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Google News Initiative

How you can help the 2022 GNI Startups Boot Camp Canada news businesses

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Editor's note: This blog originally appeared on Lion Publishers blog.

In our first Google News Initiative Startups Boot Camp focused specifically on Canada, aspiring and early-stage news entrepreneurs pitched news business ideas to serve communities across the country.

After eight weeks of intensive work, 13 boot camp projects are ready to launch or grow with the training and coaching they received from Boot Camp founder and director Phillip Smith, co-producer Eva Voinigescu and coaches Natasha Grzincic and Hannah Sung.

“This is the first time we’ve run a dedicated boot camp program for Canadian journalist entrepreneurs. As a fellow Canadian, this was a real honour for me,” said Smith. “I’m excited to watch these entrepreneurs make their mark on the Canadian media landscape.”

Upon completing the program, the Google News Initiative also made additional funding available for Boot Camp graduates to invest in growing their startups.

“We launched this program because of our belief in the strength and importance of news entrepreneurship in Canada and the need to continue building community and connections,” said Andrew Wicken, Head of News Partnerships, Google Canada. ”This talented group highlights the greenshoots of innovation emerging in the Canadian news ecosystem and the bright possibilities ahead for digital journalism.”

Learn more about each of the projects below, and reach out to them if you’re interested in learning more or supporting their work.

Congratulations to all these independent news business founders.

Black Dollar Magazine / Viib Media Inc.

Black Dollar Magazine (BDM) is a one-stop enterprise for Black entrepreneurs and readers looking for greater brand recognition and support through education and financial tools in Canada. It’s also a hub for young Black Canadian talent on the path to creative entrepreneurship through arts, music and dance.

Founder: Jordan Maxwell

Based in: Toronto, Ontario

Next steps: To produce a weekly newsletter aimed at the Black entrepreneur community as well as investors, business leaders and executives.

How you can help: Networking, funding, assistance, continued mentorship

How to get in touch: Email Jordan at maxwellsnote@gmail.com.

Clearing a New Path

Clearing a New Path™ podcast and newsletter aims to inform and empower rural Canadian women allies to unite and spark change.

Founder: Shauna Rae

Based in: Dorchester, Ontario

Next steps: I'm hosting the first virtual town hall, YOUR VOICE MATTERS, an event hearing from four former podcast guests. I've invited 400+ female-identifying mayors and band council chiefs from across Canada to listen to the issues these folks have faced, in an effort to grow the audience and engagement. This is an experiment to see if rural women-identifying and non-binary entrepreneurs want to be matched and meet virtually for mentoring and coffee dates. I'm also looking to work with freelancers to provide 'report cards' on organizations whose mandate it is to provide services to these folks, to further build the audience engagement and to attract more sponsorship and membership.

How you can help: I'm very interested in building partnerships and relationships with other independent Canadian news organizations with similar missions and values, to share stories, create joint campaigns together and amplify one another, in an effort to bring more light and lenses to our very white rural spaces. I'm looking for sponsorships and funding that will help me pay minority journalists/freelancers well and provide platforms so that all voices and lenses are amplified in rural Canada.

How to get in touch: Email Shauna at shauna@radarmedia.co.

Durham Life

Durham Life is a modern local news startup that presents a variety of content – from local event listings to restaurant and business reviews to quality video content – and shares it with our audience through an email newsletter, blogs and social media pages. The Durham Life’s focus will be on positive news from the Durham Region. Highlighting and promoting the good work done by volunteers, charities and community leaders will help us raise awareness of local issues and inspire people to get involved.

Founder: Mike Duhamel

Based in: Oshawa, Ontario

Next steps: Getting website and email sequence set-up. Hiring two freelance reporters/writers to start on a format/framework for both the website and the weekly email. Also putting together a targeted list of potential "builders/supporters" to help with immediate expenses.

How you can help: Right now, a web developer would be #1. Someone to help set-up Ghost with the proper theme and newsletter signup tech. #2 would be reporters/writers who can flesh out a format/tone for both the website and the newsletter.

How to get in touch: Email Mike at mike@mediagonemad.ca.

From a Coloured Lens

From a Coloured Lens is a unique podcast that will allow BIPOC journalists to tell stories about communities and focus on their achievements despite many challenges faced by them.

Founder: Aysha Ghaffar (with thanks to Noor Fatima)

Based in: Vancouver, British Columbia

Next steps: Start a social media campaign and work toward reaching 200 subscribers, produce two episodes and acquire at least two advertisers before launch in November 2022.

How you can help: As we kickstart the social media campaign, people can create awareness by sharing the podcast information with friends and family, donate up to $5 before we launch and write to us if they want to tell/share a story about their community.

How to get in touch: Email Aysha at colouredlens@protonmail.com or follow on Instagram @acolouredlens.

Island Edition

Island Edition is a weekly newsletter that covers the latest news and information to keep young professionals up to date.

Founder: Andrew Chisholm

Based in: Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

Next steps: My immediate next step is to launch a signup form, then test my newsletter with a small audience so I can gather feedback and make some editorial tweaks before publishing to the public.

How you can help: I could really use some help/consultation setting up my tech. As a team of one, it’s important that I launch with a system that will help me grow, and not hinder my growth by constantly getting in the way.

