Blue Spurs founder Mike LeBlanc is no stranger to success in the IT industry. Since the early 1990s, he’s been working in Internet systems development and consulting, founding numerous successful start-ups and leading highly successful product development teams across North America.
His newest company, Blue Spurs, founded in 2012, is expanding rapidly to service the needs of businesses trying to keep up with the challenges of today’s fast-evolving IT landscape.
“There’s such a need, such a demand, such a skill shortage, and I’m trying to serve that gap,” says LeBlanc. “Our clients are businesses who either don’t have the expertise on staff or don’t have enough staff to handle some of the software development projects and cloud services they need, so they hire us for our expertise and depth and skill set to help them deliver some of their solutions to market. We serve as a product accelerator in that regard.”
LeBlanc’s team of close to 100 are mostly computer science graduates who create and deliver software development and cloud enablement projects for a wide range of clients - from start-ups to small and medium-sized enterprises to larger companies. They do everything from website and mobile app development to architectural design, project management and transfer and management of infrastructure onto the cloud.
Blue Spurs has already experienced tremendous growth, with clients throughout Atlantic Canada and the United States. And a new development promises to propel that expansion that to a whole new level.
In January, Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced it would be launching its first Canadian multi-datacentre region in Montreal by the end of the year. And in May, Blue Spurs was officially made an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner – one of the first three in Canada – and the only one east of Montreal. The company has also been named an official AWS reseller, enabling it to resell AWS services in Canada and the United States.
“The largest and most secure cloud provider in the world is opening up a region on Canadian soil, which is important for companies who want their data resident in Canada. So just like in other countries we will see a growing adoption within both the Canadian public and private sectors” says LeBlanc. “The benefits of cloud computing far outweigh anything we have seen in the past.”
LeBlanc says Amazon likes a thriving partner system and they appreciate Blue Spurs’ proactive approach. “They told us that we’re the most aggressive and forward thinking partner they have in Canada,” says LeBlanc.
While all of these exciting developments were taking place, LeBlanc learned about LearnSphere’s ProfitLearn Select program that offers customized learning and development to select New Brunswick businesses to help them identify learning gaps to align learning to business strategy, become more efficient and build a stronger team.
To be eligible for the program, the businesses must have been in operation for at least two years with 20 or more employees. Participating businesses commit to a financial investment of $4,000 and a time commitment of up to 15 days over a one-year period.
In return, ProfitLearn Select engages an Associate (a New Brunswick-based business consultant affiliated with LearnSphere) to do a comprehensive needs assessment to address skills gaps and design a customized learning plan. Based on that assessment, businesses are connected with a team of Associates who implement the plan; up to 15 days of best-in-class training and consulting resources aligned to the business’s specific needs.
LeBlanc says he thought it sounded like a low-risk way to connect with subject area experts and receive certain types of training.
“I figured we didn’t really have any training programs for developing soft skills like leadership, negotiation skills or strategic thinking, and at a low cost – not a big investment on my side – it just made sense to sign up.”
Through ProfitLearn Select, a business can access learning and development, focusing on key areas such as marketing and sales; human resources; strategic planning; management and operations; financial management; leadership; exporting; and communications.
After the comprehensive needs assessment, Blue Spurs decided to focus training on three key areas: strategic growth, financial coaching and leadership skills. The LearnSphere Project Manager helped them choose an implementation team from their roster of Associates and training took place online, one-on-one and with the entire executive team.
LeBlanc says the Associates who coached them provided highly valuable expertise in business fundamentals.
“The team felt taking the time out of the day-to-day busy operations, to focus on strategic initiatives and make sure we’re all going in the right direction was super, super valuable,” LeBlanc says. “We had a lot of positive results from those sessions.”
For LeBlanc, the most valuable part of the ProfitLearn Select program was the opportunity to connect with a network of seasoned experts who can offer specific direction in key areas of the business. He says it’s a connection that will continue to serve them in the future as Blue Spurs continues to expand rapidly.
“When I start breaking thresholds of 150-200 people, there is going to be a whole bunch of new challenges,” says LeBlanc. “I haven’t been through that kind of growth before, but I’m comfortable now that through the ProfitLearn Select program, we’ve got connections to a lot of great people who I trust and who can help us.”
“When I start breaking thresholds of 150-200 people, there is going to be a whole bunch of new challenges. I haven’t been through that kind of growth before, but I’m comfortable now that through the ProfitLearn Select program, we’ve got connections to a lot of great people who I trust and who can help us.”
-Founder Mike LeBlanc