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.”


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

One Company (up to 6 employees) (Asking $1300.00/mth Includes tax!)

The membership includes:
– One sweet closed private office (352 sf) 24/7 use
– 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, etc.)

Special thanks to:

Amanda Sutton
Jeremy O’Krafka
Blaire Baker
Mark Burdon
Dan Lerch
Wendy Stenson
Max Lupo

And 10 anonymous!

Thanks to the Indiegogo team:
Alma Baily
Patricia Dent
Sandra Ballantyne

Truly compassionate people with a genuinely noble cause are few and far between these days. That is why The Creative Space’s Chad Ballantyne is such an upstanding member of the Barrie community. When you first meet Chad you’re captivated with this overwhelming feeling of sincere honesty and benevolence for the community as a whole and his deep concern for the future of young minds. He has a passion and devotion to working together with other like-minded personalities, collaborating to grow as an individual, as a company, and as a community.

“They strive to give back to their community of young, talented, creative individuals.”
Chad is the founder and owner of Rhubarb Media; a small marketing company derived from his own creative ambitions and desire to help other companies grow. He is a community activist, bettering not only the creative minds, but also the expressive ones, with art projects, life encouragement, and entrepreneurial partnerships. The idea behind The Creative Space came to be as a solution to an existing problem. Chad & Rhubarb Media rented space in Downtown Barrie that was large and open, allowing for inner collaboration. When the other company had to leave the space, Rhubarb Media found themselves stuck with this huge office that they neither needed nor could they afford. Not ready to give up the space that they loved, the team decided to invite in freelancers to rent out space within their space. It became instantly apparent that sharing their space with other like-minded individuals was fulfilling on both a work and a personal level. The idea of co-working came about – working as a collective to help each company grow proved to be an excellent and efficient use of everyone’s time and talent.

Since then, The Creative Space has expanded and become more robust with up to 37 member companies. Although they are a for-profit organization, they operate as a social enterprise given back to the community at all turns with membership fees being applied to the cost of the space. They strive to give back to their community of young, talented, creative individuals. Most of the companies are small one to three member outfits, all of whom tend to have experienced growth after joining the space and collaborating with others. The Creative Space is run on the concept of coworking to help develop and grow digital economies and supporting professionals and creative minds. Chad is a huge supporter of Barrie’s Downtown revitalization and strives to help his local community by buying and promoting locally.

The Creative Space’s dedication to reconnecting people to communicate and work face to face, utilizing our minds instead of our computers, is truly an awe inspiring practice. They down play the need for competition and encourage individuals to share ideas and offer positive, constructive, criticism. As Chad puts it “do what you do best and insource the rest”. He calls it “insourcing” as most of the work goes to coworkers in the space. The Creative Space puts a premium on the local community, uplifting it as a whole not just professionally, but socially and culturally. The walls within the space are lined with art from local artists, and they host events, concerts, and film festivals to support the local talent. They are trying to be very involved with the schools in the area, offering workshops for grades 8-12 called Spark that speak to topics like fear and failure of overcoming barriers – soon to be offering coding classes for kids, 3D printing workshops, Midi and music, and open coffee clubs for entrepreneurs encouraging discussions. One program they are particular excited for and proud of is their TREP program. This program gives companies an opportunity to sponsor a desk space for young professionals, like those in the entrepreneur program at Georgian College. Their sponsored desk allows them to work on projects they might have while giving them a chance to collaborate with people in the business world. All that is required of the student is that during their time at The Creative Space they are to tweet, post, blog, and shout out daily to the company who sponsored them. This is a great opportunity to get involved in shaping our youth while also generating some social promotion and good will for your company.

It should come as no surprise that Chad has a close connection with the Church, growing up as a son and grandson of a pastor. It’s in his DNA to be a strong advocate of community collaboration and youth education and betterment. Chad went into youth ministry when he was younger, which gave him the opportunity to be creative making posters and organizing events. Later, his job was centered around creative communications for the church, where he oversaw the arts programs and worked with developing the minds of youth and adults. He is still very involved with his Church. Recently, he decided to branch out and create Pastor Pixel, a Church marketing company where Chad can encourage and help churches market themselves more professionally. (

Chad’s wisdom comes from his life experience, and his constant interaction with others. He learns from his surroundings, being exposed each day to something new that allows him to progress as an individual, advance his company, help youth move forward, and ultimately create a community where everyone coexists – feeding off of one another’s energy, intelligence and creativity. The Creative Space offers numerous opportunities to get involved and support the growth and development of the community around you. Their current Indiegogo campaign is about halfway through and could use the support of the community. Chad is always willing to discuss his vision for a better future, and by sitting down with him you quickly sense his undeniable passion!


Shannon Lewitsky

By Shannon Lewitsky