Firebean Coffee coming to YuKonstruct!

In the wake of a successful visit from Small Business and Tourism Federal Minister Bardish Chagger, the YuKonstruct Makerspace and (co)space Team are hitting the streets with opportunities for the community to put their names behind the awesome work going on within our walls.

firebean coffee

Mike and Sarah Russo, founders and owners of Firebean Coffee Roasters, are no strangers to the hottest word in Whitehorse now – INNOVATION. Firebean Coffee Roasters offers organic, fair trade coffee, wood-fire roasted with a pedal-powered roasting machine.

They are also our newest organization-wide sponsors; all our members can look forward to being fueled exclusively on this java at the makerspace and coworking spaces!

The Firebean Coffee Roaster’s story is an example of the sort of initiatives we are championing at YuKonstruct. Mike and Sarah moved back to Whitehorse for the Yukon lifestyle and people. As many Yukoners are aware, life in the territory offers the freedom to have an ideal work-life balance.

They have been “boostrapping from the beginning.” The Russos started hand spinning coffee over an open fire to learn how the beans behave. Family and friends started ordering and they quickly needed a larger operation to keep up. They bought an old pizza oven at a flee market, outfitted it with a drum and, after a little trial and error, connected it to an old stationary bike et voila!

Their coffee is brought to you practically footprint free! The bike spins the drum that the beans are tumbling in over a hard wood fire. In just a short time of pedaling, the roast is ready.

Like for all of our entrepreneurs, the journey was not without its share of mishaps and learning experiences, but it’s paying for itself now and there is an awesome buzz around town (check out the recent What’s Up Yukon article).

“I think we can keep going and we are inspired to share this with more people which is why the partnership with YuKonstruct and Start Up Whitehorse (managed by (co)space) is so excitng. Maybe this can inspire others because we’re doing something unorthodox. Who pedals for their coffee when you can get a commercial roasting machine? We do! So maybe someone else will be inspired by the bootstrapping side of this.” – Mike Russo

Mike Russo

Startup in Residency Pilot

This September 6th-19th, (co)space will be running a Startup in Residence Pilot Program.

The program will bring a Toronto-based tech startup to Whitehorse that has team members with a proven track record of taking their startups to the next level. While visiting Yukon, the team will be offering one-on-one mentorship and workshops for local entrepreneurs.

The Startup that will be in Residence is Clearbanc. Clearbanc was founded in 2015 and its progression as a startup has been strong. Shortly after forming, the Clearbanc team was selected for the prestigious Y Combinator Fellowship program.

Its team is a well-rounded group of entrepreneurs consisting of Canada’s top names in startup and technology, including:

  • Andrew D’Souza (has raised tens of millions for last 3 startups and is an investor/advisor in some of Canada’s fast-growing tech startups)
  • Michele Romanow (4th-time founder – last company sold to Groupon, and also Canada’s new Dragon on Dragon’s Den)
  • A number of developers and former CTO of a top Canadian startup



Kickoff and Networking Event
September 7th, 6-8pm
Come and learn about our Startup in Residence Pilot Project!
From September 6-19, Clearbanc – a Toronto-based tech startup – will be visiting Yukon to offer one-on-one mentorship and workshops on pitching to investors and taking your business to the next level.
Join us for light refreshments and to meet the team consisting of Canada’s top names in startup and technology.

Nail Your Pitch Workshop
September 8th, 12-1:15pm
In this lunchtime workshop, you will learn what makes a great Pitch and how to make the most of 60 seconds. Then, break into small groups and work one-on-one with the members of Clearbanc to build and refine your pitch. Already have a Pitch? Use the session for feedback and to make it even better!

Taking your Pitch to the Next Level
September 13th, 6-8pm
Every startup and business idea needs dollars behind it to take it from idea to a success. Do you know where your funding is coming from?
In this evening workshop, a few of Clearbanc’s founders will talk money – who has it and how to get it. They will also cover the more advanced areas of pitching and funding your business.

Scaling for success: Business Growth Workshop
September 15, 12-1:15pm
Ready to grow your business and take it to the next level, but feeling stuck?
This lunchtime session will take you through the basics of taking your startup or business to the next level – developing a growth strategy, avoiding common mistakes, and understanding who your customer is.

All of these events are FREE and located at (co)space. Some require registration so be sure to check the event details. Email [email protected] with any questions.

Local business benefits from YuKonstruct

Who doesn’t love cheese? Whitehorse locals Larra Daley and Stephan Biedermann saw on opportunity to bring quality cheese to Whiethorse and are located in Horwood’s Mall on Main Street. They opened last Tuesday and cheeses from around the world have been flying off the shelf.  Say hello to Cultured Fine Cheese!

Larra and Stephan joined YuKonstruct to help them with their business. About a month ago, Larra signed up for a weekend workshop on business development being offered by local consultant Michael Pealow through YuKonstruct. Stephan, a contractor and carpenter by trade, took the Laser Cutter 101 course to create their shop sign.


“I can’t believe how easy it was” said Stephan, “and the sign looks so good. As a contractor, I loved that I could do it myself”. Asked if he would be back, Stephan replied: “I was blown away by what YuKonstruct has. The equipment, the expertise…I will certainly be back for Cultured Cheese but also my home building business!”


  2180, 2nd Avenue, Whitehorse
  (867) 457-0150
  [email protected]

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