Businesses You Didn’t Know PME Helped Propel

Over the past 18 years PME has helped guide many diverse businesses to success. Often, entrepreneurs come to us with just an outline of what they aim to achieve. With added assistance from our program leaders, mentors, and committee members, we are able to turn this vision into reality. Here are just a few notable mentions of companies that have been able to turn ideas into lucrative business opportunities with help from PME.

Budge Studios

Not only do they have millions of downloads for their games, they have become members of the PME committee. The mission of Budge Studios is to thrill, educate, and entertain children around the world through creative and innovative apps. They have won numerous notable awards for their accomplishments. This includes the Google Play ‘Best of 2016’ App Selection Award for their app, My Little Pony: Harmony Quest. Additionally, they won the Apple Store Best of 2016 for Miss Hollywood Vacation Canada. Budge Studios may be in the business of creating games but their business strategy and objective is rigid and direct. It’s all about being family friendly and universally playable.

Naked and Famous Denim

Naked and Famous Jeans has come a long way since we first met Brandon Svarc. Simply put, the company focuses on one thing only. As they so eloquently state: “No marketing, no washes, no pre-distressing, no nonsense. Just excellent denim at a reasonable price.” Naked and Famous Jeans uses Japanese selvedge denim which is woven slowly and painstakingly on old shuttle looms. Svarc travels to Japan numerous times a year to find new fabrics, and denim mills. Nicknamed the Willy Wonka of denim, he has been interviewed by popular publications such as GQ to share knowledge about his expertise. With all their products made and sewn in Canada,their sole purpose is to sell the highest level of quality to their end-user.

Copower

CoPower is where impact investment meets Wall Street. We met founders David Berliner, Larry Markowitz and Raphael Bouskila in 2013. Since then, CoPower has continued to strive and make the world a greener and more sustainable place. CoPower’s team works with clean energy firms to identify clean energy and energy efficient projects that generate steady and predictable revenue streams. CoPower is all about impact investing. For those of you who are unsure of what this is, impact investing is a strategy that involves the investing in companies and projects with the intention of generating measurable, positive, and environmental benefits alongside financial returns.

Revols

Not only are Navi and Daniel kick-ass entrepreneurs, but did you know they had the biggest kickstarter campaign in Canadian history? Revols has come a long way since its founding in 2014. Navi and Daniel were endlessly frustrated with finding the perfect pair of earphones. While they understood that ears are as unique as fingerprints, all custom-fit earphones came with a high price-point and long wait times. The dynamic duo decided to take matters into their own hands and create Revols: a pair of wireless customized earphones that provide the same comfort and sound benefits as traditional custom-fits, at a fraction of the cost and time.

All in all, PME has had some pretty driven, and ambitious entrepreneurs come through its doors. This is just a glimpse of many of our success stories. We provide them with the most essential tools entrepreneurs need in order to succeed.

PME Co-Founder, Jimmy Alexander

We got the opportunity to have a quick chat with PME co-founder, Jimmy Alexander. Since 1999 he has been an essential part of PME’s success. He had some insight to share about the program, entrepreneurship, the lessons he’s learned along the way, and what he anticipates for the future.

Q: PME has been around for quite some time now. Why did you believe it was necessary to start PME?

A: Back in the days of the potential referendum, or the potential loss of the referendum, PME was founded in order to help young Jewish people stay in Montreal. We went out and we asked a set of Jewish people what it would take for them to stay in the city. They all said job prospects and career opportunities. We figured, what better way to do that than to take on the Jewish adage “give a man a fish and he eats for a day, teach a man to fish and he eats for a lifetime.” We wanted to give young people an opportunity to learn business. We wanted entrepreneurs and community leaders to have exponential growth within the community, and provide them with great potential.

Q: What has kept you motivated to continue after 18 years?

A: Our success! It’s so gratifying. I’ve participated in many community projects and, by far, the PME has been the most rewarding. Creating something from nothing, and enjoying the success we have, is for sure the motivation behind PME. It’s not just about the company’s we’ve funded. Just the mere fact that PME exists sparks people’s interest in starting businesses.

Q: What have been some of the highlights as part of the PME Committee? Do any moments stand out to you?

