KAST Becoming an Entrepreneur

Taking the Leap! Steps to Becoming an Entrepreneur

KAST Becoming an Entrepreneur

Owning your own business is a gamble, but there are some critical steps to help increase the chances that your entrepreneurial dreams become a successful reality.

Anyone can be an entrepreneur, but not everybody is going to be successful. Entrepreneurship takes a lot of experience, hard work, and serious determination.

And while there are no hard-and-fast prerequisites to becoming an entrepreneur, the primary criterion is that your business must add or provide value. If your idea, product, or service doesn’t address a common pain point – doesn’t bring value to the lives of your target market – there really won’t be any reason for people to take notice.

If you want to start a business but don’t know where to start, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Many of us have come to the conclusion that we want to create the work we love. Take on the responsibility of a business that’s better aligned with our goals, lifestyle, and aspirations so as to make money for ourselves rather than someone else.

Regardless of the motivation, the goal is to be your own boss. You’ve got the entrepreneurial dream, now you just need to know how to make it a reality. Here are a few important steps to get you started:

Identify the right business for you.

The beauty of entrepreneurship is that you can achieve it in just about any area or discipline. If you can think it, chances are you can create a business around it. If you haven’t already identified the focus of your business, start with your skills, expertise, interests, and passions. Explore how you might translate what you already have, know, or do into a product or service that has the potential to be successful. Entrepreneurship is hard work, so something that matters to you, something you care about, something that you specialize in, is a great place to start.

Determine if you need additional education, skills, or training

While you may not need a formal education to be an entrepreneur, it doesn’t mean you may not have to expand your education or skill set. If you want to start a tech company, experience in business, computer programming, and marketing could all be valuable. Looking to prototype a new product? You may need to explore training in the various facets of 3D print manufacturing. Of course, some sectors will likely require some type of specific education, such as your own bookkeeping, accounting, or law firm.

Market validation or customer discovery

Don’t take for granted that just because you think there’s a need that there actually is. Not every business appeals to everybody. Consider the support and guidance of a Venture Accelerator Program (VAP), with whom you can engage in thorough customer discovery and market validation processes to help you more accurately gauge not just the market for your business, but your potential for success. Identify that others feel the pinch that you do, and that your product or service will, in fact, have an audience that’s interested.

Plan your business

Before you formally start your business, you need to have a business plan. A business plan lays out any objectives you have as well as your strategy for achieving those objectives. This plan is important for getting investors on board, as well as measuring how successful your business is. If you’ve participated in a VAP, it’s a good bet that at least part, if not most, of this step, will be achieved through the process.


While networking is important regardless of profession or sector, it’s critical for entrepreneurs. Networking – attending events and programs in your sector or perhaps spending a day or two each week at your local co-work space – allows you to connect with potential professional support, qualified employees, clients, and maybe even possible investors.

Exploring co-op or student work programs

Once it’s time to hire, look for programs that encourage and support utilizing qualified students in need of professional work experience as they complete their studies. Co-op and student work programs allow employers to take advantage of wage subsidies while providing a beneficial professional experience to students. If a successful fit, these programs can lay the ground-work for reliable and trusted future employment opportunities as well.


Marketing your business starts right from the outset and continues throughout the life of your business. If you’ve fulfilled the requirements of a  VAP, your customer discovery work should have effectively started the ball rolling in your early marketing efforts.

Regardless, marketing is challenging, no matter how you slice it! But knowing your target audience is half the battle and is essential for communicating exactly how your business adds value and provides a solution to your prospective customers. You need to know where they live – email, social media, telephone, a combination of them all.

And you need to concisely and consistently provide compelling reasons why you’re the solution they need.

Interested in more information about KAST entrepreneur programs and support? Learn more HERE or call 1.250.362.5052.

College of the Rockies School Works Program

School Works Program

The School Works Program provides wage subsidies to employers to help them hire full-time students on a part-time basis throughout the school year (September to May).

The School Works Program not only helps employers. The program also provides opportunities for students to gain career-related work experience in the Basin.

Applications available August 15, 2019.

Are you looking to hire:

  • a full-time student on a part-time basis during the school year (September to May) to do career-related work,
  • a first or second level apprentice for full-time employment to complete their first or second level work-based training requirements, or
  • a student for a Co-op work term through an accredited Co-op program?

The School Works Program, delivered by College of the Rockies, could give you an $8/hour wage subsidy!

Applications available August 15, 2019.

Who Can Apply

Small Businesses, non-profits, First Nations communities and municipal governments headquartered within Columbia Basin Trust’s region.


The School Works Program is targeted at creating career-related work opportunities for students to gain meaningful work experience and provide strong benefit to participating employers. Ensure you review the job requirements closely in the School Works Application Guide.

How to Apply

Applications for School Works will be available on August 15, 2019. Familiarize yourself with the program and start preparing to draft your application by reviewing the:


Applications available August 15, 2019.


Applications are accepted on a first-received, first-served basis. They are assessed as they come in, until all funding for the program has been committed.


Innovate BC's Ignite Program

Innovate BC Ignite Program

Innovate BC's Ignite Program

BC Ignite: Innovation doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It happens with ideas, insights, time — and money.

Innovate BC’s Ignite Program provides up to $300,000 to fund projects in the areas of natural resources, applied science and/or engineering.

Teams made up of industry and academia come together to solve real-life business problems in a 3-year time frame. From helping get clean drinking water into third world countries to diagnosing eye diseases faster than ever before, Ignite is bringing technology to life in BC.

