So often we organizers of events can say such great things about them, but it’s the words of those who attended that carry the most weight, so I’ll shut up and let them share!

As a new entrepreneur in the Barrie region, the Creative Space TrepMixer was a great event. I got a chance to extend my network and meet interesting people pursing new businesses in the IT and digital tech sectors in the region. Everyone was extremely friendly and the venue was amazing. The sponsors did a great job – not only did they provide the funding for the event, but they showed up and mingled with the ‘treps as well. It was a fantastic event and a great way to meet people, learn more about what others are pursuing, and to connect with members of the entrepreneur support network in the region. I encourage other entrepreneurs to come out for the next event and I’m looking forward to spending more time at the Creative Space office in the fall to further develop these connections and to meet even more small businesses.

Thank you Creative Space, Invest Barrie, Venture Labs, and Flying Monkey!

Duane Homick of GYMNEXT and inventor of the FLEX TIMER APP and Clock.


Becoming a member of The Creative Space has been one of the best decisions I’ve made so far, but it’s something you have to experience to even begin to appreciate. Since Tandempark moved into The Creative Space, I’ve made more progress and have been more productive than in any coffee shop or corner at home. This is a space where ideas erupt and things happen.

On top of it all, The Creative Space Team is always going out of its way to encourage and facilitate collaboration with industry peers. TrepMixer was an awesome night of IT connectedness, a great way to hear what other Barrie entrepreneurs are getting themselves up to and a perfect example of how The Creative Space is bringing Barrie Entrepreneurs together! Great food + great drinks + great door prizes + great company = yet another great idea from The Creative Space! I’m looking forward to the next one!

Liam Squires of Tandempark


Thank you Creative Space, Invest Barrie, Venture Labs, and Flying Monkey!


Sir Thomas’s note to the city:

“The Creative Space was a fascinating place and Chad and Sandra Ballantyne impressed us with their enthusiasm, inspiration and determination. That place is a real asset to the City and will turn out some of the brightest young entrepreneurs of the future: the way they make their premises so accessible and nurse the fledgling businesses on the way is admirable. They are also performing an important social role, taking young people and allowing them space to exercise their drive and vision, in company with other like-minded individuals. They are clearly putting an enormous amount of personal effort into keeping it going, I suspect at some personal financial sacrifice, especially during the winter months when they acknowledged that things went quieter. It’s an excellent use of an old building and they are using every square inch that they can.  If you haven’t been there, Jeff, it really is impressive and would be well worth an hour of your time. It’s an initiative that the City can be very proud of, it ticks  lot of boxes – and it just needs a bit of help.”

A direct note to us:

“We greatly enjoyed our visit to the Creative Space and thought that the whole project had a really good feel to it. There is a high mortality rate in young companies but you have found a way to reduce the risks by creating very low rent space where budding entrepreneurs can share their experiences and get the help that they need from older, wiser hands when they need it. It was particularly impressive to see how every square inch of the building had been put to good use: the partners running the digital support service upstairs have got a fantastic creative space to work in. The Design and Technology area in the basement provided a great environment for some of the younger occupants – an area where they could learn about their chosen field of study in a social environment, and enjoy the whole experience.

I hope that my ‘good word’ to the Mayor produces some support for you. Even if the only help they can offer is a grant, rent support or relief from local taxation, it has got to be a win / win situation for the City and yourselves. The City is seen to be helping its budding young entrepreneurs – people who will be building the successful businesses of tomorrow and future years, employing other young entrepreneurs and bringing wealth to the city and its people. You will hopefully get the support that you need, so that you can make the Creative Space even better, enabling you to invest in new technology, facilities and training. If you can spend less time worrying about how you are going to survive the winter and more time developing the project, it  will also be much less stressful for yourselves. Let me know how you get on!

I don’t have any formal capacity with Harrogate Borough Council but I will certainly push what buttons I can to get something similar going here. I am also in touch with several of our other, larger, councils and will mention it to them. “

Sir Thomas

Sir Thomas Ingilby
Ripley Castle Estate

Ripley Castle and the Boar’s Head offer the ideal venue for your wedding or business meeting, or for a very special lunch or dinner.

