Don’t get me wrong – it’s a normal aspiration to want to grow larger. It’s instilled in us from the day we start to crawl, but mass (not size) isn’t everything. Rather, it’s the quality of the product, service and delivery that counts.

I have been fortunate enough to have created numerous startups. Not all have been successful, and the failures take a toll. I’ve also run an incubator business, working to mentor and steward entrepreneurs.

Trust me, the problems are the same in a small or large company. As you get bigger, we all feel the same pain; it’s just adding more zeros.

Uniserve Communications has been around for more than 28 years. The company has taken everything the economy and technology one-upmanship can throw at it, and it has survived. It has clung by the tips of its fingers at times, spectacularly successful at others – but it is a small business in comparison to a Telus or Shaw, with about 30 employees at last count. Telus has 27,000.

When was the last time you got into a cab or a conversation in a café and you heard – “Oh you should switch to Telus; they are so good at customer service.” That’s pretty unlikely. As companies grow, they lose the connection with their customer base as well as the empathy for their audience and, most important, their ability to change. Interestingly, Vancouver has been ranked 15th in the world in Start-up Ecosystems by the Startup Genome and the Global Entrepreneurship Network. It is the best city for tech entrepreneurs in the country. This is up three places from lastyear and one place ahead of the Toronto- Waterloo corridor.

The report acknowledges that Vancouver has the fewest startups of any city in its Top 20 list, but there are 800 to 1,100 “startups and shining success stories.”

So, what makes Vancouver a start-up success?

-Vancouver has the highest concentration of visual effects and animation studios, two of the top six video game franchises, and ranks in the world’s Top 20 Global Financial Centres.

-The city’s success is linked to having diverse and entrepreneurial talent, its location as a gateway to Asia

and the West Coast, and an ecosystem that encourages interconnectivity and collaboration.

-Vancouver is leveraging its unique combination of assets: Hollywood North, a strong industrial foundation, enterprise data and cloud underpinnings, and a remarkably diverse talent pool, with over half of its residents having a first language other than English.

-Vancouver has more startups per capita than any other city in Canada.

-Funding metrics point to the Vancouver ecosystem holding steady, not rising or sinking greatly.

-Market reach is Vancouver’s strongest factor due to strong global connectedness and the world’s highest ranking in reaching foreign customers.

I recently asked the Uniserve team, “What’s the IT infrastructure like in terms of supporting start-ups?” The response from our qualitative research with all the providers from the big four telecoms and all the managed service companies: it doesn’t really exist.

Our research told us that no technology providers in BC could provide a bundle of everything that a 5-, 10- or 20-person company needed from their technology. So, we are launching “Transit bundles” this month – one bundle for three different sizes of small to medium businesses, with a few adjustable options. One great price and one “throat to choke,” saving 30-40% on what a business might spend currently using several vendors. Uniserve will set up and monitor all the IT infrastructure for as little as $449/month. That’s all you’d need for a 1-to-5-person company, but we’ll be ready as well when you hit the 20-person level.

Uniserve – we’re big enough to count, but small enough to care.

Nicholas Jeffery spent the 1980s building global brands such as Eastman Kodak and Johnson & Johnson. A decade later, he was creating Europe’s largest web design and build group, selling at the top of the market. He then went on to buy, build and exit three Internet service providers (ISPs), including the acquisition of America’s PSINet for $9 million and selling it for $95 million two years later. Jeffery went on to work at Digital Reality, the European Bank and CBRE, at which he created the European Connected Building and Smart City practice. He joined Uniserve in March 2017 as CEO