

We talked with Neil Anderson of SkillShark.

The best ideas often come from lived experience. As a softball coach, Neil experienced firsthand the long, tedious process of athlete evaluations which still involved pen and paper, and mountains of unreliable data that weren’t being used to their full potential.

So, he took matters into his own hands, and what started as a complex excel spreadsheet is now a user-friendly digital platform that’s revolutionizing how athletes are being evaluated around the world. From youth sports’ young rising stars, to professional, and even Olympic athletes, With most coaches around the world still using pen and paper, there’s blood in the water for SkillShark.


Episode 58

An Impactful Partnership

with Thomas Benjoe of FHQ Developments and Denis Carignan of PLATO Testing

"My message to those that will listen is that, succeeding in this space requires development of the talent first. That includes supporting the talent. Not just in the training, but after the training there’s support to ensure those individuals are successful."

— Denis Carignan

We talked with Thomas Benjoe of FHQ Developments and Denis Carignan of PLATO Testing.

In 2015, PLATO Testing identified software testing, a service primarily outsourced to other countries, as an opportunity to help bring more Indigenous people into the ICT industry. Since then, they have trained more than 150 Indigenous people, many of whom still work for the company today.

In 2019, they partnered with FHQ Developments, the economic development corporation for the File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council in Saskatchewan. Through this partnership, they created PLATO Sask, a Saskatchewan-based, Indigenous-owned software testing business that offers training and employment for Indigenous people in Saskatchewan.

The partnership has been a great success, both in continuing to grow the booming Saskatchewan tech industry, and in providing a path into the sector for people who previously had limited access to the opportunities and resources needed to do so.

So we wanted to chat with Thomas and Denis to learn more about their story, and what they’ve learned that can help others in the tech sector increase access to opportunity and build more inclusive companies.

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Episode 57

It’s Now or Never

with Jared Fedorchuk of Levis Tech

"It [was] now or never. In terms of the economy, and where we [were] at as a company, it [was] time to do the pivot that we [needed] to do."

— Jared Fedorchuk

We talked with Jared Fedorchuk, CEO and Partner of Levis Tech about their journey as a company. How they started life as a digital agency, and followed their expertise, and the market to change their business.

They’ve even started to dive into the startup world, spinning off some of their proprietary tech into products of their own, moving some of their business from a service-based model, to a software-as-a-service product-based model. We talked with Jared about the factors that led to their recent pivots, and where Levis is headed into the future.

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Episode 56

Building a Foundation for Building Games

with Darcy McLane of SaskInteractive

"You can quote me: It’s a small scene, but it’s growing."

— Darcy McLane

We talked with Darcy McLane, Executive Director of SaskInteractive. Darcy was on the show last April to talk about the labour market and economic impact study that quantified the massive growth of the Saskatchewan tech sector in the years prior.

The study was a good barometer of where the Saskatchewan tech sector sat heading into the pandemic, so we caught up with Darcy about where things are at today after nearly a year.

But, SaskInteractive does a lot more than measure the Saskatchewan tech sector, and we wanted to talk about what they’re doing to help kickstart the Saskatchewan game development community. While there might not be many big game companies in the province, there are tons of people making games who are desperate for a community of support. We talked with Darcy about how he and SaskInteractive are helping to bring those people together and build a strong foundation to grow the video game sector in the province.

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Episode 55

Filling Big Shoes

with Matt Stefan of Co.Labs

"That’s really exciting to me. That you sort of have this moment where the stars are aligning, where there’s been all this uphill battle to get Co.Labs and the tech scene to where it is today. Where people are focusing on it, and we have all these elements that they don’t have in larger centres, where we’re not fractured."

— Matt Stefan

We talked with Matt Stefan, the new Executive Director of Co.Labs, Saskatoon’s tech incubator.

In under four years, Co.Labs has already left a lasting legacy on the Saskatchewan tech community, thanks in no small part to its recently departed co-founders Jordan Dutchak and Alex Shimla. They’ve left two pairs of big shoes to fill, and if anybody is up to the task, it’s Matt Stefan.

A Saskatchewan native, Matt is returning to the province from the Toronto tech scene to lead Co.Labs into its next chapter. We talked with Matt about making the move back to his home-province, and his vision for Co.Labs moving forward.

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Episode 54

Community is Currency

with David Crossman of Citrus

"We’re going to grow as a community, we’re going to learn, and really focus on problems that hit close to home."

— David Crossman

We talked with David Crossman, Co-Founder and CTO of Citrus, and Founder of HackRegina.

Much has changed in David’s life over the last year. He went from a solo founder spinning his tires to a Co-founder speeding down the track, and the tech community he helped build was thrown headfirst into a global pandemic. So we talked with David about his journey of perseverance as an entrepreneur, and where Citrus and the Regina tech scene as a whole is heading into the future.

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Dan Gold

Your Host

Dan Gold

Dan Gold MPRCA, hails from the south of England where he started out in the IT industry, although media was his first love.

In the ‘90s, he made the leap into broadcasting, working for Europe’s largest radio network. In 2007, Dan was enticed to London to work for a firm which would become a part of The Economist Group, producing strategic content for global brands in fashion and luxury, automotive, sports, finance, aviation, tech, health, and education.

While in London, Dan worked on campaigns that engaged millions of people worldwide on TV, radio, and online. After more than 4,440 productions and content on every major news and entertainment network, Dan made the move to North America to continue his storytelling journey with Martin Charlton Communications.

Mike Wolsfeld

Producer

Mike Wolsfeld

Mike is a born-and-raised small city advocate from Saskatoon, Canada.

With a background in building communities, as Collaboration Specialist with Innovation Place he works closely with the tech community from startup founders, students, firms and support systems to connect the dots and the people that need connecting.

Mike is a strong believer that a lot of big fish working together can turn a small pond into a blue ocean.