Small Business Briefing

Entrepreneurs eager to board floating startup incubator

The Globe and Mail

Conceptual image of Blueseed (BLUESEED INC.)

The latest news and information for entrepreneurs from across the web universe, brought to you by the Report on Small Business team. Follow us on Twitter @GlobeSmallBiz. Download our app here.

Canadians among startups interested in being part of Blueseed

Nearly 140 startups from more than 40 nations have expressed interest in jumping aboard Blueseed, a floating startup community for tech entrepreneurs that aims to offer a visa-free incubator environment on board a ship in international waters near Silicon Valley.

Story continues below ad

Among them so far are seven Canadians, representing 5 per cent of the total and fourth in the ranking of nations, according to a new survey from Blueseed, which aims to launch in the third quarter of 2013.

The venture, the brainchild of two entrepreneur immigrants to the United States that launched last year, wants to create a floating incubator for tech startups parked in international waters so that a visa to work in the United States will not be required. But it will be near enough to Silicon Valley to give those aboard access to the investors, mentoring and other goodies of the valley; there would be daily ferry service connecting the two.

The venture aims to have room for up to 1,000 entrepreneurs paying $1,200 to $3,000 (U.S.) a month to live aboard; Blueseed also aims to take a small stake in the companies. Most likely, home would be a decommissioned luxury cruise liner, which the founders have estimated could cost up to $25-million to retrofit.

The biggest draw for the entrepreneurs, according to the survey, would be living and working in an "awesome startup and technology-oriented space." Next important would be proximity to Silicon Valley investors. Other reasons include the coolness factor, a streamlined legal and regulatory environment, an alternative to having to get a U.S. work visa and ease of finding talent.

More than a third -- 36.7 per cent -- of respondents said they would move in immediately if Blueseed could meet their needs now; another 28.8 per cent would want three to six months and 21.6 per cent would be ready in six to 12 months.

The most interest came from the United States, followed by India, Australia and then Canada.

For a more detailed story on Blueseed, have a look back at this piece.

Innovate like Edison

If you want the proverbial lightbulb to go off, who better to take inspiration from than Thomas Alva Edison?

Reporting on a new book, Innovate Like Edison, co-written by none other than the famous inventor's grandniece, this piece in American Express Open Forum identifies five principles by which he operated.

Among them, the piece says, his mind worked like a kaleidoscope, and he "consistently visualized problems from multiple angles, which allowed him to come up with solutions that weren’t obvious to others."

As well, he understood that "commerce demands creativity" and linked them by designing products to meet needs.

He also was a supporter of flat organizations, where anyone could suggest an idea, which brought different people from different disciples with different ideas. And he believed in "full-spectrum engagement." Translation: He was strong on the balance of work and play.

Playing off of his five principles, the piece's author comes up with six practical pieces of advice.

The next Instagram?

After Facebook's $1-billion buyout of Instagram last month, the natural question was: Which company would be next (not necessarily for Facebook but for a similar kind of success). In this piece, The New York Times offers up what it calls an "inherently incomplete list" of nine possibilities to become a hit -- whether because of explosive growth, investor interest or something new or unusual about what they are doing or offering. Of course, it's all a guessing game until it happens, but if you want in, the Times also wants you to cast your vote: If you were a venture capitalist, which of the companies would you choose?

EVENTS AND KEY DATES

Make your elevator pitch

You've heard about the importance of perfecting an elevator pitch -- and now Visa Canada is offering a contest where you can take that literally. It is launching a $10,000 elevator pitch contest offering 10 entrepreneurs the chance to pitch their business to a panel of experts during a 60-second, 49-floor elevator ride. To get to that point, businesses are invited to submit a 60-second video of their pitch; a top 10 will be selected and invited before a panel of judges to take that ride. The finalists will also be posted on Visa's Faceook page for individuals to help choose the winning pitch. The winner takes home a $10,000 credit on their Visa business card. Entries are open from May 7 to June 17; finalists will be up on Facebook between June 30 and July 11; and the elevator ride takes place on July 16. For more information, click here.

Globe/Telus Challenge contest

May 28 is the submission deadline for the Globe and Mail/Telus Challenge Contest and a chance to win a $100,000 grant from Telus. To enter, explain the biggest challenge your business is facing and how such a grant would help overcome it.

Mesh 12

The next Mesh digital conference takes place in Toronto on May 23 and May 24. The two-day event explores how the Web is evolving, the emergence of new and emerging trends, and what’s over the digital horizon. For more information on the presentations, interactive discussions, networking, registration and more that will take place, click here.

EDITOR'S PICKS FROM REPORT ON SMALL BUSINESS

Small Ontario county lures Silicon Valley startup

An innovative twist in a 25-year-old federal program for rural development is turning an area known for its apples into “rural Ontario’s app island.” Prince Edward County, which until now has mostly attracted retirees, is suddenly witnessing the arrival of young entrepreneurs.

FROM THE ROSB ARCHIVES

Entrepreneurship: It's a family affair

Whether intended or not, entrepreneurship is always a family affair, but there are ways to prepare to take the plunge that will make all members ready, willing and able to deal with the changes to come, a story advised in April, 2011. For accompanying tips, click here.

Got a tip on news, events or other timely information related to the small-business community? E-mail us at smallbusiness@globeandmail.com

Join The Globe’s Small Business LinkedIn group to network with other entrepreneurs and to discuss topical issues: http://linkd.in/jWWdzT

Our free weekly newsletter is now available. Every Friday a team of editors selects the top picks from our blog posts, features, multimedia and columnists, and delivers them to your inbox. If you have registered for The Globe's website, you can sign up here. Click on the Small Business Briefing checkbox and hit 'save changes.' If you need to register for the site, click here.