Ripley Castle has been the home of the Ingilby Family for over 700 years.  Find out more on a fascinating tour of the Castle, explore the formal gardens and spectacular Deer Park and visit our Tearooms and Gift Shop.


amandaOkay, so the topic of coworking versus rental office has been a hot debate in the world of independent work. We’ve heard from freelancers, solo-entrepreneurs and location-independent businesses who’ve crossed the floor to work alongside their comrades, and are sharing their secrets after finding success with coworking.

If you’ve ever been trapped into the oppressive cubicle-farm or have had to scramble to get the best seat in a noisy coffee shop, this is old news. For those who are hardlined about their fantasy of the impervious office of solitude, here are some excellent reasons to consider trying out coworking, before signing that 100-year office lease.

#1: Grow your network faster

In a coworking space, networking is a constant activity, and a way of life. Regular interactions lead to building of trust and relationships; sharing knowledge, collaborating on projects, and even the random conversations over coffee can bring new and valuable connections.

#2: Find talented people to work with

Coworking spaces are a central hub for talent. Seriously.

With the rise of freelance and remote work over past years, we’re seeing an unprecedented rise in top talent relocating to coworking spaces. It’s a no-brainer that hiring a great designer or programmer would be easy with a desirable project opportunity.

#3: Immerse yourself in a creative environment

Humans are sensory creatures who feed off their environment. So, a dull office box or messy home office will simply not do. Not to mention the day-to-day interactions with other creative folks will surely amplify your creative and cognitive capabilities. Coworking spaces pay special attention to design and aesthetics; paint colour, decor, furniture and lighting are all essential in stimulating our minds and catalyzing a creative mindset.

#4: Improve your social life

One of the biggest drawbacks of segregating yourself in a private office is that you miss out on social interactions. Many who have worked a 9-to-5 job cement friendships over the water cooler; a place of employment provides us with a bountiful source of new friends, and once you leave your work this source is depleted. Joining a coworking place allows you to fill in the gaps and start friendships with likeminded people.

#5: Get and give mentorship

For entrepreneurs, having access to not only shared space but resources like mentors and peer-to-peer support is invaluable. You may choose to arrange regular mentorship meetings to talk through your business challenges, confront obstacles, and set attainable goals. Having someone to support you through your journey and to be accountable to, is one of the biggest benefits of being a member of a coworking space.

#6: Lower your costs

Coworking pricing is driven by value, whereas office space rentals are driven by profit and physical dimensions. Members of coworking spaces enjoy flexible pricing, while being provided with a huge array off incentives to make their experience more satisfying. Depending on the space, coworking plans can cost as little as $10 per day. Compare that to the cost an office lease and the choice is quite easy.

#7: A huge array of shared amenities

If a fully-equipped professional office space is important but you don’t want to take on the responsibility of a lease, a coworking space will provide a viable solution. Because you are working within a shared environment with shared resources and amenities, the costs will be far less than a private office.

#8: Develop good work habits

Coworking helps maintain a healthy work-life balance and sense of consistency, or rhythm within work. Being immersed in a coworking space with other driven workers, makes productivity prevalent, and creative thinking contagious. In stark contrast, the alienation of a private office doesn’t inspire any positive work traits, just loneliness.

#9: Flexibility and adaptability of use

Coworking spaces promote a culture of flexibility, openness and innovation, by their very nature. You are not tethered to a desk or a set schedule, allowing you to work how and when you want, with the freedom to react quickly to changing needs and conditions. The supporting functions of a coworking space offer an adaptable arrange of tools and resources to complement your growing business.

#10: Coworking gets better and better all the time

This is a fundamental truth of coworking. Due to the social nature of coworking, it changes, adapts and improves constantly to meet the needs of the communities they serve. Even in the recent years since the rise of coworking’s popularity, massive innovations and improvements have been made in how spaces support their members; while at the same time, rental offices have remained almost unchanged.

The wonderful thing about coworking is that it can be designed to complement many work styles; part time or full time, open or private, it can all happen in a coworking space. If you haven’t experienced coworking yet, it’s about time you visited your local space and tried it out!


