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New Programming At Planet Hatch

Chicago-born Kinney, who has been in her post at the New Brunswick incubator and co-working space for the past six months, said she is impressed by the collaboration in the province’s startup community.

That collaboration is enabling the streamlining work, which is being undertaken by a task force of stakeholders, led by Larry Shaw, CEO of Ignite Fredericton.

“We are not a huge community so we can’t duplicate services,” said Kinney, who sits on Fredericton’s Startup Taskforce.

“The taskforce, with the leadership of Larry Shaw, CEO of Ignite Fredericton, is working to create a subway model in which we lay out services available to entrepreneurs, so startups can be seamlessly directed to the correct provider…”

Planet Hatch is known for fostering startups in the IT sector. It has recently said it intends to provide more help to non-IT startups.

“We’re expanding to programs that include the broader startup community,” said Kinney, who has lived on Canada’s east coast since 2009, when she arrived with her New Brunswick-raised engineer husband Jeremy Kinney.

“For example, we have recently taken on an artrepreneur-in-residence at Planet Hatch with the aim of building better connections to local artists.”

The first artrepreneur is Kate Roy, a film-maker and photographer. Artists in any discipline can apply for the one-month role. They receive a dedicated working space, display their work and are invited to networking events.

They also act as a mentor, and take part in the group’s monthly Office Hours, providing consultation to startups.

“The artrepreneur is also promoting the wider artistic community. We see them as entrepreneurs and want them to have the same resources as everyone else,” said Kinney, adding that Planet Hatch expects to house six artrepreneurs a year.

Event Season in 2016 Focuses on New Brunswick

Over the summer, the group ran a creativity workshop for entrepreneurs, led by painter Ingrid Mueller.

“It was to help entrepreneurs access their creative side,” Kinney said. “We weren’t allowed to use social media…We drew and painted. We listened and engaged.”

Also new—for two Wednesdays every month Planet Hatch offers ‘open working hours’.

“Half of our centre is a co-working space for our tenants. We also have community space, so that people who work from home or who are students, can work here and have networking opportunities twice a month.”

Kinney said there is a lot of cross-over between her new role and her previous post with the Darden Graduate School of Business at the University of Virginia, where she worked for nine years in executive education management.

“I planned and populated programs there too. What’s different now is that after a few years at home, caring for my children, I find social media has become very important.

“We use social media to communicate everything we do. This summer, we have three university student interns who opened my eyes to platforms like Snapchat, Periscope and other ways to reach youth.”

It’s essential to use all avenues to educate the community about the resources and opportunities available for entrepreneurs, Kinney said.

“We do a lot of youth initiatives. Recently, we ran a kids learning code session for ages six to 12. We try to be present at child and youth events, such as a recent STEAM contest (science, technology, engineering, arts and math).

Kinney said the taskforce is also planning for the Startup Canada Regional Awards, which will be held for the first time in Fredericton. The September 13th event is timed to coincide with the city’s Harvest Jazz and Blues festival to attract a particularly celebratory crowd.

“Fredericton is a great place to start a business,” Kinney said. “We strive to encourage youth to take the opportunities and start what they’re interested in.”