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Make it Your Business: Learn How to Start or Grow Your Venture

Local businesses have been on people’s minds for the last handful of years, but particularly since the beginning of the pandemic. Shopping and supporting local is a hobby now as we scroll to find the next best patisserie, garden centre or cheese shop. Local consumers are building an appreciation for the effort it takes to put out fantastic products and services that big box companies and stores can’t provide.

But, stepping into business or entrepreneurship on your own is a feat: at some point when growth takes over, being an organization of one or few makes it difficult to change hats from CEO to janitor and can feel overwhelming. Small and medium sized businesses can always benefit from additional entrepreneurship and management skills to help grow their businesses, but also create positive networks and relationships within their communities.

Saskatchewan’s economy relies on entrepreneurial spirit, from farming to boutique-sized businesses. 98.9 per cent of Saskatchewan businesses are classified as small businesses with 0-49 employees. Fortunately, there are great resources and programs that can benefit entrepreneurs at any stage of their business journey.

Jumpstart Your Knowledge

The Edwards School of Business at the University of Saskatchewan in Saskatoon offers an entrepreneurship certificate. Instead of a full-fledged business degree, taking the entrepreneurial route can be practical with concentrated information.

Whether you have a business idea or want to drive change in your workplace, the Certificate in Entrepreneurship encourages you to think outside the box. Graduates of this degree-level certificate will be innovative thinkers, creative problem-solvers, and emerge as leaders within a team.

“As the leading provider of leadership and management professional development training in Saskatchewan, we understand the importance of having a management mindset and the impact it can have on a team,” says Bobbi Spicer, business operations manager at Edwards Executive Education. “At Edwards Executive Education, we develop that mindset through a collaborative, inclusive, and engaging learning environment. Our programs spur innovation and intra/entrepreneurial thinking to prepare professionals and encourage a culture of wellness.”

Age and previous experience are not an issue: you can take the certificate straight out of high school or as a mature student. If you’re enthralled by the certificate, you can also transfer your credits to a Bachelor of Commerce degree and continue down that path.

The Hill School of Business at the University of Regina offers a certificate in “Ideation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship” major, but with five courses instead of the Edwards School of Business’ eight.

The major is designed to move fast, and students can build their own business ideas while studying. The certificate is built around applying the concepts as they are learned, starting with big ideas and narrowing focus into real-world application.

For increasing Métis entrepreneurship and economic growth in Saskatchewan, the Gabriel Dumont Institute’s Pathways program assists in removing barriers for Saskatchewan Métis residents that are 18 or older.

“No matter who you are, where you are, or what industry your business may be involved in, there are a variety of entrepreneurial service providers and lenders in Saskatchewan that can assist with growing your business,” says Brendon Demerais, self-employment services manager at Gabriel Dumont Institute. “I would recommend checking out the SK Biz Grid from Square One to see some of the over 200 programs for entrepreneurs. Make some connections with these programs and more opportunities may become available.

The more effort you put in towards researching your business idea, and looking for programs and learning opportunities, the more successful your business will become.”

Another course to consider (with a little more financial investment than the other courses) is Saskatchewan Polytechnics two-year business diploma. You can take it online from anywhere in the province straight out of highschool, and with a co-op offering.

“The pandemic has illustrated that entrepreneurship and innovation are key to seizing opportunities in times of disruption,” says Dr. Larry Rosia, Sask Polytech president and CEO. “An entrepreneurial mindset will be beneficial for whatever comes next. Sask Polytech is here to support Saskatchewan’s entrepreneurs upskill and reskill to help meet their business’ innovation and growth needs today and in the coming years.”

Make a Move

Wherever you are in your entrepreneurial journey, there are many places to get the knowledge and assistance to start or grow your business in Saskatchewan. A call or email is all you need to take the next step.