1040 words | 6 mins
By: Randy Gaudreau
If you’ve got great ideas for starting a business, but you’re wondering if entrepreneurship is the right path for you – this is a great week to do a little bit of exploration, and to find that little spark that turns your idea into a reality.
Monday, November 14th marks the start of Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW), a week of locally, nationally and globally organized activities to help innovators explore their potential as an entrepreneur.
If you’re planning to spend the week exploring your entrepreneurial self a bit more, we wanted to share a few upcoming events and available programs to help you drive your business idea forward, as well as a few inspiring stories from new entrepreneurs who’ve found the motivation to take the leap into entrepreneurship.
Take Advantage of Global Entrepreneurship Week – Nov. 14th – 20th
Global Entrepreneurship Week started in 2008 to celebrate the innovators around the world who launch their ideas into action to create jobs and drive economic growth.
Today, over 10 million people in over 200 countries join in over 40,000 activities, events and competitions organized in the second week of November to inspire future entrepreneurs to turn business ideas into action and to empower them with the knowledge, experience and connections they need to make it happen.
This is a great week to get out there and build your network, ask questions, and get inspired by others turning their business ideas into a reality.
For an almost overwhelming list of events happening around the world, (many virtually), to help ignite your entrepreneurial spark this year, visit the events page on the Global Entrepreneurship Network website.
And if you’re reading this in time, be sure to drop into the GEW Ottawa Launch Party to meet and connect with contacts in the local entrepreneurial community.
Check out a few small business-focused events to get inspired
If you happen to find yourself motivated by Global Entrepreneurship Week and you’re looking for more resources to help you carry the momentum, Invest Ottawa has upcoming events that can help you start, strengthen and grow your business idea from the ground up.
- Tuesday, Nov. 15th – Social Enterprise 101: If you’re thinking about starting a business to do good, this session covers the basics of a social enterprise, how to start one, and where to go for help.
- Wednesday, Nov. 23rd – Validating Your Business Ideas: This session, available in-person or virtually, focuses on preparing you to face many of the factors you need to consider before you jump into business. A perfect way to explore your idea for a business.
- Thursday, Nov. 24th – Inventing the Next Big Thing: Learn what you can patent and how, to stop others from making, using or selling your inventions, and turn your innovations into lucrative business assets.
Invest Ottawa hosts hundreds of small business-focused events every year. Be sure to check out our event calendar for a look at what’s coming up, and subscribe to monthly reminders to be the first to receive once-a-month updates on upcoming events and opportunities for entrepreneurs from the Small Business Enterprise Centre.
Find and join available entrepreneurship programs
One of the best ways to get your business idea off the ground is to take advantage of programs in your entrepreneurial community that can offer free training, resources and mentorship to help you launch a business.
Invest Ottawa helps to deliver the Starter Company Plus program on behalf of the Ontario government to entrepreneurs who have launched or are ready to launch their own non-tech businesses.
Through the four-month program, participants learn business basics through hands-on workshops and get dedicated advisory services through experienced business mentors who are in their corner to help them succeed. And at the conclusion of the program, graduates pitch their business to a panel of judges for a chance to be awarded up to $5,000 in grants to cover startup business costs.
Meet two entrepreneurs just starting their journey – with the help of Starter Company Plus
With this year’s cohort already underway – we thought it would be valuable to hear from two entrepreneurs who are currently building their businesses through the program, to help guide anyone who might be exploring entrepreneurship during Global Entrepreneurship Week and encourage them to join next year’s group.
Anna Sweet, founder of Split Science, a company dedicated to healthy aging, remembers the momentum and energy she felt after making the commitment to leave the 9-to-5 world behind to focus on building her business with Starter Company Plus.
“When I allowed those thoughts about working for myself to really manifest and develop, the feeling that it was possible was so incredibly exciting and energizing,” she said.
“To think that I could personally structure my days around building my business and learning about being part of an industry that’s already my lifestyle (wellness and fitness); it felt like the chains were off, and I was off to the races.”
According to Anna, what inspired her to take the leap into entrepreneurship was the possibility of sharing a product they were already so passionate about.
“Feeling that we had made a great product for ourselves to take, we thought, ‘Why not try selling this and seeing where it takes us,” she explained. “It is so exciting building something that is a public reflection of your personal interests and passions.”
For Van Tran, founder of YugiRolls, the drive to find entrepreneurial ideas was always there for as long as he could remember. “I am always scanning for opportunities,” he says, “and I wish there were multiple versions of me with different skill sets to execute each and every one of them.”
According to Van, growing up financially disadvantaged was a motivator to start his own business to improve his situation. But he says he found a motivator and a higher purpose beyond monetary gain in providing vegan food options.
“Somehow with the vegan food, I felt like I had more of a purpose beyond just making money,” he explained. “We are making things that we didn’t think were possible too long ago for people to enjoy.”
Interested in more programs and resources to help you start and grow your business?
Check out the available small business programs at Invest Ottawa that can help you bring your business idea to life.