Celebrating a strong, creative, resilient Lunenburg County
NOW, MORE THAN EVER...
BY MARGARET HOEGG
Andrew Button is less concerned about the type of business someone wants to build, and more about empowering them to see themselves as entrepreneurs. “I’m not working with entrepreneurs with business ideas. I’m working with people with
business ideas,” he said over coffee at his co-working space in downtown Bridgewater, Nova Scotia.
Button has worked with over 1000 entrepreneurs in rural communities through his Mashup Lab business. His Dream Business Incubator Program gives participants like me a six month runway on which to launch a viable business.
The first six week “boot camp” provides us with tools and coaching that help us develop a strategic and dynamic business . plan.
Most programs offer a traditional approach structured around writing lengthy business plans. While it works for some sectors, Button doesn’t feel it serves the other 95% of businesses in rural communities.
Instead, Button has taken some of the tools and ideas proven to be successful for digital and technology startups and looks at how to apply them to traditional types of businesses. “The intellectual property of Mashup Lab exists in that translation of some of these tools,” he said, “and helping to frame them up in the context of the businesses that most people are trying to build in rural communities.” startups wanted
A real world business needs to be responsive - when something is no longer effective, you need to be open to trying new things. About his own business, he said “I’ve fallen in love with the problem I’m trying to solve. I haven’t fallen in love with the way in which I’m trying to solve it.”
How do you know when something won’t work? When I ask him questions along those lines, Andrew’s answer is: “your customers will tell you.” We meet weekly for the first six weeks, then bi-weekly for 60 days until the moment of truth: Pitch night. This is when we each stand up in front of an audience and speak for five minutes about our business and where we are headed. For those who continue into the final 90 day phase, there’s also a chance to access up to $5,000 worth of startup services, from branding strategy to digital marketing.
The program has expanded through a recent partnership with NSCC that allows Button to offer the Dream Business Incubator program for free to ten people each session. Furthermore, all of Mashup Lab’s services are accessible online, which opens it up to almost anyone, anywhere.
Button’s innovation and elevated mindset offers something unique and progressive in the Atlantic region. With the rise of new technology, there is an opportunity for people to create their ideal job and build resilient, thriving rural communities. “All of those dynamics are putting Mashup Lab in a position to really light a fire under some of that entrepreneurial potential and introduce a new way of exploring business ideas in rural Atlantic Canada.” Find out more about Andrew Button and Mashup Lab at www.mashuplab.ca