Simon Mills

Simon Mills

Co-Chair, Venture Out

About Simon Mills

Simon Mills is the co-chair of Venture Out, a network of individuals, companies and community organizations. Together, we are building an LGBTQA+ tech and entrepreneurship community, with the goal of creating a more diverse & inclusive future. Simon is the current co-chair of the organization, which was founded by Jeanette Stock.

In my day job, I work as a Growth Marketer at Opencare. I’m passionate about all things tech and startup. Interest include tech, politics and LGBTQ issues. You can usually find me in the pool playing water polo with the Toronto Triggerfish.

Venture Out

What's the most exciting thing that’s happened since launching your company?

the response from the community year over year. The growth in both the number of attendees at our events as well as the response from our community partners and sponsors blows me away.

What's the biggest roadblock you’ve faced running your company?

Balancing sponsorship, community, programming etc. At one point, we wanted to bring in a major american speaker and was in talks with some of the banks to make that happen. The funding fell through so we weren’t able to bring them in. What we realized was that as much as we wanted to bring in this speaker, our community didn’t care so much about “star power” as real representation on stage, opportunities to learn and to connect. It was a big lightbulb moment for me personally.

What do you wish you knew at the beginning?

I wish I knew that starting a business is only intimidating at the beginning. Once you dive in, you figure things out as you build and scale. No one has all the answers and you have to trust that you have the resourcefulness and smarts to find solutions. We actually had the idea for The County Wine Tours for two years before we decided to jump in and I wish we had started earlier.

What is your favourite spot in Toronto?

El Rey in Kensington for some good Mezcal, Glad Day Bookshop - so many great inclusive queer events (drag brunch, nightlife etc).