Startup getWyred wins incubation contest
By Darren Lum
June 21, 2016
Haliburton’s Cole Rowden is moving forward with his business partners on making his venture getWyred a reality after having his business selected as a winner of the small business contest smOffice held this spring.
Rowden and his partners Troy McNamara and Jake Kidd joined two other Barrie winners earlier this month, sharing in more than $60,000 in prizes, professional advice, seed funding and mentorship, as part of being selected for this incubation opportunity in Barrie, starting June 6.
During their incubation with smOffice, they will have six months access to Canada’s smallest office located steps from the Barrie waterfront, $1,000 in seed funds, theatre tickets, free pizza, fitness memberships and a Sonders e-bike for transportation.
“Aside from the prizes, this contest is a serious stepping stone for our company. We are thankful for having six months of support behind us to help us turn this idea into a reality,” said Rowden, CEO, in a press release from smOffice.
Rowden’s idea is to provide a social media platform that will not only keep its users informed about places and events to visit and attend through real time photos and videos, but also enable marketing opportunities for companies and businesses to reach potential customers. Their company will initially be focusing on the post-secondary education students, between 19 and 25.
Rowden’s Haliburton roots instilled a strong sense of community.
“Growing up in Haliburton County has been incredibly humbling and given me a sense of foundation and community that I don’t think I could’ve gotten anywhere else,” he said.
The smOffice contest opened application to startups from across Canada back in April. The companies all submitted a one-page business application and a 60-second video explaining their venture and how the contest would help set them up for success.
The startup founded by Rowden stood out to the judges for its potential.
“Their product demonstrated something positive that could change the way people play, work and live which is something the judges really liked. They also have potential for quick growth and results over the six month incubation period,” wrote Chad Ballantyne, owner of The Creative Space, entrepreneurial hub and host of the contest.
When they learned of their win Rowden and his partners realized their efforts paid off.
“Like in most startups, there are a lot of challenges that arise in the early stages making the venture feel as if it’s seemingly impossible, but having partners that are constantly supporting each other makes those tough times a bit easier. Something that went through all of our minds when we won was that all the pain, struggles, and hurdles throughout the ride of going out and starting a company were all worth it. Life definitely gets better when you learn how to respond well to the challenges of being an entrepreneur,” he said.
Although there isn’t any requirement for the winners to return and teach other businesses what they’ve learned, the program encourages the winners to share their new knowledge and success.
Rowden said they welcome the opportunity to share what they’ve learned locally.
“We definitely have plans to put on presentations over the next six months for anyone in Haliburton County who is willing to listen and learn from our experiences of building a company, so they can take that advice and apply it to their business or career,” he said.
In the first week of incubation, Rowden and his business partners have learned the secret to success.
“The biggest thing we have learned in the past few days is that genuinely caring to treat everyone with respect, especially in business, goes a long way in helping you and your team succeed. Now with all the mentors, advisors and sponsors supporting us, our goal is to learn as much as we can so that we can to do our best to pay it forward,” he said.