Here in the Kootenays, there are so many cool new companies helping lead the way with innovation. Among them is Advanced Biocarbon 3DIn partnership with Selkirk College, the company is developing a new sustainable 3D-printing filament that is carbon negative, non-toxic, and biodegradable with engineer-grade quality.


With plenty of focus being put on the negative impact plastics has on our environment, this Kootenay-based company is developing plastics made from sustainable and un-used wood that would otherwise be a waste in forestry. Rural-made solutions for global problems.

Last year the company received a boost from Innovate BC’s Ignite Program that awarded the partnership with Selkirk College to the tune of $300,000. That money has gone a long way towards the success of the operation.

The next round of Ignite funding is now open to applications with a deadline of August 12th.

Focus area

Proposals must involve the areas of natural resources, applied science and/or engineering, and must outline the business problem you and your team is attacking.


Applicants must be a BC-based team comprised of two or more companies, organizations, and academic researchers. All teams must include an academic member and an industry partner.

Matching funds

Projects must secure matching funds from industry or government sources at a ratio of 2:1 matching dollars to Ignite dollars.


Projects must plan to move a proposed innovation to market within a 3-year timeframe.

Key dates BC Ignite Round 8:

  • Deadline to submit Letter of Intent (LOI) to Innovate BC: August 12, 2019
  • Deadline for invited applicants to submit a full proposal: October 12, 2019
  • Anticipated notice of decision: Late December 2019
  • Anticipated start of funding: January 2020

To view past winning Ignite projects, click here.

Innovative Kootenay companies should head to Ignite BC website for more information and to apply.

Wanted: KAST Programs Director

Opportunity: KAST Programs Director

The Kootenay Association for Science and Technology (KAST) is hiring a key position within the organization: Program Director.

Are you a talented Program Manager? Are you ambitious and organized? Do you like inspiring and helping people to do great things?

Then KAST has a job for you! The Kootenay Association for Science and Technology (KAST) is in search of the right person to fill this key position within the organization: the Program Director.

You will be working to establish and lead a team of 2-3 staff. The main responsibilities of the Programs Director will be to manage KAST’s BC Venture Acceleration Program, RevUP, Startup Basics, GLOWS, and other technology business support programs and events.

What we’re looking for:

  • 5-10 years of recent senior-level programs management is preferred
  • Fundraising skills preferred
  • Experience in the BC tech sector preferred
  • Leadership and project management skills preferred
  • People skills mandatory

Please provide a resume of no more than two (2) pages as well as a cover letter telling us about yourself, why you feel you are a great fit for our team, and how you will make all our wildest Programs dreams come true.

Please email your application to info@kast.com with the subject line “Programs Director Application – [Last Name]”. Bonus points for following instructions!

No phone calls please.

While we appreciate all interest, only those shortlisted will be contacted.  Thank you

KAST - Task Force to Boost B.C. Agriculture Through Tech and Innovation

Task Force to Boost B.C. Agriculture Through Tech and Innovation

KAST - Task Force to Boost B.C. Agriculture Through Tech and Innovation

News Release

New Food Security Task Force to find new ways to use technology and innovation to strengthen B.C.’s agriculture sector and grow the economy.

The Province has created the Food Security Task Force to find new ways to use technology and innovation to strengthen B.C.’s agriculture sector and grow the economy by helping farmers farm and processors become more productive, now and in the future.

“By helping farmers put more B.C. farmland into production, our government is supporting the province’s agricultural industry and strengthening food security for all British Columbians,” said Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture. “We are always looking for new ideas as we continue to help farmers produce more, grow new crops and develop thriving businesses. I know the task force will identify further innovations to support the sector and I’m looking forward to receiving their recommendations.”

The three-member task force, led by Peter Dhillon, chair, with Arvind Gupta and Lenore Newman as members, will assess and provide strategic advice on opportunities to:

  • apply agri-technologies to help farmers and producers enhance productivity, increase economic competitiveness and sustainability, reduce waste and help make sure B.C. farmers are growing the food needed to meet demand;
  • expand the emerging agritech industry in B.C. as a standalone economic sector to produce technologies that will be in demand globally;
  • support the objectives of CleanBC, both through the adoption of technologies and practices that will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions; and
  • increase access to fresh, healthy food and support local economies in communities throughout B.C.

“This task force will evaluate ways of innovating in this important sector with the goal of improving access to quality, healthy food for everyone,” said Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology. “It will also make recommendations to support our agritech companies as they scale up and anchor their operations here at home, creating clean jobs for British Columbians and contributing to a sustainable economy for the future.”

Raghwa Gopal, president and CEO, Innovate BC, will participate on an invited basis as an ex-officio member of the Food Security Task Force.

“B.C. has an opportunity to be the best in the world when it comes to innovation in our agricultural sector,” said Peter Dhillon. “At a time when climate change and technology are rapidly changing how we grow food, it is more important than ever that we make sure B.C.’s agritech sector has the support it needs to thrive. On behalf of the task force, we look forward to preparing a report for the government on how B.C. can help make that happen.”

The task force will speak with stakeholder groups and provide a final report to the ministers of Agriculture and Jobs, Trade and Technology by Dec. 31, 2019.

The public is invited to provide comments online: https://engage.gov.bc.ca/foodsecuritytaskforce/

Quick Fact:

  • The 2019 speech from the throne mentioned the B.C. government would launch a food security task force to consider how B.C. can harness new technologies and innovation to produce more food, jobs and prosperity, while reducing waste.

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