UNB’s Pond-Deshpande Centre (PDC) and J.Herbert Smith Centre are co-organizing New Brunswick’s first East Coast Startup Week alongside PropelICT/Launch 36, User Events, the New Brunswick Innovation Foundation and Startup Kitchen.

Taking place March 20-24, the East Coast Startup Week allows early-stage entrepreneurs the chance to connect with successful entrepreneurs and innovators and solicit advice from leaders in the field.  Budding entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas to potential investors or partners.

Through programs such as East Coast Startup Week, UNB aims to provide its students with the opportunity to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams. UNB President Eddy Campbell points out that today’s workforce places a premium on hard skills, hands-on experience and entrepreneurial literacy.

“Without a doubt, the jobs, opportunities, and wealth of tomorrow will be created by private entrepreneurs willing to test their ideas in a crowded and competitive marketplace,” said Dr. Campbell. “Initiatives such as Startup Week allow our students to not only be prepared for this new reality, it gives them the tools to lead it.”

In all, more than 30 new business ventures will be vetted through Startup Week’s activities.  Some of the planned events include:

20 Mentor Minutes will provide 16 early-stage entrepreneurs with the opportunity to pitch their ideas and receive valuable feedback and advice in a series of 20-minute intervals from high-profile mentors such as Desh Deshpande, Gerry Pond, Raj Melville and Sanjay Singhal. This will take place on March 21 at the Fredericton Convention Centre. Spots are limited. Interested individuals can apply online.

Social Enterprise Development Dialog will take place on Thursday, Mar. 21, from 5-9:30 p.m. and Friday, Mar. 22, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Fredericton Inn. Hosted by Pond-Deshpande Centre and ‘Changes’, this event will bring together the region’s aspiring and practicing change agents, including those from non-profit leadership, government, academia, socially responsible corporations and aspiring social entrepreneurs Keynote speakers are Desh Deshpande and David LePage. There is an exciting speaker line up including Zita Cobb of the Shorefast Foundation, Penny Rowe of the Community Sector Council of Newfoundland and Labrador, and Anne Miller of SiMPACT and many more. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn how people are making a huge impact on their communities and within the world. Become part of this important dialog. Register through Eventbrite.

Part of the conference will involve a social entrepreneurship pitch competition where $5,500 in prizes will be awarded.  Only 10 spots are available, so don’t miss this opportunity – apply now.

The TME Lunch and Learn With Dan Martell will take place on Friday, March 22 at 12:30 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. Hosted by UNB’s J. Herbert Smith Centre for Technology Management and Entrepreneurship, New Brunswick serial entrepreneur Dan Martell, the “Canadian Angel Investor of the Year,” will speak on the “Five Entrepreneurial Beliefs.” There is no charge for this event, just register by email.

The first ever Startup Weekend in New Brunswick will be held March 22-24 in the Alumni Memorial Building. This is organized by Startup Kitchen in partnership with the Pond-Deshpande Centre and Tech SouthEast. All Startup Weekends around the world follow the same model. Participants pitch their startup ideas and receive feedback. Teams with various skill sets form around business ideas and there is a 54-hour weekend of designing, building and market validation with guidance from successful entrepreneurs.  The weekends culminate with presentations in front of local entrepreneurial leaders with another opportunity for critical feedback. If you have ever dreamed of starting your own venture-this is the place to start. Register now to start making it happen.

All program information and registration details can be access through the events page on the East Coast Startup Weekend website.