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  • NORTH FORGE SMARTPARK

    WINNIPEG

    CEO: Joelle Foster

    441 – 100 Innovation Drive
    Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 6G2• P: 204-262-6400

  • North Forge | East

    PINAWA

    President: Shane Li

    24 Aberdeen Avenue
    Pinawa, Manitoba R0E 1L0 • P: 204-753-5170

  • Fabrication Lab

    WINNIPEG

    Vice-President: Marney Stapley

    125 Adelaide Street
    Winnipeg, Manitoba R3A 0W4 • P: 204-799-2033

  • North Forge | North

    THE PAS

    University College of the North
    436-7th Street East, The Pas, Manitoba R9A 1M7
    (204) 623-0311

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Selling the Gateway Bug

When Alex Drysdale started Crik Nutrition, a cricket-based protein powder supplement, he figured he had a great idea. When media outlets like BuzzFeed, Forbes and CNBC came knocking before he even had a website to direct them to, he knew he was onto something big.

“I wasn’t ready for it, it happened really quickly. That very day I was doing interviews, it was immediate,” said Drysdale.

But before and after the media interest, the entrepreneur scene around North Forge in Winnipeg helped Drysdale through the crucial validation stage in his path from idea to product launch.

“Having a mentor is crucial – especially in the validation stage. They are very good at making you prove your idea. The most important thing was the tough love I received. Giving me context, feedback and taking me seriously.”

The North Forge startup program aims to help you understand every detail of your product and proposed solution before spending big money on your idea, with subject matter experts and mentors who have gone through the process.

“Bouncing ideas off people is great, but these people have tangible experience delivering business solutions. It’s a support system, with daily or weekly meetings and contacts in the community of experts. You’re tapping into everything that’s going on,” he said.

“Through the entrepreneur community in Winnipeg, everyone was extremely generous with time and advice. They were able to help me work through problems, introduce me to people who were instrumental for us – they really care.”

Having a successful Kickstarter campaign also helped build outside interest in his product. He worked with a local PR person with media contacts to get the word out for Crik Nutrition and was quickly featured as one of the world’s hottest 20 startups by CNBC and on the homepage of MSN.com.

For Drysdale, crickets can be the “gateway bug” to insect-based protein. Getting over the “ick” factor is surprisingly easy as Crik’s flavours are on par with any other mainstream protein powder on the market. To finalize the formula, Drysdale sought out a team of scientists who specialize in formulating top-selling products for national brands.

Once your idea is in place, Drysdale suggests entrepreneurs be ready for the press, and to know the ins and outs of your business. That way, when funding is in place, you can push a button and go.

“Make sure you know all your costs, know your timelines and know your contracts. Be 100 per cent confident that you can do it and use your mentors for advice.”

Crik is sold via criknutrition.com and the warehouse will typically get the order to anywhere in the continental U.S. and Canada within 24 hours Monday-Friday. They ship internationally, too.

Drysdale is excited for what’s next for Crik Nutrition, as he works to launch two new flavours, expand online retail avenues and create new products.

North Forge Mentorship Network

Fueling innovation through mentorship

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Supporters

North Forge Technology Exchange partners with PCL Construction Inc.

PCL Construction Inc.

From small renovations to complex billion dollar projects; from modular construction, to advanced digital technologies, to cutting-edge sustainability, PCL has you covered.

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North Forge has partnered with 6P Marketing

6P Marketing

6P Marketing is your collaborative marketing agency, working with you to achieve your goals.

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Bell MTS

Bell MTS is part of Canada’s largest telecommunications company, providing Manitobans with Mobile phone, TV, high speed Internet, and Home phone service.

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Thompson Dorfman Sweatman

At Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP (TDS), we are devoted to serving our valued clients. Our collegial workplace fosters greater teamwork, responsiveness and communication, providing better results for clients. TDS is Manitoba’s largest independent law firm.

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Wawanesa

Wawanesa works exclusively with insurance brokers across Canada, offering home, auto, farm and commercial business products.

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Bit Space Development

Bit Space Development Ltd. is an interactive digital media studio that specializes in creating innovative learning experiences for the classroom and workplace. We work with educators and industry professionals from around the world to develop effective solutions for education and training using cutting edge digital media technologies.

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Princess Auto

For more than 85 years, Princess Auto has been supplying trade professionals, home mechanics or people who simply love building things with the tools and equipment they need to figure it out – whatever that “it” may be. With a unique assortment of tools, equipment and products, ranging from hydraulics to welding, Princess Auto complements the home improvement sector rather than competing with it.

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Bockstael

For over 100 years the Bockstael name has been synonymous with construction in Manitoba. From the humble beginnings of a Belgian carpenter, to the fourth generation of family ownership, building is in our blood. We pride ourselves on world-class innovation and a client-first approach to doing business. This is our commitment to serving the province we choose to call home for the next 100 years — and beyond.

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Stu Clark Centre for Entreprenuership

The Stu Clark Centre for Entrepreneurship (SCCE) is here to support entrepreneurial activities across the entire University of Manitoba campus. In addition to supporting students at the I.H. Asper School of Business we also support students from ALL faculties across the University of Manitoba – Fort Garry and Bannatyne Campus including: Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences, Faculty of Science, Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Education and more!

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SevenOaks School Division

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Maples Met School

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LGD Pinawa

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Canadian Nuclear Laboratories

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Canadian National Energy Alliance

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North Forge Technology Exchange

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SEED - Altona

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Portage Regional Economic Development

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Morden & District Chamber of Commerce

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Morden Community Development Corp

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Community Futures Heartland

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Carman

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Access Credit Union

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North Forge East

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Community Futures Winnipeg Rivers

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Barkman Concrete Ltd.

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Pinawa Community Development Corporation

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Canadian Nuclear Laboratories

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Canadian National Energy Alliance

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Western Economic Diversification Canada

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Government of Canada

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City of Winnipeg

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University of Manitoba

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Fabbaloo

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Red River College

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Manitoba Government

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les.net

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