How to get in touch: Email Andrew at andrew@islandedition.ca.

Latitodo

Latitodo is an online media platform that will help improve Latin Americans’ work and everyday life experiences by bringing local Latino stories forward.

Founder: Camila Castaneda

Based in: Vancouver, British Columbia

Next steps: Set up name registration, first newsletter pilot, website and social media accounts.

How you can help: Networking, technical assistance and promotion

How to get in touch: Email Camila at cm.castaneda@outlook.com.

Mabuhay Canada

Mabuhay Canada is a one-stop source for Filipino news, services for newcomers, shopping and connection. We aim to celebrate the best of Filipino life in Canada.

Founder: Yona Mae Harvey

Based in: Belleville, Ontario

Next steps: My next steps will be to work on my website, launch my experiment and write articles. I am aiming to lay the groundwork for my business and really focus on what I’ve learned during the Boot Camp and apply it. I have commissioned work on my logo and will incorporate that into my website, newsletter and merchandise.

How you can help: Funding is my biggest focus right now and making sure I apply to grants and funding that I qualify for. I will also promote within my network of friends once the website is in operation. I need help with the back-end of my website—how to incorporate ads, shopping links and language buttons, and optimize the overall look of my website. I also need basic equipment (my laptop does not have enough memory, and I don’t have a digital camera yet).

How to get in touch: Email Yona at pomharvey@hotmail.com.

Parles-on

Parles-on is a franglais podcast that explores what it means to be a Montrealer in 2022.

Founder: Cara Fox

Based in: Montreal, QC

Next steps: Producing the first episode.

How you can help: Continued support and coaching, promotion, and financial support.

How to get in touch: Email Cara at foxc@live.ca.

Spinning Forward

Spinning Forward elevates the voices of BIPOC content creators and communities in Toronto who are underrepresented in the online creator economy. We do this through a weekly newsletter and podcast.

Founder: Flavian DeLima

Based in: Toronto, Ontario

Next steps: Create operating procedures for high-quality weekly editorial; seek sponsorship and revenue opportunities including partnerships/collaborations; and establish key milestones for growing audience each week and month.

How you can help: We're looking for mentors and others who can offer guidance around our editorial content and value proposition, as well as those who understand how technical tools grow email acquisition and podcast subscriptions.

How to get in touch: Email Flavian at flavianldelima@gmail.com.

The Bridge

The Bridge is a podcast focused on South Asian women — a place where news, culture and identity intersect.

Founder: Bal Brach

Based in: Vancouver, British Columbia

Next steps: Operational and audience development. Get season 1 going and build an audience, home page and social media marketing plan.

How you can help: Funding for technical production, help with website and landing page development and audience-building.

How to get in touch: Email Bal at balbrach@gmail.com.

The Flatlander

The Flatlander untangles complex issues impacting Saskatchewan and Manitoba. It tells the stories of Prairie people and explores the communities and land we call home.

Founder: Kelly-Anne Riess

Based in: Cold Lake, Alberta

Next steps: I just completed a founding member's campaign, which raised more than $3,000, and I'm currently exploring ways to build a member-only minimum viable product, like a reporter's notebook and/or private Facebook group to start to build a community. I'm also working toward introducing newsletter sponsorship in the near future and finalizing my writer guidelines to hire freelancers and help me increase my publishing frequency from once a week to twice a week.

How you can help: I'm looking for businesses to be founding sponsors of The Flatlander, in addition to a foundation that could serve as a fiscal sponsor, which would allow me to apply for grants to fund solutions-based journalism around poverty and climate change. Assistance in networking with potential businesses and foundations would be helpful, as would connecting with people who could potentially serve on an advisory committee, such as a lawyer, accountant or human resources expert, who could help fill in my gaps in knowledge. Promotion and marketing opportunities and expertise would also be appreciated, as would any mentorship.

How to get in touch: Email Kelly-Anne at kellyriess@theflatlander.ca.

The Pulse

The Pulse produces daily news focusing on the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver. The news will be distributed via broadcast, podcast and short audio clips made for social media.

Based in: Vancouver, British Columbia

Next steps: We have already produced more than 300 episodes of the show and have received great feedback. We are now running an experiment with social media to expand our listenership to the people living in the Oppenheimer District of the DTES, the poorest part of the neighbourhood, with the idea of serving them better by collaborating with them.

How you can help: If our experiment is successful, we will seek help with any opportunities for grants or startup funding.

Twice as Good Media

Twice as Good Media is a membership-driven media company that creates an informed network of black leaders and non-black allies by providing empowering, big-picture journalism.

Founder: Sandra Hannebohm

Based in: Halifax, Nova Scotia

Next steps: The first big step is to launch an audio and text newsletter that leaders can rely on to better understand what’s going on in the news as it relates to topics of interest to black communities, and help each other create collective thriving in Halifax by sharing information as a network. The first milestone is to reach 2,000 subscribers, then develop a compelling membership experience and convert 200 subscribers into members.

How you can help: Sponsors and advertisers will lighten the financial load in the first year as subscriptions are free and the membership will only launch once we reach 2,000 subscribers. Consider becoming a sponsor or advertiser, or share 2xG.ca with your friends interested in black Canadian journalism!

How to get in touch: Email Sandra at sandra.hannebohm@gmail.com