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COVID-19 UPDATES & RESOURCES

Community Advisor Feature: Elisa Park Kim

Published: Wednesday, June 16th, 2021

Elisa Graphic

 

Mentorship is an important part of the Junction program. The founders in this spring’s Junction cohort are receiving invaluable mentorship from an expanded team of Community Advisors — a group of Calgary entrepreneurs and innovators who have the knowledge and experience to help them grow. This week, we’re featuring Elisa Park Kim!

Elisa has always been interested in health and life sciences — she started her career in healthcare, then moved to the University of Calgary where she worked for the medical school and then to an entrepreneurial thinking unit. 

Elisa saw first hand how scientific discoveries could revolutionize patient care. Her interest in entrepreneurship continued to grow as she took part in the formation of a health innovation portfolio. It was coaching by a couple of mentors and the encouragement of peers that emboldened her to continue moving down an entrepreneurial road. 

“My younger self would have stayed with a safe, conventional career path. But now, when I see the potential in something I become motivated to take action. I tend to put myself in situations with uncertainty. I enjoy feeling like I’m learning something new.”

These days, Elisa is Director of Business Development for BiohubX, an industry facing non-profit organization that supports life sciences companies in the growth and scale-up stage by de-risking their entry into the capital-intensive manufacturing process. BiohubX provides private and shared laboratories, office space, specialized equipment and supports companies advancing technologies in life sciences, particularly in the areas of health, wellness and performance. 

“BiohubX is a social enterprise in the start-up space. You wear a lot of hats, it’s a lot of work, but you feel the support of the community. I’m working towards benefiting the ventures that are trying to improve the health of patients and the healthcare system, so that’s quite rewarding.”

By helping these companies, Elisa also sees the value they’re bringing to Calgary in terms of creating a thriving life sciences industry.

“The life sciences have so much potential here. It would be incredible to leverage the assets that exist and have our academic institutions’ talented students grow professionally right here because they see so much opportunity.”

Outside of BiohubX, Elisa is inspiring another group of founders through the Junction program. 

“The ventures that I interacted with were incredibly committed and humble, not afraid to ask questions, and try new ideas. They seemed prepared to receive feedback and coaching to move their ventures forward.”

Elisa was especially impressed with the international founders, noting how great it is for these startups to be able to learn about the North American market through this programming.  

“It’s terrific to see how far Platform programming can reach, to contribute to the entrepreneurial journey of Calgarians and beyond.”

 

Elisa’s recommendation: The Startup Community Way by Brad Feld and Ian Hathaway

“The book gives the example of entrepreneurs living in Boulder, Colorado. They loved living there but they had business plans that needed more resources. Instead of moving to a bigger centre, they put in the work to make Boulder more entrepreneurial and now it’s a magnet.”

“I look at that example and see parallels to the founders of BiohubX. They could have picked up and gotten connected right away to resources elsewhere, but they love living in Calgary, they saw the potential within the city and were not afraid to put in the hard work.”

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