Welcome to the Toronto Waterloo Corridor. And guess what? Startup Tech Unleashed is certainly right smack in the middle of it. Both of our current Ontario monthly meetups are a part of this integral concept.
What is the TOWR Corridor?
It is a geographical segment of Ontario that stretches from Toronto and surrounding area to the Waterloo and surrounding area. According to Google Maps, the distance is 114 kilometers from city centre to city centre. Driving by car, it is a reasonable 90 minute trek down the 401.
It has been adopted by mayors of all cities, which include John Tory of Toronto, Berry Vrbanovic of Kitchener, and Dave Jaworsky of Waterloo. In fact, all 3 mayors visited Silicon Valley in April 2016 to entice American companies to expand operations in the Toronto Waterloo Corridor. The Toronto Starreported that Tory talked up, “…maternity leave, healthcare and Toronto being a safe city with mention of the diverse politics currently embroiling the US contrasted to Canada’s barrier-breaking and down to earth political leaders”.
The talent pool is enormous, diverse, and extremely well educated. Thecorridor.ca notes that 6 million people make up this talent pool. With a total of 16 colleges and universities in the Toronto and Waterloo cities, the studies and programs of graduates is quite broad yet also very specialized. Many companies introduce themselves to schools and student before graduation to scoop up some amazing graduates. Alternatively, many people with fantastic work experience also reside in these areas.
When your tech startup is ready to expand, competing with larger, established companies can be a challenge. As much a risk hiring a college grad is, such as a developer with a lot more enthusiasm than experience is to your business, the graduate is taking risks as well. Same goes for candidates with years of experience under their belt.
Competing with other startups and established companies might seem daunting, but applying these four strategies can help you compete for, and contract top talent for your startup.
1. Build Cool Tech Which Will Make a Difference
There are many startups out there building apps to make money, chase after the same customers which are already being served by established players, and generally not delivering much value to anyone. Addressing a defined business or personal need, and creating strategic value will attract more talent.
As much as your business wants the recognition of introducing the next “killer app” to the market, or address a problem which other tech companies have struggled with for years, new graduates want to kick start their career with a project they can showcase on their resume. Landing, and keeping top talent requires investment, commitment to innovate, and strategic value.
2. Loyalty and Commitment to Team
If your company gets a reputation of firing employees who make mistakes early on, word travels fast. Your earliest n of a revolving door. who have experience with empowering teams to success, and have them play an active role in the hiring process.
The last thing a startup needs is a reputation of letting new hires go at the first sign of trouble. Coach, empower and support your teams to succeed, and workplace morale will benefit. The cost of searching for, recruiting and contracting new staff exceeds coaching and empowering people who are already working for you.
3. Communicate Frequently, Set Common Goals
Once you hire staff of any age, ensure you keep to your playbook as far as:
Your strategic differentiators and unique selling proposition
Your company goals
The timelines you have established to meet your growth targets
Millennials often get a bad rap in terms of their career objectives and work ethic. But with effective career guidance, some flexibility with work environment or work hours, and prioritizing deliverables over rules, millennials can be top contributors to your company. 9-5 hours don’t necessarily produce the best results, so consider flex hours, or telecommuting/home office flexibility for tenured employees.
4. Community Engagement and Intrapreneurship
Just because your company is a startup, doesn’t mean you can’t play a role in your local community. Community groups and causes can be a great source of energy, ideas and strategic partnerships:
Local maker spaces, innovation hubs and accelerator events
Don’t just send your founders to these events, have your whole team go to network with like-minded technologists, designers and developers. Keep an eye out for new partnerships, contractors for upcoming projects, and talent that might be looking for a new opportunity to contribute to a winning team.
If your startup technology company is seeking talented leaders, creative staff or technical bench strength, consider these opportunities to:
Connect with your local and industry community groups
Empower your team to attract their extended network
Reinforce your goals, and define the value you deliver to customers
Communicate with your team to create a supportive, transparent work environment
If you are looking for other ways to grow your startup technology firm, connect with Startup Tech Unleashed and join us at an upcoming event.