A: How we define success would be that more people who have been recipients of funding will eventually join our board, donate to PME and community and help us perpetuate the fund.  Over the years, that is exactly what has happened. Right now, we thankfully have about four previous PME recipients sit on the board. That is by far, the most outstanding highlight to me! In a way it’s like meeting your grandchildren or great grandchildren!

Q: What is it about a particular business that makes it deserving of PME funding?

A: I think it’s two things. One, is the credibility of the plan. At its base, the idea, and where it fits in the shelf is crucial. In other words, how it is positioned within the industry it wants to be in is very important. The second aspect is the entrepreneur. The tenacity of the individual, their charm, charisma, and how they can explain the profitability of their business is equally as important. If they can’t convince a group like ours, who is really pushing for them to be successful, how are they going to convince others?

Q: Where do you see PME 18 years from now?

A: First of all, from a self-serving point of view I’d like to see my children or Stephen’s participate in the PME program. That would be great. We also actually started the plan for PME 2.0. I’d really like to see that grow into the next stage of PME. It’s a whole different ballgame, but we have a good plan set in place, and so continuing to build it and figuring out different ways of helping entrepreneurs is the goal.

Q: What do you believe is the biggest lesson you’ve learned over the years?

A: One of the biggest lessons we’ve learned, and taught many of our recipients, is that you show up day one with your plan and idea. However, you may have to adapt and change and deviate from what you originally set out to do. Making changes, while progressing is what keeps us successful. We’ve learned a lot, and more importantly, we’ve been very fortunate to have a very engaged board that has helped us along the way.

It is because of the dedication of community leaders like Jimmy Alexander that PME has seen great success. Starting and leading such a program comes with its set of challenges. However, with passionate people leading PME, the obstacles and challenges make for great lessons and brighter futures.

ProMontreal Entrepreneurs(PME) Support

Learn To Be

Reflecting on the Past 18 years

Rosh Hashanah is a time for reflecting on the past, and anticipating what is to come. As this year is ProMontreal Entrepreneurs (PME)’s 18th anniversary, this Rosh Hashana is rather special. PME has come a long way since 1999. What started off as a small initiative to support Montreal-based businesses, has become a community movement that has much to be proud of. Over the years, the PME program has helped countless people scale their businesses, receive business training and coaching and connect to investors and mentors. Through our PME fund, we have helped propel and create over 71 startups that have created  over 800 jobs and have an estimated value of over 45 million dollars.

Without question, making PME a success takes a village. Thankfully for us, the village behind our success is one of support and unity. As a matter of fact, one of our greatest assets is our PME committee, comprised of a dedicated group of community leaders working to help our entrepreneurs reach higher levels of success. Along with our group of accomplished and knowledgeable mentors, the committee assists our entrepreneurs in solving the short term and long-term problems of their businesses. The bond built between all parties affiliated with PME reinforces the values of education and community.

Though the past 18 years have given us much to be proud of, we equally look forward to new beginnings. As PME expands and branches out into new endeavors, this will be another year of new challenges and accomplishments. In order to further reinforce PME’s mission of helping young entrepreneurs, we hope to develop new ways of collaborating with diverse entrepreneurs by helping them ignite their business ideas.

All in all, while we will continue to bring life into business in this coming year, we wish all members of the Jewish community a shana tova!

Why PME

Taglit’s Startup Innovation Center

In its short history, Israel has managed to become one of the world’s few startup capitals. It has become the startup nation with the third most companies listed on NASDAQ. Given Israel’s population of 9 million, various internal and external conflicts, and lack of natural resources, it has accomplished what most would consider to be impossible. Tel Aviv has built a reputation that reflects more than its beautiful beaches. Just go visit Taglit’s Innovation Center to see exactly what we are talking about.

The Innovation Center at the heart of Tel Aviv aims to display new advancements of Israeli Start-Ups in different fields. In collaboration with the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, Taglit-Birthright built the “State of Mind” Innovation Center. It provides an opportunity to talk about the fact that this sliver of land has over 4,000 operating startups. Visitors can learn about Israel as an international leader in technology, engineering, and philanthropy. More specifically, ground-breaking inventions for agriculture, medicine, transportation, security, and outer space are displayed. What is unique about the Innovation Center is that it emboldens user interaction. The center puts up touch screens, tutorials and prototypes, allowing for visitors to explore and understand various innovations. This way people can understand exactly why the country is deserving of its “Startup Nation” title.

