Shawna Tregunna had every reason to smile in front of the floodlit media banner in the Algonquin Commons Nov.17.
She’d just put on a party for 400 people.
Tregunna was taking part in the Ottawa leg of Startup Canada, a countrywide tour which landed here to spur entrepreneurship from coast to coast.
As well as heading up the Ottawa Startup chapter and hosting the event, Tregunna owns a digital marketing agency specializing in social media. After studying at Brock University and moving to Ottawa, she studied web design at Algonquin and then facilitated an online social media communications class there.
Studying media gave her the theory and understanding to grow her business.
Tregunna always has been an entrepreneur.
“I was the kid out there painting pictures and trying to sell to family members,” she said. While her friends in high school thought of being cheerleaders, Tregunna did programs like junior achievement for fun.
“I don’t think I ever decided that this is what I want to do, it’s what I always was,” she said. “I didn’t have a choice to do anything else.”
Her “aha!” moment was thrust upon her. During a two-month period, people offered to pay her to do their social media while she was still working at her day job. “After the third person said ‘Make my website, do my blog, do my Facebook for me’, I thought ‘I need to go after this’ and I did,” Tregunna said.
Going after goals, in fact, was a recurring theme throughout Startup Canada’s mission.
“Students have the opportunity to meet with entrepreneurs to think about how to start their own business and get involved in the Ottawa startup community,” said Victoria Lennox, co-founder of Startup Canada.
Startup Canada kicked-off in May 2012 with its slogan, “Entrepreneurship empowers everyone.”
During the six-month tour, it partnered with 300 organizations to run 200 events in 40 communities. More than 20,000 Canadians attended networking meetings and private interviews, resulting in the largest meeting of entrepreneurs in Canadian history.