Start-Up Business

Montreal’s October Girl Geek Dinner was held at Capriccio Restaurant in Old Montreal where guests were graciously hosted by entrepreneur Stephen Walsh and Chef Rich Tajiouti. This evening featured an in-depth presentation by Brana Malobabic-Giancristofaro, MonRoi’s founder, who covered all the bases of how to create a start up. It was a passionate, organized and very well-organized presentation which referenced many top business thinkers, philosophers and psychologists.


monroi blog girl geek dinner queen

First off, Brana showed the group a video spoke to the global interest that there is for this game and how MonRoi helps to deliver a powerful solution for managing the data behind chess.

Brana talked about the history of MonRoi and detailed her idea on how to transition the cumbersome paper-based system for tracking chess moves to that of using a PDA.

Tips for entrepreneurs

Brana provided 15 tips for entrepreneurs and in short a few noteworthy ones include:

    Find meaning
    Believe and act
    Dare - Get rid of your fears
    Be adaptable
    Build trust
    Trust your intuition
    Keep it simple
    Embrace your values

monroi blog girl geek dinner tanya
Brana Malobabic Giancristofaro and Tanya McGinnity, Girl Geek Dinner Administrator

Brana demonstrated a strong analogy between business and chess. Here are the slides from her presentation, if you're interested in reading more about start-up business strategies.

GGD Start Up Business Strategies

 Click here to see the MonRoi presentation.



The Best Caption

monroi blog girl geek dinner sheep
The best caption: "The black sheep will have their day!"- Jennifer Cyr, Reference Librarian at Concordia University.

monroi blog girl geek dinner jennifer
Jennifer Cyr, Concordia University

The finalists included “Stand out from the flock”- Kathy Grauer, Women Associates of McGill University and
“Take the leap… Leave the rest to count and sleep”- Gillian Roper, System Analyst at Concordia University

The selection committee for the best caption was coordinated by Danny Greig, BDO Partner and Denis Chatelois, Federal Government. If you are starting or running a technology business, Matthew Harrison at BDO in Montreal is specialized in accounting for start-ups.

More great quotes from chess fans:
“Where is the ninth sheep?” Ahmet Salt, Turkey
“Can I take en baaassent in this position??” Polly Wright, USA

monroi blog girl geek dinner anne
Anne Howard, Rush PR News

Government Grant Announcement

Alain Robitaille, Coordinator Economic Development of Saint Laurent announced entrepreneur’s grant. PME Acadeémie is an initiative of Développement économique Saint-Laurent (DESTL) and the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Saint-Laurent, in collaboration with TD Bank Financial Group. The project needs to be submitted by January 15, 2010 and you could win up to $100,000 in financing to start up your business, including a cash prize of $30,000, offered by TD Bank Financial Group. The eight finalists will have an opportunity to consolidate their business plans with the help of experienced advisors and specialists during a three-month training program. In March 2010, the public will be invited to vote online for the most promising project. 

monroi blog girl geek dinner alain
Alain Robitaille, Economic Development of Saint Laurent

Saint Laurent is a major high technology hub. Alan DeSousa, Mayor of Saint Laurent and his team provided outstanding support to MonRoi's chess tournament in January of 2005. Click here to read "Around the World in 60 days" - Chessbase.


Brana dedicated her presentation to the late Jerry Hanken, a trusted advisor, journalist and a chess player, whose chess legacy will remain forever at

monroi blog girl geek dinner jerry
Jerry Hanken, chess player and journalist, Click here to read an Interview

About Brana

Brana Malobabic-Giancristofaro, B.Sc.EE, runs a Technology Company that Webcasts Chess Tournaments Live Around the World. Prompted by a lifelong passion for chess, Brana founded MonRoi, a high technology and Internet company that specializes in patented live chess webcast system and wireless devices for score keeping. An expert in new technology development and marketing, she oversees day-to-day operations of the company, which enables spectators to follow chess tournaments in real-time on the Internet. Brana established and executed the world's first International Women's Chess Grand Prix, recognizing women in chess. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. She is affiliated with the Economic Development of Saint Laurent Investment Advisory Committee and volunteers mentoring entrepreneurs who are starting their own businesses. For her innovations she received the Alpha Gala Entrepreneur of the Year Award from the Chamber of Commerce of Saint Laurent.  At Nortel Networks she completed Network Design Expert and Project Management Institute curriculum. Brana appeared on numerous TV News and was featured in engineering, business and chess magazines worldwide.

You can contact Brana at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. For more information about MonRoi™ Inc, please visit


Thanks so much for all of this information. The event was exceptional and everyone who I've spoken to have been so very complementary of your talk and the evening. Thanks so much for your professionalism, your great tips and for giving us so much to think about. - Tanya McGinnity, Organizer Montreal GGD

As with all successful entrepreneurs, Brana show a lot of passion for her business and the people she works with. Her passion was so great it made me wish I still knew how to play Chess. - Jennifer Cyr, Reference Librarian at Concordia University

Congratulations on your presentation last night! - Anne Howard, Rush PR News Founder

It seems everyone had a great time, which at the end of the day is the most important thing. Hope you inspired a few girl geeks into pursuing their dreams too! - Stephen Walsh, Entrepreneur

You are an excellent public speaker, grabbing all the attention of the audience. It was a fun evening. - Kathy Grauer, Former McGill University Research

Great presentation, Brana. Thanks for sharing some of your passion with us - your work was from the heart and on the mark. I now know a little more about the Queen in chess! - Danny Greig, BDO Dunwoody Partner

monroi blog girl geek dinner danny
Danny Greig, BDO Dunwoody

monroi blog girl geek dinner team
George Maroussis (Verint Systems Inc), Brana Malobabic Giancristofaro (MonRoi Inc), Geoffrey Fisher (Baker Batshield), Kathy Grauer (McGill University), Philip Grauer (Positron Public Safety), Karen Gonzales

Click Here to read Geekin' Out with the Ladies by Jennifer Cyr


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