Each Taglit-Birthright group that visits the Innovation Center begins by exploring the interactive exhibition, and continues with a meet-up with a Ieading Israeli entrepreneur. Here are the names of just a few start-ups displayed at the Innovation Center that is destined to make revolutionary impact.

  • Electroad: This technology uses energy from the road to power electric vehicles using that road. Copper chains are inserted into grooves in the asphalt, then connected to a power converter on the side of the road that links to the city’s electric grid. This will revolutionize transport.

  • Pillcam: A tiny camera in a capsule. After the patient swallows the capsule, the camera can reveal any abnormalities and supplies essential medical diagnosis. A tiny wireless camera contained in an easy-to-swallow and disposable capsule about the size of a vitamin pill transmits images as it travels through the human body. This inventions makes excruciating exams, such as colonoscopies, much more endurable.

  • Skyfi: It is the world’s most advanced nanosatellite with larger cover area and bandwidth. This allows for better connection between more people, allowing us to become part of a global village. Basically, this is a much cheaper way of spreading internet globally.

Each startup begins with a need. Taglit Birthright had an unmet need to show groups the innovation side of Israel; and thus the center was born. The center was originally intended for Taglit participants, but curiosity and interest arose quickly. Now the center also hosts governmental and business delegations from all over the world, a variety of private and group tourist organizations, and all kinds of people who want a glimpse into the Israeli innovation scene.

Former Prime Minister Golda Meir famously said the God had made a mistake in sending the Jews to the only country in the Middle East with no oil. While it is true that oil may have made things easier, lack thereof has, without a doubt, forced Israel to find new and innovative ways to survive and transcend all expectations.

Mettre fin aux mythes au sujet des introvertis

introvertisHillary Clinton a un jour dit qu’elle n’est ni extravertie ni introvertie. Elle affirme qu’elle est «extra-introvertie.» Peu importe ce que cela peut signifier, une chose est certaine, c’est que de s’identifier en tant que l’un ou l’autre semble provoquer la peur d’être jugé. Si vous acceptez d’être extraverti, vous pouvez être perçu comme intimidant et désagréable. D’autre part, si vous déclarez que vous êtes introverti, vous risquez d’être jugé comme une personne qui est timide et qui préfère être seule. Malheureusement, ces idées fausses sont fréquemment rencontrées dans le monde des affaires et il arrive souvent que les introvertis soient désavantagés.

Dans un monde où les entrepreneurs doivent constamment réseauter, s’adresser à de grandes foules, et chercher à accroître leurs activités, il peut sembler préférable, dans le domaine de l’entrepreneuriat, d’être extraverti. Dans un sondage mené par USA Today, les résultats ont montré que 65 % des cadres croient que l’introversion est un obstacle au leadership. Par contre, si l’on y regarde plus à fond, certains des entrepreneurs les plus prospères du monde proclament être des introvertis. Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, et Warren Buffet ne sont que quelques noms qui viennent à l’esprit. Il arrive souvent que les raisons pour lesquelles les gens déclarent les introvertis comme moins compétents soient précisément la raison de leur succès.

Mythe n° 1 : Les extravertis sont meilleurs pour prendre la parole en public

Malcolm Gladwell est habile à encourager les gens à réfléchir à leurs actions. Introverti qui réussit fort bien, il peut séduire des milliers de personnes sur scène tout comme il peut le faire à la table du dîner tout en demeurant totalement calme. Pour lui, parler en public, ou faire une présentation ne sont pas des actes réservés aux extravertis. Il s’agit plutôt de technique de narration. En outre, les craintes des introvertis à propos

à propos de présentations publiques sont exactement les mêmes que celles redoutées par les extravertis. La peur de l’hostilité de la foule, ne pas se souvenir de ses lignes, et le niveau général d’anxiété peuvent se retrouver chez tout le monde.

Mythe n° 2 : Les extravertis réussissent mieux au réseautage

Il est bien connu que les introvertis aiment analyser leurs pensées intérieurement. Cependant, vous n’êtes pas obligé d’être aussi ouvert et expressif que les personnes extraverties pour réussir à créer des liens sociaux et professionnels. Ce mythe suppose également que toutes les personnes présentes à des événements de réseautage sont extraverties, ce qui est fort peu probable. S’adapter à des comportements variés et tisser des liens, c’est ce en quoi consiste le réseautage. Les introvertis ont tendance à ne pas aimer les banalités et ils préfèrent de conversations plus approfondies en tête-à-tête. Cette attitude peut s’avérer être un avantage dans une salle remplie de gens qui sont passionnés par leurs entreprises en démarrage et leurs projets.

