Yukon’s startup scene to get a boost with new partnership

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The Yukon may not be the first place one thinks of when it comes to startup scenes, but the partnership between YuKonstruct Makerspace Society and Startup Canada should help boost the arctic region’s  nascent scene.

The partnership, BetaKit reports, includes YuKonstruct and (co)space — both under the umbrella of the YuKonstruct Makerspace Society — and Startup Canada, a 100,000-member-strong association that helps build and mentor companies and encourage investment between members.

This will provide funding to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses while also having access to YuKonstruct’s maker tools and (co)space’s soon-to-be-open shared office and meeting spaces in Whitehorse.

YuKonstruct has been open for just over a year and has somewhere between 80 and 100 members, according to a blog post. It provides access, for $40 a month, to tools and space makers may not be able to afford on their own.

The Yukon, home to about 34,000 people according to a 2011 census, certainly may not be dense with startups, but it boasts many innovative companies. ATA POP Homes, for example, is building energy-efficient homes in the challenging conditions of the north. Make IT, based in Whitehorse, creates custom software for several clients in the Yukon and Beyond. In 2013, Gord Duncan invented keyless locks.

The Yukon is also playing host to a number of big tech events. In April, Lighthouse Labs partnered with the Yukon government to bring its coding bootcamp to the Yukon. In May, Whitehorse saw the inaugural Hacking Health North, a healthcare-app-related hackathon. Less than a week ago, YuKonstruct hosted free events for National Girls Learning to Code Day.

There’s also support from the province’s educational system — Yukon College offers an entrepreneurship course instructing students on how to adapt to the financial and emotional challenges of running a startup in the north.

Startup Canada hopes to eventually expand its presence to Yellowknife and Iqaluit.

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Michael Thomas

Michael Thomas

Michael Thomas is a staff editor at Digital Journal Inc. He is a graduate from Ryerson University's School of Journalism in Toronto. He also founded Grayowl Point, a Canadian music blog that's been online since 2009.