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We are looking forward to the next delivery of the Kootenay Youth Entrepreneurship Program in 2023/2024.

Kootenay Youth Entrepreneurship

Kootenay Youth Entrepreneurship

In 2022 the Kootenay Youth Entrepreneurship (KYE) program was proposed as a collaborative, multifaceted program that aimed at introducing entrepreneurial skills to youth aged 16-30 across the Kootenay Development Region.

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Program Overview

The proposed program included introducing the fundamentals of entrepreneurship and providing skills training and experiences to aid in career development. The overall goal was to create a regionally recognized program that develops entrepreneurial capacity among youth (aged 16-30) and helps to ladder participants into appropriate regional programming.

The KYE program aimed to address gaps within the existing services and programs of the three partner organizations: Selkirk College, College of the Rockies (COTR), and the Kootenay Association for Science and Technology (KAST).

This program included two parts; Part 1: Fundamentals of Entrepreneurship recruitment event, and Part 2: Entrepreneurship meet-ups with specific learning objectives taught by professors of business from Selkirk College and College of the Rockies.

Program Structure

Part 1 was intended to engage with youth and introduce them to the fundamentals of entrepreneurship, generate interest, and identify potential participants for more advanced program Part 2. Two events were help simultaneously at COTR in Cranbrook and Selkirk College in Castlegar in February, 2023. These events featured presentations from local entrepreneurs in each community who were out KYE Mentors. There was a Q&A session with the KYE Mentor panel followed by breakout groups MIx and Mingle session where participants could talk to any of the mentors and create connections through one-on-one conversation.

KYE Mentors for Part 1 included:

  • At Selkirk College in Castlegar
  • Christian Rawles from Ambler
  • Leeza Zurwick from Happy Gut
  • Cam Shute rom Dark Horse Innovations
  • Vadim Stolyarov & Santiago Botero from Above Sensing

At College of the Rockies in Cranbrook:

  • Mike McPhee from Clearwater Consulting and Bozzi’s Biscotti
  • Keanu Chan, a young private innovator
  • Jessie Bombardier from Stillwater Consulting
  • Darcy Luc from Cedar and Pine Design

All participants were provided with a local entrepreneurship resource guide and League of Innovators entrepreneurship skills workbooks so they can continue to pursue their goals and access community support.

Part 2 consisted of three, 3.5 hr long training sessions simulcast between COTR and Selkirk College. Sessions were led by Mike Konkin, an instructor at the Selkirk College School of Business, and Mike McPhee, an instructor at COTR in tourism and marketing.

Lesson content was based on the League of Innovators Entrepreneurship Skills Handbook and augmented by the instructors’ experience. Each session focused on a different essential aspect of entrepreneurship: Business Ideas and Market Analysis; Building your start-up, Financing and Lean Canvas; and Branding and Marketing with guest speaker Kevin Pennock from KORE.

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