It’s time for the #WeAreYQQ Spring Launch Party!

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The peeps on Team #WeAreYQQ, we like parties. Yup. We do. We like to get together to work. We like to collaborate, to help people grow their businesses. We like to get together to play – to eat, drink, dance, loosen up! And, we like to celebrate the cool shift that’s happening in the Comox Valley. In this case, a new season of doing what we do best: working with grassroots entrepreneurs, building a culture that’s open to shift and change.

And yes, we have a special announcement to make on March 31 at Prime Chophouse. We hope you’ll join us for all of it: fun, networking, news. It all starts at 5:30pm. It all happens at Prime Chophouse. If you’re an entrepreneur, if you’re part of the YQQ’s fresh new approach to growing business, we want you there with us! Tickets at WeAreYQQParty.ca

What’s up?

Team #WeAreYQQ is hosting one of our special parties (maybe they’re not so “special” anymore, maybe they’re just great events that we hold regularly? you tell us – please!) – anyway, we’re hosting a party for a bunch of really good reasons.

  1. We’ve got something special to share with you on March 31. We think it’ll have a long-term impact on business and community economic development in the YQQ. It started small, with a conversation last summer. It got a little bigger when several of us went to Vancouver in November and were invited to make our #WeAreYQQ Project part of something bigger. That forced us to work with a super-tight timeline, and put us through a few hoops. I stepped on a few toes and pissed a few people off during the process. Apologies to those folks. But a big thanks to the entrepreneurs and agency folks who came on board: you didn’t squawk about timelines, you saw the opportunity, you just put your heads down and got it done even as you ran your 24/7 businesses. Kudos to you. We’ve got some entrepreneurs in this community who know how to make shift happen! Now, we’re finally ready to give back to Comox Valley entrepreneurs what we’ve been working on. I think it’s something to crow about.
  2. As well as the big news, we’re going to have fun stuff like appetizers by Prime Chophouse, and music by Above & Beyond Entertainment, featuring #WeAreYQQ Sponsor and turntable wizard Adil Amlani, maybe even some engagement by #WeAreYQQ Champion Leanne Zdebiak-Eni
  3. We’re also also going to have snapshots from businesses that are benefiting from the work we’re doing through the #WeAreYQQ Project.
  4. We’re going to have updates about the #WeAreYQQ coworking project, a book club for entrepreneurs, a collaboration with the people making shift happen at one of the coolest events to happen in YQQ (can’t give you details on that yet as we’re still plotting what that might look like).
  5. And more!

In short, we’ve got a lot of stuff coming to our YQQ entrepreneur community in Spring 2016, and we think a party is a good way to share it. Did I mention tickets are at WeAreYQQParty.ca? They are.

Tickets and stuff

Hand’s up: Who thinks organizing events is hard work? Well, it is. It’s fun work. But it’s still nerve-wracking, especially in a town that has this quirky pride in being “Queen of the last minute communities.” Yup. That’s YQQ. And yes, we get it: You want to keep your options open. But really, what are you doing on Thursday afternoon/evening on March 31? You’ll have been at the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce Board Election Luncheon in the afternoon. Then it’s time for the after party. Or, the #WeAreYQQ Spring Launch Party! We’re always trying to figure out to get you to commit ahead of time because it makes our planning easier. So we’ve got 40 early bird tickets. Half are already gone. That leaves 20. Please. Get yours NOW. At WeAreYQQParty.ca

About this #WeAreYQQ thing

We borrowed it. Or rather, I borrowed it. From my friends at the WeAreYVR initiative (yes, they’ve given us their blessing – we traded a #WeAreYQQ hat for their blessing, how could they refuse?).

WeAreYVR was an effort to brand, map, and promote the YVR tech talent and startup community. Using the airport indicator was a no-brainer: it tells the world about the place (important for YVR because there are two Vancouvers, one in BC and one WA, USA). “We are” tells the world there are people in that place who are doing something worth checking out.

I liked that idea, using the YQQ airport code to attract attention to our place (CV means Comox Valley to all of us, but to the folks in Cowichan it means Cowichan Valley, and to the rest of the English speaking world it means things like curriculum vitae) And I knew that YQQ has a ton o’ talent.

I created the #WeAreYQQ tag and started slapping it on every post and person that was telling the story of good people doing good shift in YQQ. I even had little contests for people to do selfies with their fave #WeAreYQQ stars.

The #WeAreYQQ Project grew from this. From the idea that YQQ’s greatest resource is the people who’ve chosen to call this place home. And so the #WeAreYQQ tag has become a tool we can use to inspire, celebrate, and support Comox Valley talents. Creatives, entrepreneurs, innovators. These are the people who are building the economic future of our community and region. And the #WeAreYQQ Project creates events and workshops and other stuff to inspire and support YQQ talent to think and do BIGger! And Team #WeAreYQQ encourages anyone who has something positive to say about our local talent to use the #WeAreYQQ tag. Anywhere. In print. On radio and video. In conversations. On your hat. But especially in your social media posts.

