You are currently viewing Brock University program boost early-stage entrepreneurs

Brock University program boost early-stage entrepreneurs

  • Post author:
  • Post category:Uncategorized

A new Brock University program will put budding business ideas to the test, with the goal of setting new entrepreneurs up for success.

Welcoming its first cohort in January, NAVIGATE is designed to support students — as well as alumni and community members — who are looking to explore and develop their business ideas.

Run by the Brock LINC, the program is built around the ‘lean startup’ methodology, which focuses on testing and iterating a business idea through extensive customer feedback.

“The NAVIGATE program is an evolution of the entrepreneurship programs we’ve traditionally offered at Brock,” says Cassie Conte, Program Manager at the Brock LINC, the University’s hub for creativity, innovation, research and entrepreneurship. “This is less about the steps to starting a small business and more about how to set up the right foundation for your business idea to succeed.”

The intensive 11-week program will guide participants through the lean startup process. This includes talking to 10 customers each week and then modifying the business idea based on insights and information gathered during those interviews. As part of the program, students will work weekly with Brock LINC staff, external mentors and other entrepreneurs in the program.

NAVIGATE will conclude with a demo day and pitch competition, where student participants will vie for the Dobson Entrepreneurial Excellence Prize of $5,000 — a new student award from the John Dobson Foundation.

“The John Dobson Foundation is delighted to support entrepreneurship at Brock University,” says Rand Kelly, Chairman of the John Dobson Foundation. “The Dobson Entrepreneurship Excellence Prize will recognize entrepreneurial excellence and hopefully assist student entrepreneurs in moving their projects successfully forward.”

While primarily intended for students, NAVIGATE also welcomes alumni and community members to participate, though they are not eligible to pitch for the prize. All participants who fully complete the program are eligible to receive a certificate of completion, and students who complete the program will get credit towards the Innovative and Creative Thinking domain in the Campus Wide Co-Curriculum.

Conte, who has been developing and co-ordinating entrepreneurial programs at Brock for the past 10 years, says NAVIGATE is a valuable opportunity for early-stage entrepreneurs to actively engage with potential customers to get feedback on their business idea.

The program will consist of asynchronous learning components and weekly in-person sessions where entrepreneurs will share their progress and receive feedback and mentorship.

NAVIGATE will be offered in person at Brock University on Wednesdays from 3 to 5 p.m. from Jan. 18 to April 5. There is no cost to participate, though enrolment in the program will be limited to ensure small groups and personalized feedback and mentorship.