By: Elizabeth DiEmanuele
Entrepreneurship involves more than a creative vision; it demands a tenacious desire to follow through with an idea from start to finish. With Hamilton’s burgeoning entrepreneurship community, connecting interested students and new graduates with the resources they need to be successful is more important than ever.
As a central hub committed to the academic, personal, and professional success of students, the Student Success Centre has developed new events and partnerships with The Forge and Small Business Enterprise Centre to help interested students be more intentional with their entrepreneurial ideas.
“Hamilton has a growing and vibrant entrepreneurial community,” says Sean Van Koughnett, Associate Vice-President (Students and Learning) and Dean of Students. “Working with The Forge and Small Business Enterprise Centre to provide resources on-campus gives students some of the support they need to turn ideas into viable businesses.”
The Student Success Centre’s partnership with Hamilton’s Small Business Enterprise Centre is an invaluable resource for students this Winter term. Once a month, Business Development Officer, Dragica Lebo, accepts appointments at the Student Success Centre and provides group workshops about starting a business. Whether it’s creating a business plan, navigating city permits, acquiring funding, or just connecting with other entrepreneurs, those who attend have an opportunity to access resources and learn about upcoming opportunities in Hamilton.
“There’s always a risk when starting a business,” says Dragica Lebo. “Our smaller workshop setting at McMaster offers students a chance to ask questions in a less intimidating environment.”
Complementing these new workshops are events with The Forge. On February 15, 2018, the Student Success Centre and The Forge launched their first partnered event of the term called, Follow Your Heart to Entrepreneurship. Hosted by founder and CEO of Obie.ai, Chris Buttenham, this event involved roundtable discussions between students and entrepreneurs, with topics ranging from finding a mentor to budgeting and having a game plan.
As Chris Buttenham suggests, “There’s sometimes a tendency to over-glorify entrepreneurship, which does a disservice to the students and prospective entrepreneurs. Events with this format can help students who are interested in entrepreneurship meet likeminded individuals and gain real-life insight into stories of real entrepreneurs and the challenges they face.”
Follow Your Heart to Entrepreneurship was the first of a series of roundtable discussions happening this term. Students and members of the McMaster community who are thinking about entrepreneurship and their careers are encouraged to attend so that they can network with young professionals in the Greater Hamilton Area.
For those who are still determining whether or not entrepreneurship is the right path, there are also resources available in Hamilton. Small Business Enterprise Centre can help students and recent graduates connect with grants and training.
As Dragica offers, “Entrepreneurship takes work, but there are avenues for students to explore this path without as much risk. For instance, the Summer Company Program, which helps students start a small business for the summer, is an opportunity for students to try entrepreneurship and see if they like it.”
For those interested in learning more about starting a business, Dragica Lebo will be available at McMaster University on Thursday, March 8 and Thursday, April 12, 2018 for appointments. Her next workshop will take place on March 15, 2018.
For those interested in attending one of these partnered events, appointments, or workshops, registration is on OSCARplus.