With my marketing consultant hat on, I attended Startup Canada’s Town Hall meeting today at SFU’s Beedie Business School. It was part of a nation-wide tour to spur discussion of entrepreneurship in Canada. There were some great speakers there, including entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, tech incubators and university knowledge transfer advocates.

During the town hall, one of the key ideas that emerged was the value of social capital and community building. In fact, when the people at my table were tasked with finding a solution to supporting entrepreneurs, we came up with an idea for building more resources to connect people to the entrepreneur community. And people at other tables were also expressing ideas for building community and entrepreneurship.

The funny thing, though, was that the event wasn’t really set up for networking. Usually, the real value in a conference comes from what gets done outside the speaker sessions. Yet there wasn’t a before and after networking session and there weren’t any coffee breaks (or even washroom breaks). And the event was so jam-packed with speakers that, aside from one panel, there wasn’t much opportunity to ask questions.

With that many people in the room, it would have been great to have more opportunities to build connections.

Still, there were some great minds in the room and it was super to see how we’re all working toward the same goal of building a strong entrepreneur environment for Canada.

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