Preparing for the TU20 Cup was not easy. It required lots of paperwork, lots of physical labor and lots of guidance and input that made the event as exciting as it was. In the end, the question remained, “Exactly what problems are we trying to solve?” With the help of Burlington Economic Development helped us compile a list of problems for that year’s topic: “How can we make our cities smarter?” Collaborating with other municipalities, over 200 problems were identified that teams could use to guide their work. Along with helping TU20 with problem statements, Frank McKeown, the former executive director of Burlington Economic Development was a judge in the technology competition.

Later on that year, they sponsored the Policy in Technology event and helped make the event along with the $1500 grand prize possible. Students were especially engaged and determined to learn more about AI and make an impressive write up at PIT. BEDC also helped host our TU20 Policy Technology event at TechPlace, Burlington’s innovation centre. Students used the co-working spaces to work on their answers in the uniquely creative environment. TechPlace is used by industry leaders, governments and startups among others to become successful and maintain it. They also provide their LaunchPad programs for small startups who need a high quality workspace. All TechPlace companies have access to their events and mentorship opportunities, along with promotional and marketing help.

Burlington Economic Development Corporation (BEDC) was created to help develop economic opportunities within Burlington for both new and existing businesses. They provide all kinds of the services to entrepreneurs, both new and old. A common interest of Tech Under Twenty members is ways to start a new and successful business. Unfortunately, it’s not always clear exactly how to do this. BEDC offers plenty of services that make the risky and laborious process more likely to succeed and prosper. They may host an event to commemorate the opening of, or share news about a new business is common and these services have been found to be very helpful by some. Another focus of BEDC is to help startup owners find good places around Burlington to setup and host certain promotional and educational events.

However, BEDC doesn’t only provide for newly founded business, but they’ve also been working with pre-existing businesses to address some of their goals. After a business is started, one of the most important and challenging goals will be to find good talent to do the key work of the business. The quality of the product you provide is invariably linked to the ability, experience, and training that an employee has. Unfortunately for some, there is no real secret to single-handedly finding the best in your field for your business, you’ll always rely on solutions that make the process easier for workers to find employees and vice versa.

Burlington Economic Development has been a great help to many in connecting people with skills and others who need them. Once you’re out of the woods and the business is up and running, there are even more services available such as connecting suppliers and customers – essential for any goods-based business. As one might expect, they can also play a role in helping anyone expand his or her business into Burlington. TU20 and its members are very grateful for all of the organizations that make all its mission-critical events possible and as great as they can be, and it’s only better when they’re of great interest to the members as well.


   David Atanasov
   Abbey Park High School