#WeAreYQQ is shorthand. It’s a brand. It’s a way to tell the world – which knows that YQQ means Comox Valley – about the creative, entrepreneurial peeps who are making shift happen in our community.

Some history

In the picture above I’m holding forth at the 2015 Fall Launch Party. You’ll see a couple of really important people in the background: Sue Finneron and Adil Amlani. I call them (and Leif Jason of Mastermynde Strategy – he’s the guy in the hat, below; and Chrissie Bowker at the Comox Valley Record) Solution Sponsors, because they’re investing huge amounts of energy into helping solve our region’s economic problem.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Things started to roll in late 2014. With the help of a number of Comox Valley businesses, and the blessing of the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce, I created a speaker and workshop series. It ran through 2015, and included 8 events. They touched on topics from entrepreneurialism to collaboration to the future of work to food and tech and community building to social enterprise. They inspired people. It was great.

Part way through 2015, inspired by Jayesh Parmar and Boris Mann (a couple of WeAreYVR talents who are very important to the way I think about what we’re up to with the #WeAreYQQ Project; Boris is the guy in the hat, above, btw) I launched a series of monthly business development workshops. And with the help of YQQ collaborators I launched more and more stuff. We’re still launching stuff. Experiments. Beta testing how to build an entrepreneurial community.

It’s taken off. We’re pioneering a new way of growing business, a way that’s simple, fun – and we’re making shift happen. And the cool thing is it’s driven by entrepreneurs; it doesn’t cost taxpayers anything. Our experimentation has caught the attention of several out of town entrepreneurs, businesses, and agencies. That’s cool. Because it brings attention back to the entrepreneurs who are really making shift happen here in the YQQ. For up-to-date information on the #WeAreYQQ Project, visit makingshifthappencomoxvalley.ca

Sponsors, Community Partners, Champions

The #WeAreYQQ Project is delivering a service to an emergent entrepreneurial community. It’s a private initiative. Which keeps it lean, responsive. And it keeps its hands out of taxpayer’s pockets.

Events are run on a cost-recovery model. That means tickets are generally the “real” price for what it takes to make shift happen. For the rest of it, the #WeAreYQQ Project is made possible through the support of sponsors, community partners, and individual champions and ambassadors. It’s thanks to these businesses and individuals that Team #WeAreYQQ is able to do what it does: making shift happen in the Comox Valley.

Solution SponsorsComox Valley RecordFinneron Hyundaihanspetermeyer.caMastermynde StrategySure Copy Courtenay

Community PartnersAtlas CaféHansen & Hansen PaintingIsland WordMy Tech GuysMcKinnon PhotographyRon Pogue Photography

Champions and Ambassadors: James Flawith / Lil Worker Safety Clothing, Steve Morgan, Jace Pierson , David Frisch, Sonya Marie Jenssen / Waterwoman Consulting, Mike Templeton , Carmen and Glenn Wakeling / Eatmore Sprouts, Step Caruthers and Robin Konstabaris / Lucky Village Enterprises, Kelsey Wood / Red Toque Creative, Ivan Lousier / Ivan’s Truffles, Ben-zion Eni / The Hub Café, Leanne Zdebiak-Eni / Studio IPF Fitness, Rob Kelly / Modern Rocket Media, Kayla McDonald / Kayla McDonald Productions, Brooke Ferguson (launching a cool pet-related product this summer!).

Find out about the perks and benefits of being a Champion here: weareyqq.ca/subscribe/

Contact

If you’d like me to talk to your organization or business about how you can be involved in the #WeAreYQQ Project, be in touch. Or just book some time via this link.

Most of all, we hope you join us on March 31 for the Spring Launch Party!

Yup. The more we get together, the more shift we can make happen!  Tickets at WeAreYQQParty.ca

Hans Peter Meyer
Chief Evangelist, The #WeAreYQQ Project  
@hanspetermeyer on Twitter
connect (at) hanspetermeyer (dot) com

Nazaneen Dizai
50th Parallel PR / Team #WeAreYQQ Communications
naz.dizai (at) 50thparallelpr (dot) com

That’s Kelsey Wood of Red Toque Creative, doing her job: telling the world about #WeAreYQQ talent, in this case a panel of food entrepreneurs. Kelsey’s a super talent herself, and she’s one of a number of people who are important players on Team #WeAreYQQ. She’ll be reporting on the coworking project on March 31. At the bottom right is Bob Wells of My Tech Guys, a #WeAreYQQ Community Partner. Another huge help to making shift happen in our community.

All fotos (except Boris Mann) by Ron Pogue Photography. Ron’s a #WeAreYQQCommunity Partner, one of the amazing talents in this community, and we’re fortunate to have him