So, you want to start a technology company?
We love to hear that! There’s nothing more exciting to us than innovation and up-and-coming entrepreneurs getting fired up about new ideas. We know bringing ideas to life isn’t always easy—frankly, it can be pretty overwhelming. Luckily, Saskatchewan is bursting with knowledgeable people and resources that can help you, and so we thought we’d do a 4 part series on “How to Start a New Tech Company”! We want to walk you through the steps of pathfinding (and where to start), share options for our province’s tech incubators and programs, let you know how to secure investments (and where to find them), and show you what it looks like to take your company to the next level.
Let’s start at the beginning. You have a brilliant idea—now what?
- Research: It should be no surprise that the first thing you should start doing is research. Before you begin strategizing, really understand the problem and look around to see if any other groups are doing anything to solve it. Focus on getting to know your markets and product and consider the perspectives of potential users and businesses who would be using your technology. Is it a solution that people will pay for? How can you address the issue to make your technology a “need to have” and not just “nice to have”?
- Connect with people in the industry: Once you’ve done your research, it’s time to get to work. The tech industry moves fast, so don’t delay! Start sharing your idea and reach out to people you trust to help you get it off the ground. Connect with family and friends, people in the industry, entrepreneurs in your life, and reach out to us here at Innovation Saskatchewan. If those resources don’t have the answers you’re looking for, one of them is bound to be a handshake or Zoom call away from someone who does.
- Don’t be afraid to share your idea: While you may be a little nervous about sharing your idea with someone who could take it from you, don't be afraid to get opinions from others in the industry. You may have heard that some founders want non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) signed, but that's unlikely to happen in technology. There are few people out there who will be as deeply interested in what you’re pursuing, so sharing your idea will be more helpful than harmful.
- Find a developer: As you’re getting into deeper discussions about how your technology is coming together, you should be thinking about how you’re going to make it happen. Are you creating an app? Are you building a brand new platform? As your idea starts to take shape, you’ll need to build your team. You have a couple of options: you could hire a developer to specifically build your tech or look into outsourcing development teams, either locally or elsewhere (preferably local, though!). A few great ways to get acquainted with developers and look for talent is by joining conversations happening on community Slack channels, like the ones hosted by SaskTech or HackRegina.
- Build your team: Along with development, you’ll also want to find people who can help with the basics of running your new technology company, such as a bookkeeper and lawyer. Once the ball is rolling, it will be beneficial to extend that team, like adding marketing support to spread the word about your new tech and get everyone excited about it!
All things considered, don’t overlook your passion for this project. Innovating from scratch takes effort, time, and money, so are you willing to dedicate the energy required to bring it to fruition? Check in to ensure you feel 100% driven to solve the problem yet flexible enough to pivot if needed.
Starting a new tech company isn’t easy, but it’s worth it. At Innovation Saskatchewan, we see the tech sector aggressively growing over the next decade. In fact, we are working hard to meet the government Growth Plan commitment to triple the tech sector by 2030. The growth potential of our industry is tremendous! We need everyone involved—all genders, all ages, and people from all sorts of backgrounds—to progress forward.
So kudos to you and your brilliant idea! Saskatchewan is filled with talented people, incredibly helpful resources, and most importantly—a welcoming and encouraging tech sector. Stay tuned as we continue this series and dive into the programs and incubators available to help startups with funding and laying the ground floor of their company. We look forward to seeing your tech dream come to life!