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StartupFest connects entrepreneurs with investors
Most people go to festivals in Montreal so they can get away from work and have some time to play.
That attitude is turned upside down by the Startup Festival, now in its sixth year.
Organizer Phil Telio launched the four-day event as a way for local entrepreneurs to help each other, and to learn from people who have transformed their own small companies into giants.
"Montreal's got a very vibrant startup community There is so much innovation going on. You can tell now with all of the accelerators, co-working spaces," said Telio.
One example is his own festival, which continues to grow every year.
"Startup Festival, year after year the number of startups here doubles, so there is no doubt this is a growing tide," he said.
This year Telio snagged some big speakers including Alexis Ohanian, the founder of Reddit (the self-described front page of the internet), Harper Reed, in charge of software development for PayPal, and Kara Swisher, founder of the technology news website Recode.
Entrepreneurs and capitalists like Jamie O'Hara of the Grise Global Group said Montreal is a good place to invest.
"The quality of life for folks that work in startups. Of course the food is amazing is well," said O'Hara.
Having four universities in the city also lends itself to finding motivated and exceptional employees.
"The talent pool is incredibly high," said O'Hara.
The final advantage is the weakness of the Canadian dollar with regards to international currencies.
"It's one of those little secrets that's becoming not so little anymore," said O'Hara.
Some of the featured speakers are explaining the steps they took in starting their business, and how they coped with success.
Josée Klus, herself an entrepreneur, said the festival is a fantastic way to learn from other people's mistakes, and to expand her network of supporters.
"There are great serial entrepreneurs here and there are a lot of best practices I can learn and speed up my startup and make it to successful ground," said Klus.
Other speakers are explaining how to approach investors and build partnerships.
The festival continues at the Old Port until Saturday.