Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

In the spirit of entrepreneurship

  • Print

When there is passion involved in any pursuit in life, the meaningfulness of the enterprise is enhanced.

A moving work of art is enjoyed and appreciated regardless of its popular success; an incredible athletic performance is cheered even if it's not victorious; a daring feat of entrepreneurialism is marvelled at even if it does not become financially lucrative.

That's the attitude that emanates from a bunch of grassroots entrepreneurs, engineers and tinkerers who have built a worker-space called AssentWorks on the third floor of one of those long-ago orphaned stone warehouse buildings on the edge of the west Exchange District.

AssentWorks has now merged with Ramp-Up Manitoba, a group of mostly digital-technology geeks with the same do-it-yourself mindset who seem just as content to build something to fill a niche than in becoming rich and famous.

On Friday, federal cabinet minister Vic Toews is scheduled to make a special announcement in support of AssentWorks. He ought to be properly impressed.

Michael Legary, the young owner of the information-technology security firm, Seccuris, is the driving force behind AssentWorks. (The branding of the merged entity has yet to be determined.)

An example of the kind of energy that's involved is that Legary has spent the past week as the pseudo-general contractor of the tradespeople working on the 6,500-square-foot expansion of the AssentWorks space to make room for the Ramp-Up Manitoba people. (Some of those tradespeople have been donated by a couple of AssentWorks members -- High Speed Crow and Deputy Electric.)

During the past 14 months, Legary and AssentWorks co-founders -- industrial designer David Bernard and Kerry Stevenson, the former chief technology officer of Great-West Life -- have rounded up close to $500,000 worth of industrial equipment such as 3-D printers, plasma cutters and CNC (computer-numerical-control) machines.

Since it opened in the fall of 2011, they have been used to create more than 150 unique prototypes at AssentWorks.

"Dollars per outcome, we are very competitive," Legary said.

Both Legary and Chris Johnson of Ramp-Up (who along with the two other founders of AssentWorks will be the directors of the new entity) have a sense of pride and happiness they have accomplished what they have without government support.

When the additional workspace is opened on Monday there will be close to 100 members who pay about $250 per month for access to the facility and its bare-bones workspace and amenities.

No one would disclose the federal government's financial support, but Legary said it would be project specific.

"We have proven we're a sustainable entity," said Legary.

"When we sought support from the government it was for funding for specific outcome projects. We can say to them there is an infrastructure already in place and here is why it is survivable without you."

Johnson said some of the value of Ramp-Up Manitoba's efforts, such as weekend business start-up events and organizing to form a sort of collective of digital entrepreneurs, was to prove they could do it on their own.

"If we take taxpayers' money, we can sleep at night knowing that it will generate an economic outcome for Winnipeg and Manitoba in a fashion that does not require ongoing amounts of support," said Johnson.

In the spirit of the organization, AssentWorks/Ramp-Up Manitoba is launching a fundraising effort over the crowd-funding site Indiegogo to help deal with additional space and overhead.

Among other things, it will seek all sorts of in-kind contributions to continue to fit out the space.

In the meantime, Legary said they have recently secured some sophisticated equipment at wholesale prices that would be the envy of any manufacturer in the city.

Even if the next iPhone does not emanate from the space, its ongoing presence is proof enough an entrepreneurial culture is alive and well in Winnipeg.

martin.cash@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 28, 2013 A17

History

Updated on Thursday, February 28, 2013 at 11:40 AM CST: adds photo

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Shots ring out as police say armed threat "resolved"

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A Canada goose flies towards the sun near the Perimeter Highway North and Main St Monday afternoon – See Day 10 for Bryksa’s 30 goose project - May 11, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • A female Mallard duck leads a group of duckings on a morning swim through the reflections in the Assiniboine River at The Forks Monday.     (WAYNE GLOWACKI/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS) Winnipeg Free Press  June 18 2012

View More Gallery Photos

About Martin Cash

Martin Cash joined the Free Press in 1987 as the paper’s business columnist.

He has spent two decades chronicling the city’s business affairs.

Martin won a citation of merit from the National Newspaper Awards in 2001 for his coverage of the strike and subsequent multi-million-dollar union settlement at the Versatile tractor plant. He has also received honours and awards for his work on agriculture and technology development in Manitoba.

Martin has written a coffee-table book about the commercial and industrial make-up of the city, called Winnipeg: A Prairie Portrait.

Martin Cash on Twitter: @martycash

martin.cash@freepress.mb.ca

Poll

Should confessions extracted through Mr. Big police stings be admissible in court?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google