Sunday, February 10, 2013

Crowd-sourced Renovations – Now That’s Innovation!

 By: Chris Johnson
Day 1 of the massive ‘Renovation for Innovation’ at @RampUpManitoba and @AssentWorks presented itself with a unique challenge (something our membership love to overcome on a daily basis).  We had a trailer full of 600 10’ 2x4’s, with an elevator that decided to throw a hissy-fit (you would too if you were 100 years old!).  Well, it took approximately 60 seconds to make a human train consisting of 9 people to hike them up the fire escape to the third floor.  Isn’t that something?  9 people on site on a cold winter Saturday at 8AM who were willing to toss 2x4’s up a fire escape.  I was impressed, but that kind of excitement can’t keep up right?  These people are volunteers!

60 days after the outset of this project I am pleased to report that the crowd-sourced volunteers of Ramp Up Manitoba and AssentWorks, with a little help from some of our founding sponsors, have delivered an exceptional effort building our shiny new #StartupSpace!

It’s very exciting for Winnipeg that we have enough volunteers to take on a project of this size (almost 10,000 sq ft space) in such a short period of time. Quite frankly, it makes it all worthwhile!  It was the norm to show up to the space and meet totally new people who just pitched in with whatever skills they had to contribute, and even learned a few new skills along the way.

We had teachers turned framers, developers turned nail-pullers, engineers moonlighting as drywall installers and more.  Did you know your city was full of such giving, energetic, and passionate people?  We are so lucky to have a membership willing to give up their Christmas holidays, New Year’s, and countless evenings and weekends away from their families just trying to leave Winnipeg a better place than they found it.  This is the spirit that drives Ramp Up Manitoba and AssentWorks.  We owe a huge thank you to our dedicated members, and a number of private sector supporters including HIGH SPEED CROW (dozens of man hours donated), Moskal Electric (data cabling donated), Benjamin Moore (primer/paint donated), Best Price Painting (paint application donated), and more.

So, with space renovations coming to a close, it’s now time to turn our attentions to finishing touches inside the space.  Shuffling of equipment and tools on the AssentWorks side, and startups moving in to their new offices on the Ramp Up Manitoba side.  It’s time to get back to the business of innovating, prototyping, and commercializing.  And not a moment too soon, Winnipeg is bursting at the seams with great ideas that need to be built.

We undertook this project to expand our prototyping capabilities at AssentWorks while adding co-working space for innovative Ramp Up Manitoba startup companies to thrive together.  We have a lot more to announce in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

Lastly, if you read this and said to yourself even once, ‘Hey, this sounds great – I would love to be involved in something like that’…  we’d love to meet you!  Visit us at the below sites to learn more, or pop in any Tuesday evening  for our Community Night where you can get a site tour and meet some of our members.



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