Original Post from

We did an exercise with a handful of treps at our bi monthly Open Coffee Club.
Answer these 2 questions;

1. What do you LOATH about being an entrepreneur?
2. What do your LOVE about being an entrepreneur?

Here’s the summery of our responses.
Top 10 things we entrepreneurs LOATH and LOVE about being an Entrepreneur

People asking for Free work
Inconsistent cash flow
Never Ending – Can’t turn it off – no boundaries
Putting out Fires – you’re the chief
unending Instability – free falling
Lack of appreciation
It can be a Ball and chain
Banks reaction to our needs

I’m the boss
Creative freedom – ideas can be pursued
Doing what you love
Client interaction
Being a mentor
Ability to be Agile/pivot
Choosing your clients/staff
Collaboration network
Competent – confident spiralling up.

We also said if you had 5 seconds with a wanna be trep, what advice or question would you pass down?Here’s our TOP TEN

Stability or Choice – choose one!
Are you passionate about it?
Can you make a living?
Have you done research?
Find a mentor/team.
Get training (courses, workshops) Lifelong learner
Lose the ego
Pursue greatness
Do the Research
Are you really a entrepreneur?


Barrie’s first hackerspace ready for a 3D printer

indiegogo Campaign

We are a not-for-profit organization with a mandate to educate, hack, code, and have fun. We’d like to use this 3D printing to teach the community about the wonders of 3D printing, and the impact it will have on our future.
With this 3D printer we plan to do the following:
  • Provide educational opportunities about 3D printing, including  group classes and one-on-one instruction
  • Work with the community to develop prototypes
  • Make really awesome things, because making awesome things is awesome.
  • provide a modest revenue tool to keep the organization financially healthy (all SimCoLab members are volunteers)
Any extra revenue will go towards additional equipment.
What printer are we getting? Well that depends on how much we raise. We’ve been hearing a lot of great things about the printr bots. If you have a opinion on this, feel free to post on our G+, Twitter or Facebook. We’d love to hear from you!



Click here to learn more about the TREPDesk

Everyone say thanks (like, follow, share) to this year’s first TrepDesk sponsor…


This is an amazing opportunity for community focused companies to support the up and coming businesses in the Barrie area. When you see how the program works you’ll see what a WIN, WIN, WIN it is!!

WIN: The ‘TREP gets space to work, meet and learn, plus mentorship from other TCS ‘Treps.

WIN: The sponsoring company feelw great about giving back, but also gets a part-time social media intern!  Part of the requirements of using the ‘TREPdesk is for the recipient to tweet, post, tag, etc. about what they are up to, while thanking their sponsor along the way.

WIN: For TCS, it allows us to continue to build Barrie’s current and upcoming entrepreneur and startup culture.


GC is also running 1-2 TREPTalks at the Space each month.  If you’re a student in the ‘trep program tell your proff to book a talk soon!  Here’s a great post about last year’s TREPTalks!


“Treps,” short for entrepreneurs: people who take risks and build businesses. Use was started on Twitter, to help keep Tweets under the 140 character limit. “Treps” most often refers to people who start a business with a lot of passion and little (or no) money.


Some of you may recall the little campign we launched last year around this topic using Thunderclap

I would guess that the goods and services that travel on our digital highways outweigh the physical goods in quantity and economic impact. Barrie, we need to start investing in the digital infrastructure. We heard from our Mayor that it’s been hard to keep up with the lousy roads, but the highways that we creative class drive on downtown, are equivalent to dirt roads, including potholes! The digital economy needs addressing if we want to attract and keep the digital entrepreneurs, startups and software developers. We need a Digital Economic Strategy and fast. Check out Olds Alberta, a great progressive community, a fraction of our size investing in Fibre for all!

Help us bring Fibre to our downtown and make it affordable for all!

Rural towns and villages already devastated by the exodus of local manufacturers to lower-wage countries now face further economic marginalization if they don’t build high-speed digital infrastructure. A report last year by the World Bank estimated that every 10-percentage-point increase in the availability of broadband boosted economic growth by 1.2 percentage points in developed countries. Better high-speed access may, in fact, be one of the tools Canada needs to improve its poor record of productivity growth.

Below is a thread of conversation I’m having with Olds.


