Startup Canada’s 2020 Canadian Export Challenge

Startup Canada’s 2020 Canadian Export Challenge (CXC) is fast approaching, with regional pitch competitions running from September 14th to 21st.
Despite pivoting to a fully digital event series due to COVID-19, our team has been working hard to make #CXC2020 the best Canadian Export Challenge yet. With an exciting program agenda including presentations by leading experts in global entrepreneurship, the virtual growth lounge and our star-studded panels, there is something for everyone at this year’s CXC. Want to know more about the Canadian Export Challenge’s expert guests and further resources to help you on your journey to becoming a global entrepreneur? Look no further!

Welcoming new members to the Yukonstruct board

On July 22, many Yukonstruct members joined the board for the organization’s annual general meeting. The AGM was a success, and we’d like to take a moment to thank and acknowledge our outgoing board members, and welcome a few new members!

Meet the Makers: Josephine

Meet the Makers is a series of interviews to help you get to know the people who are building our community. Josephine is our new Events Coordinator.

Meet the Makers: William

Meet the Makers is a series of interviews to help you get to know the people who are building our community. William is our new Launchspace Director. 


Why did you join Yukonstruct

I have been an entrepreneur for the past 6 years and I was looking for an organization and a role where I could add value. I came across Yukonstruct, read about cospace, makespace, the people, the stories, and I knew immediately I had found what I was looking for. Entrepreneurs seize opportunities and that is what I did, the rest is history in the making.
William, what’s your role at Yukonstruct?
I’m the new Launchspace Director. My role currently involves working with various partners in creating a new program that will help support Entrepreneurs turn their ideas into sustainable businesses. At the same time, I am looking for ways existing businesses can benefit from the creative ideas coming out of Yukonstruct. I recognize there is more to the Yukon than Whitehorse and I will work hard to expand our reach and extend our support to other parts of the territory.
What do you like most about Yukonstruct and sub – brands being up and running?
Putting cospace and makespace side by side was a great idea. I love how the space was designed to fit everyone and with everyone in mind.  It is a place for established companies, software based businesses and professionals, hardware and more recently for young entrepreneurs, kudos to all volunteers and the people who made this possible.
Why should people become Yukonstruct members?
Humans are social beings and people thrive on social interaction. At Yukonstruct you get so much more than a desk and a cup of coffee, you immediately become part of a powerful community, where you get access to human capital and talent, equipment, training, knowledge… Being a Yukonstruct member is worth every penny.
What do you like to make?
I’d like to make a crib for my son, or at the very least a toy one 🙂

Meet the Makers: Amy

Meet the Makers is a series of interviews to help you get to know the people who are building our community. Amy is a freelance journalist, a writer, a jewelry designer and our newest Operations Assistant!

Amy, why did you join YuKonstruct?

I got a tour from a friend because I was interested in becoming a member. At the same time, I was looking to leave my full-time job for a part-time one when the part-time operations assistant position came up. I applied, had a great interview and got a really good vibe from the place and people.

What do you like most about Yukonstruct and sub-brands being up and running?

Tool and space-sharing like this just makes so much sense to me. It’s way more efficient and affordable.

I’m also a huge fan of projects that come out of collaborations between people working in different disciplines (musicians working with illustrators, ie: Christine Fellows and Shary Boyle, or the Interactive Digital Media Incubator at the Art Gallery of Hamilton, which used to connect fine artists with tech experts in software development and gaming to help facilitate the creation of interactive gallery installations), so I’m excited to see what kind of cross-pollination comes out of people working across different media in the same space.

What do you like to make?

I do leatherwork and also work as a silversmith. A lot of the jewelry and accessories I sell are small and simple, but what I love most is working on bigger, sculptural pieces – necklaces that might as well be armour, or wallets/purses/packs that wrap around your hips and leg like you’re a gunslinger. I like the things I make to have a narrative element, even if that narrative is only obvious to me. I think this owes partly to the fact that the things I most like to make are stories (I’ve been a journalist for about 13 years and am currently finishing a master of fine arts in creative writing).

Why should people become Yukonstruct members?

1) Dog pats are on point.

2) I think one of the most important elements in fostering your own creativity is surrounding yourself with other creative people. You feed off each other’s energy, even if you’re doing completely different things. That’s definitely something you feel here.

3) When I first quit my day job to focus on freelance life (journalism and jewelry), I spent two months looking for the perfect robe because it was going to be my new “work uniform.” That robe consumed me like the Ring consumed Gollum. I borderline refused to leave the house because it meant ditching the robe and putting on real clothes. Cospace/Makespace offers a built-in community that not only guards against that kind of abject slothfulness, it guards against the related isolation and tunnel vision that can accompany the freelance/entrepreneur lifestyle. Here, there’s always someone to chat with at lunch or bounce ideas off of over coffee or just take a break and joke around with. Sometimes those conversations can also lead to work – you can find yourself getting hired for your particular expertise, or you might find the perfect person to hire yourself.

