Small businesses today are facing even more challenges than normal. They’ve had to reimagine entire processes and shift online to get many of their products and services to customers due to COVID-19 and lockdowns across the country. Just last year, online shopping for purchases of over-the-counter (OTC) medicine, groceries, household supplies, and personal-care products had grown by 35%.
With that in mind, Moneris teamed up with Elevate to bring eCommerce North, Canada’s first ecommerce accelerator, to small businesses and startups across the country. This highly specialized program will help grow these founders into high-powered players in the ecommerce space while building social impact into everything they do. They’ll also have access to guidance from a diverse collection of experts and mentors to help make their goals a reality.
We connected with Bruce Nanton, Chief Operations Officer at Moneris, about taking on the role of Corporate-in-Residence for eCommerce North and what he’s most looking forward to as we approach the program kickoff in May.
As the Corporate-in-Residence mentor, how will you be supporting the founders that are participating in the accelerator?
My job as a Corporate-in-Residence mentor is all about making connections and finding solutions for startups who are facing any number of challenges. That could mean connecting them to opportunities through Moneris, Elevate or one of our many partners, to expand their customer base, explore investment opportunities, or find products or services that can improve their day-to-day operations.
I’m really looking forward to connecting one-on-one with these amazing founders and using my experience and knowledge to help focus on their unique needs and goals. This isn’t a one-size-fits-all program, it’s an opportunity to explore what makes these startups special and working to amplify that together.
What can founders expect during the six-month accelerator program?
We’re going to be providing a completely digital experience for our founders. There will be a mix of tactical and strategy workshops, talks from experienced entrepreneurs, and plenty of networking opportunities. The goal is to build on the foundation that these startups have already nurtured. We’ll cover everything from sales and growth marketing, all the way to financing and hiring the right people as they grow. It’s a holistic strategy that will be the key to taking them to the next level.
We’ll also be checking in with our founders throughout the program so we can ensure they have the support they need as they go through this process.
How will equity and wellbeing be at the forefront of this accelerator?
Being a startup founder is incredibly stressful, and that has only been amplified by COVID-19 and the lockdowns across the country. We’re committed to recognizing the impact, and helping founders navigate those highs and lows while remaining profitable.
We want to make sure we move away from the hustle culture that has become so prevalent today and instead focus on helping our founders find balance. We can do that by making sure they know we’re there to support them every step of the way but also work on giving them the tools they need to strike that balance on their own in the future.
I think it’s also really important to mention our 50/30 commitment to making sure 50% of our founders identify as female and 30% of our founders will be from underrepresented communities, including racialized persons, people living with disabilities and members of the LGBTQ2 community. We want to make sure we’re fostering inclusivity from the start when it comes to the equity and wellbeing of those in the program too.
What are you most looking forward to as a program mentor for eCommerce North?I am most looking forward to helping these founders grow their businesses and excel. While ecommerce businesses are soaring right now there are still many people who are struggling with how to build their business online. This program is intended to help companies gain experience, grow their networks and hopefully they will also be able to help others succeed too.
What is one piece of advice that you have for the founders joining this first cohort?Use this opportunity to learn and meet others. That could be meeting other founders, similar businesses or building contacts and networks. There is so much information to share and learn from this program and we are just glad to be a part of it and we’re looking forward to helping businesses achieve their goals
ConclusionWe’re going to be keeping you updated with more stories from the eCommerce North program, so be sure to keep an eye out on Insights. If you or someone you know is interested in participating in the program next year, you can learn more here.
The information in this article is provided solely for informational purposes and is not intended to be legal, business or other professional advice or an endorsement of any of the websites or services listed.