Waterloo Region, September 29, 1993. It’s early morning when local entrepreneur Yvan Couture begins pitching an idea to a crowd gathered at the University of Waterloo’s William G. Davis Centre for the monthly meeting of the Computer Technology Network.
Couture, then founder, President and CEO of Taaz Corporation, a consulting firm serving the tech community in southwestern Ontario, is jazzed about the growth opportunities he’d seen industry associations provide to techies in places like Ottawa and Raleigh, North Carolina – peer-to-peer training, mentoring, conferences – and has built out a similar plan for Waterloo with the help of Ruth Songhurst, then president of Mortice Kern Systems (MKS), a local software firm.
Using appliqués on an overhead projector, he begins to tease out a vision for a member-funded organization that would “provide the vehicle for assisting the local technology sector to prosper and become the main driving force in the local economy, as well as enhancing Waterloo Region as a hotbed for world-class technology.”
The roomful of entrepreneurs is more interested in the free doughnuts and coffee than anything Couture has to say.
“It fell very flat,” Couture says with a laugh. “One of the key guys was adamant that there was no way that anybody would pay, so it kind of died. It didn’t go anywhere.”
Well, not yet.