Any entrepreneur reading this knows the stress of building your own business. Going from a bootstrapped idea to having investors as partners, being responsible for employees and continuously improving your product to keep relentless and well financed competitors at bay… Not to mention any of the other six-million-and-one other things that can go wrong any given work day. Then there’s home life to think of… It’s enough to get to many entrepreneurs and impact their mental health. What does one do at that point? What will investors or co-founders think when you seek help for these challenges? Or worse, what could happen if you don’t?
Last year, Montreal in technology brought you the story of Francis Beaulieu, a well-known Montreal entrepreneur and player in the city’s tech ecosystem who put together a mental health support group for entrepreneurs. Beaulieu has been through all of this over a period of many years and realized there was very little in the way of resources available to entrepreneurs, who face particularly strenuous demands on their mental health. Now, he has taken it a step further and founded Solidly. Starting next week at Montreal’s Expo Entrepreneurs, this starup will take flight.
“We’re looking for between 5,000 and 10,000 entrepreneurs to take part in our project” Beaulieu tells MTLinTech. “We need to gather data from as many as possible and make sure we have a representative sample of what they’re experiencing. We’re going to be gathering information from those who wish to participate in person at Expo Entrepreneurs, as well as through biometrics and telemetry down the road.”
They key, he says, is to not simply question the entrepreneurs once, but to stay with them over time and follow the highs and lows of running a business. This will help Solidly provide the right support at the right time down the line by better understanding the complex schedule of modern entrepreneurs, and helping raise a red flag when trouble could be on the horizon.
“There’s a lot of stigma. Studies show almost half of entrepreneurs will have a mental health issue within 2 years. It’s a very stressful profession. And as the journey advances, it gets worse. But most often it’s hidden because people don’t want partners, investors or employees to know about the problem and lose confidence in their leadership. This aggravates the situation and when an individual finally hits the wall, it may be too late.”
Once they have their data, Solidly will offer services to entrepreneurs who need this specific kind of support. Currently in incubation at CENTECH under the guidance of renowned MedTech guru Steve Arless, Beaulieu plans to offer telemonitoring and telehealth services available by appointment or on-demand in urgent cases. The end-game here is for insurance companies to cover these services, and provide for accessible, no-hassle and judgement free support for entrepreneurs across the country who continue to make incredible sacrifices to drive our economy forward.