What are you working on now?

Right now I’m working on my thesis, which is a novel. I’m also working on re-branding my jewelry line, complete with a new name, website, and logo. (which was actually designed by another Cospace member.)

Meet our Members: Jocelyn Joe-Strack

Over the last four weeks, Yukonstruct Cospace member Jocelyn Joe-Strack, embarked on a speaking tour of Canadian embassies in Europe to share her Indigenous perspective on Climate Change with senior diplomats, academics, youth and the public.

Jocelyn Joe-Strack is an academic with multiple advanced degrees in microbiology and

geography and is currently working towards a PhD regarding Indigenous Land Use Planning. She holds degrees from the University of Northern British Columbia and University of Victoria. She is a Jane Glassco Northern Fellow and a recipient of the prestigious 2017 Vanier Scholarship.

With her business, Subarctic Research & Strategy, Joe-Strack is currently leading development of a progressive Land Use Plan for her First Nation’s Traditional Territory – which will contribute to the Yukon-wide regional land planning process. She is concurrently applying this experience towards a PhD in Sustainability & Environment with the University of Saskatchewan.

Jocelyn was born and currently lives in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory with her husband and two young children.

She enjoys being a part of the Yukonstruct community. Especially the opportunity to network and brainstorm with so many creative and progressive thinkers. It’s the perfect atmosphere to get work done!

During her tour, Joe-Strack has posted regular blog updates about her travels. You can follow her on Twitter at @jocelynjs and facebook /jocelynjs

Meet the Makers: Rick

Meet the Makers is a series of interviews to help you get to know the people who are building our community. Rick spent ten years as a programmer, designer, and project manager at an indie game studio, working with a small team of artists and programmers on an engine built from scratch using nothing but C++, DirectX, and passion. His other passions include traditional woodworking, electronics, leather working, and chocolate making.

Rick, what’s your role at Yukonstruct?

I’m the new program coordinator, so my role will be to expand programming throughout the space, whether that means designing workshops for members, orientations for some of our more complicated tools, or bringing school kids in to give them access to this amazing resource.

How did you get involved with Yukonstruct?

When my partner and I moved to Whitehorse, she needed some office space and discovered (co)space. Through that, we found Yukonstruct. This was when Yukonstruct was still on Industrial Rd, and when I heard they were moving, I thought volunteering sounded like a great way to learn about the space and get to know everyone, and I wasn’t disappointed! I found an instant community of creative, talented people here, and it was very easy to get attached to them! I just kept finding more and more ways to get involved, and now I’m delighted to officially be part of the team!

What do you like most about NorthLight Innovation being up and running?

The community is amazing. They exactly my kind of people. When I lived down south, I ran an indie video game company for a while, and then helped a friend start a home renovation company, and when I told people what my background was, they were baffled. “Those things sound as far apart as you can possibly get”, they’d say. But I didn’t see it that way. I just like making things. All things, no matter whether it’s on the computer, in the shop, or in the kitchen. And when I met everyone at Yukonstruct, they didn’t give me that baffled response. They simply replied “You’ll fit in perfectly here.”

What do you like to make?

Everything. I like woodworking, metalworking, 3D printing, sewing, programming, bookbinding, leather working, mould making, baking, chocolate making, glass blowing, there’s no end to it. And this place ticks so many of those boxes, it’s pretty mind blowing how perfect it feels.

What’s the funniest thing that’s happened to you while making something?

Well, my friends often tease me for my obsession with “bootstrapping”. Several years ago I got interested in traditional woodworking, and what are the most important tools for woodworking? A saw and a workbench. So, of course, made a saw and a workbench, and I started rebuilding whatever antique tools found their way into my hands. Then I wanted to build a tool chest, but the various work holding techniques I cobbled together weren’t sufficient for that. I needed a vise. But I didn’t want to just go out and buy one, I wanted to build one! So I needed tap and die… or I could build a traditional screw box and carpenter’s tap! But to build those, I’d need proper tool blades, so, of course, I started studying how to make those! And then, and then, and then…

As you might have guessed, I haven’t gotten around to making the tool chest yet.

ROLF & MARG HOUGEN Entrepreneur Speakers Series: Lu Baker-Johnson of Lumel Studios

Every 1st Thursday of the month, join us as local entrepreneurs share their hard-won start up successes & laugh out loud blunders. A useful conversation while enjoying a drink and appetizer at NorthLight Innovation. Powered by Marg & Rolf Hougen.

Last November, our monthly event featured the story of Lu Baker-Johnson of Lumel Studios!

Listen to the full interview:




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