Mythe n° 3 : Les extravertis font de meilleurs chefs d’entreprise

Ce n’est pas que les extravertis soient de meilleurs chefs d’entreprise, c’est simplement que les extravertis et les introvertis ont des approches de gestion différentes. Il n’est pas question de bonne ou de mauvaise façon. Posséder de bonnes aptitudes analytiques, et permettre aux autres de s’exprimer pendant que vous écoutez peut ouvrir la porte à des stratégies plus riches. Avoir de bonnes capacités d’écoute, démontrer de l’empathie et aimer passer du temps seul sont des caractéristiques qui peuvent contribuer positivement au leadership.

En tant qu’entrepreneur, votre succès ne dépend pas de votre façon de vous définir, en tant qu’introverti, extraverti ou «extra-introverti». Il faut surtout retenir que les grands entrepreneurs restent fidèles à eux-mêmes. Ils ne cherchent pas à être quelqu’un qu’ils ne sont pas. Mais, et cela est encore plus important, de bons entrepreneurs connaissent leurs points forts autant que leurs faiblesses. Si vous êtes un entrepreneur astucieux, vous pouvez vous associer avec quelqu’un dont les forces complètent les vôtres. Malheureusement, à cause de plusieurs mythes, les introvertis sentent qu’ils doivent rivaliser avec les extravertis alors que ce qui importe vraiment c’est l’adaptation aux différents contextes. Heureusement pour nous, introvertis, ces mythes sont erronés.

The Costs and Rewards of Being an Entrepreneur

entrepreneurDreams of launching a start-up are often times quite magical, inspiring, yet very misconstrued. The first investor you may approach might not fund you, and in turn the accelerated growth you may have hoped for, may take the backburner for a while. Truth is entrepreneurship is far from all flowers and rainbows. As a matter of fact, the top 3 reasons why most start-ups fail are (1) Your product or service does not meet a real need, (2) Running out of cash and (3) Not having the right team. Launching a start-up is always a challenging and draining experience that requires sacrifice, dedication, and hard-work well before you can dwell in the luxe life. Heading a start-up is full of brick walls, costs, and rewards, even when business is booming.

Envision a to-do list so full of work the font is illegible. Now, double the amount of tasks on that list. That is what awaits you. In your first year of business, you will have to deal with way more than you thought you ever would. Since you likely won’t have enough capital to hire employees at this stage to help with the workload, you will have to take on designing your website, writing blog posts, implementing marketing strategies, looking for investors, dealing with taxes, and so much more. Chances are that you might simply not know how to do most of these things, which will leave you doing hours’ worth of research about how to do tasks such as embedding social media links to your website. In such situations your best bet would be to find resources available to entrepreneurs for help. Luckily, countless such resources are available for entrepreneurs in Montreal.

At the early stages of business development what you will soon realize is that you won’t be able to master every aspect of your start-up at once. Yes, you will quickly become an expert juggler but beware not to get so caught up in your work that you lose sight of what matters for your business to remain afloat. The aforementioned top 3 reasons of why most start-ups fail can help keep you on track as well as having a clear vision of where your business is heading.

This last tip is probably most important. As an entrepreneur you may find yourself complaining that 24 hours in a day is just simply not enough. You will have so many things to do, yet so little time to do anything. 10-hour sleep nights will become a notion of the past, along with breakfast and two hour lunch breaks. Time management is key, as well as, being surrounded by a supportive network of peers, mentors and family members.
If this hasn’t scared you off from starting your own business, great. This post is not meant to discourage you from following your dreams of being an entrepreneur. To the contrary, it is meant to prepare you for what awaits. Being an entrepreneur is difficult due to the uncertainty of the future that lies ahead and the amount of risk you must be able to take on.

Hopefully, for many of you with great risk will come great reward. The financial, emotional, and personal gains of entrepreneurship are countless, and it is a very fulfilling experience when you realize that all your sacrifices and hard work have paid off. ProTip: don’t give up on your entrepreneurial dreams. Truth is, it will never get easier, but you will get better.