Originally published January 2018
I have Majid Jordan ‘ Phases ‘ in my ear as I load up on the free snacks on the Red Arrow. Destination, Edmonton.
It’s not as glamorous as the Girlboss trip to New York City I had lined up for the weekend but my heart feels compelled to put the work into my vision I have recently created for ACE and YEG is calling.
The song choice feels ironic as Edmonton is where my entrepreneurial journey began in the first place. In 2013, I was pitching It’s Date Night in the TELUS Tech Venture Prize.
I had an over withdrawn bank account and a maxed out credit card but I had to show up to earn the chance at claiming the $10,000 in prize money on the line and I was called up as a finalist amongst hundreds of applications.
I recall taking the bus to Edmonton and showing up at my hotel only to be declined a room because my credit card wouldn’t go through.
The start-up hustle was real.
I had presentations all afternoon and I needed to change out of my Lulu’s into my lady suit to make the best first impression. So, I went back to the Red Arrow bus station and freshened up in the washroom there. I rolled my suitcase with me to Tech Edmonton and proceeded to my pitch.
The room was highly intimidating and I felt out of my league. I had six executives around a conference table sharing my vision for better dates. I nailed it.
Later that evening was the finalist dinner and I was on deck. There were some highly impressive businesses presenting one after another and I was surrounded by a room full of strangers.
Nevertheless, I got up and presented my business dreams to 500 people – mostly executives and those invested in the startup world. Oh, and the host that night was Diane Buckner from Dragons Den. This shit was real.
I came in third place and was the only female finalist to present in my class. Diane Buckner called me out as an example of how to present a great pitch, I was on cloud nine.
I did not win the $10,000 cash prize but I did win $4,000 worth of development ( which later ended up actually costing me a year of my life and even more cash out of pocket – another story fro another time ).
So, I still didn’t have a hotel room or a bus ticket home but I had a pretty cool glass trophy and the grand prize winner treated me to a pint.
That was four years ago and it seems like a lifetime at this point.
Well, Edmonton, I’m coming back to continue my story. This time I have a hotel pre-paid thank you very much.
I keep going through different phases. My heart is taking me to different places.
I thought I was ready, I wasn’t ready.