Communities and Startups: Does it Take the Whole Village to Build Them Up?

Nima Mohtaram
May 16, 2024
ventureLAB News

We have been often told that it takes a village to build up a startup. And indeed, that is 100% true. But where is this village, and how can my community help?

My name is Nima Khadem Mohtaram, currently an advisor at ventureLAB, helping MedTech companies with their business development milestones. By training, I have earned my Ph.D. in mechanical engineering with a specialization in Biomedical Engineering. I am a former faculty member at the Program of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Waterloo. I am also a serial entrepreneur and have served as the former President of the Canadian Biomaterials Society where I founded the Entrepreneurs Committee assisting mentees in gaining the best knowledge of entrepreneurship in Life Sciences and medical technologies. My main expertise lies in strategic networking, business development, sales and marketing and fundraising. This is where my passion lies when it comes to coaching entrepreneurs and founders at ventureLAB. 

I think we need to take a different approach when building a startup here in Canada. Canada has  a unique culture of collaboration in the tech ecosystem. Just by looking at several incubators and accelerators across Canada, we can clearly see that there is a tremendous amount of support from the federal, provincial, and municipal levels as well as diverse industrial resources in each province. 

These organizations not only provide tangible resources, but also offer a valuable strategic network brought by their advisors. Despite the support and the resources, entrepreneurs still face numerous  challenges when it comes to introducing their product into the market, raising money and bringing awareness to their society. I believe this is the point where we can rely on our Community to play a key role in easing the journey for entrepreneurs. 

The community is exactly the village when we refer to our famous phrase, as we say “It takes the whole village”. Engagement with your community is everything. Spread the work and let your community know the innovative technology that your company has been working on. You will see how much the community respects and supports you. It is not just about raising capital, but also raising awareness of your products and offerings. We need to focus more on ‘’Awareness raising’’ rather than ‘’fundraising’’.

I spend a lot of time volunteering at different leadership levels in my community. I was the former board member at the Aurora Chamber of Commerce, and now sit on the board of Aurora Economic Development and Philanthropy Cabinet at Southlake Foundation, which is responsible for providing funds to Southlake Regional Health Center in York Region. In all of these positions, I try to echo the voice of importance of ‘’Community Engagement’’ and highlight the impact of innovation and entrepreneurs in our community. We need to engage, give back, witness the growth of our knowledge-based economy and celebrate its growth together, as it takes the whole village to be successful in our collective entrepreneurial journey. 

Here at ventureLAB, we strongly focus on community engagement, and advisors share their valuable network to further facilitate the relationship build up between entrepreneurs and the community. At ventureLAB, I am also leading a couple of initiatives, such as promoting our MedTech lab and the expansion of our MedTech portfolio within our ecosystem. By connecting with key players in our region, I am focused on how the MedTech community can unite to address the needs of our  entrepreneurs. Building strategic relationships with different entities in our community can not only increase  visibility of our resources but also enrich the MedTech community with more valuable sustainability for their growth.

About Nima Khadem Mohtaram 

Nima is a seasoned advisor at ventureLAB, and the Co-founder and CEO of Trillium Meditec Inc. a company developing and commercializing innovative hydrogels to treat Osteoarthritis. He initiates, identifies, and coordinates the analysis of complex client needs in project areas such as: new/existing business operating models, innovative approaches to solutions support, market research of emerging or available product functionality and operational readiness assessment.

About ventureLAB

ventureLAB is a leading global founder community for hardware technology and enterprise software companies in Canada. Located at the heart of Ontario’s innovation corridor in York Region, ventureLAB is part of one of the biggest and most diverse tech communities in Canada. Our initiatives focused on raising capital, talent retention, commercializing technology and IP, and customer acquisition have enabled thousands of companies to create over 6,800 jobs and raise more than $420 million in investment capital. ventureLAB is powering HardTech founders to build and scale globally competitive ventures that advance Canada's knowledge-based economy.

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