Hi. Thanks for your note.  A background article on the project is attached. At this point, the network will reach the last home in the town next month and all services, including Gb/s Internet are up and running.

Olds Article.BBC.1210

I’d be very happy to chat to either answer some questions or see how we may be of help. It is Friday of a long weekend, though, and I’ve got a two documents to get out so next week would be much better for me than this aft.  At this point, my next week is fairly open except for Tuesday morning. What time(s) would work best for you?

Happy Thanksgiving, 




Thanks for the inquiry about O-NET.  I will attempt to give you a high level picture of our history.

We started our journey to installing fibre to all properties in Olds about 8 years ago and are in the last 3 or 4 weeks of completing the build.  In the beginning, we thought we would build a dark fibre network and have Shaw or Telus deliver services.  They, as it turned out, were not interested and thus we were forced to build our own central office with all of the electronics etc to offer phone, internet and TV services.  We have completed all of this after 8 years as I said above.  There are many questions to be asked and answered before you would start down this road.  The first being, do you only want to offer internet to businesses or all services to businesses and residents.  From our experience to date, I don’t believe you would get great support if you only offer internet to homes. 

You will need to figure out how to get fibre to all premises in your community.  Once you have that, then you can offer anything you want at any speed.  If you look at or google O-NET you will see our offerings and prices.

Our ownership is set up to delineate the dark fibre from the services.  Olds Fibre Ltd (OFL) is owned by the Olds Institute for Community & Regional Development (OI) which is a not for profit society to drive economic development and wellbeing in our community.  The OI owns the dark fibre network and charges OFL a fee for its use.  OFL owns all of the electronics and offers all of the services on the network.

Our total investment in our electronics is around $5M and you would have to invest this to turn on your 1st customer.  This could be a challenge. O-NET could help with this.

I am not aware of your terrain, (all of our fibre is underground) but if you could do aerial, the price to deploy fibre would be less.  Just guessing it would be around $1200 per premises passed.  

We are  community of about 8500 with approx. 4200 locations (businesses and residents and condos and apartments etc) Our financing has come from the community via loans from our council.

I hope this gives you a little overview of our network.  I would be willing to share whatever you want on our program.  If you are in Alberta at some point, I would be glad to show you around and host a meeting or whatever you like. 



Here’s the info on membership and new spaces opening up as of Nov 1st, 2014

UPSTAIRS SIDE (312 sf) 24/7 use (Asking $1200.00/mth Includes tax!)
One Company (up to 6 employees) or shared between multiple companies.

– One sweet closed private office
– Access to bookable meeting spaces (3 private: small, med, large) and 2 open lounges)
– Company sign on door of office and main foyer directory wall
– Storage space on bottom floor
– Shared use of kitchen/fridge/appliances
– High-speed wifi/hard lines for internet
– Individual profile on the TCS site with links to yours
– Access to member only events, deals at local restaurants and monthly community lunches and gatherings
– Mailbox (you can use 12 Dunlop as your address to receive mail and packages)
– Light reception services – we receive your guests and let you know via skype “they’re here!” and offer them a seat in the lounge or send them up to you.

Contact us if interested

See photos below of office and other space included in the membership. (boardrooms, kitchen, lounges, etc.)

Over the past 5 years, I’ve seen many cases of collaboration happen between members. Working with a team is best, and “in-sourcing” with fellow coworkers is amazing!  We witnessed this recently with a video project between fellow members, Amanda Sutton of Catalyst PR and Richard James of FlyPress Films.  The video included other members and former members too!

I could go on and on about how awesome the space, the people and collaboration is, but I’ll let Richard share his point of view!

“I have been really pleased with my experience at TCS. As a member, I have enjoyed getting to know TCS community and have felt so welcomed by everyone. I have been able to network and make some lasting business connections. We (FlyPress Films) recently collaborated on a project with Amanda Sutton (another TCS member) of Catalyst Communications Choreography to produce her website promotional video. It was suiting to use TCS as our filming location and the footage looks amazing, a true reflection of TCS environment. I would recommend other small business owners to consider joining TCS membership program if they are looking for a professional, inspiring environment to work in…and you get to enjoy the perks of a supportive networking community.”