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Entrepreneurs 3.0 Shuts Down

After a quarter-century of helping Atlantic Canadian entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurs3.0 is closing down.

The non-profit organization formerly known as Entrepreneurs’ Forum announced Thursday that its board has decided to cease operations due to financial constraints.

Entrepreneurs’ Forum was probably best known for its mentorship dinners, in which a select group of mentors would have a meal with an entrepreneurial team and work through their challenges. They often led to long-standing relationships.  As Entrepreneurs3.0, or E3, the organization enhanced its programing to include access-to-capital missions that helped startups travel to Toronto to meet with potential investors.

“We had an amazing run,” said CEO Kathleen Rayworth in an interview. “We helped over 2,500 entrepreneurs over the years. And this year was our best year in terms of performance. There obviously is a need for this service in the ecosystem.”

Rayworth said there is approved funding in place for part of the E3 programing, especially the access-to-capital missions. She is in talks with groups that she hopes will take it over.

The most recent access-to-capital mission was held in February in Toronto. Six companies from New Brunswick and two from P.E.I. took part, participating in more than 50 meetings. An E3 report said the missions are gaining a favorable reputation, not only among Atlantic Canadian startups but also among investors in Toronto.

The organization surveyed 40 clients that it assisted in 2015 and received 17 responses.  These companies’ employment levels from their first E3 session to the survey increased 20 percent to a total of 60 people, and their revenues increased 51 percent to $793,900. The 17 respondents raised a total of $600,000 in 2015.

The report also said 96 percent of the respondents said they could not have found the assistance they received from E3 elsewhere.

“E3 has had numerous successes over the years such as building a network of over 2000 advisors, working with over 2000 entrepreneurs to grow their enterprises, advancing business, partnerships and strategic networking in a variety of ways,” the organization said in a note to supporters Thursday. “By doing so, we have helped to accelerate the regional economy for over two decades. 2015-2016’s results were in fact our best, showing e3’s importance across Atlantic Canada.”