Entrepreneurship initiative launched for students, alumni

New website, workshops, podcasts, mentorship, pitch contest – all part of services offered

9/27/2023 9:54:38 AM

STEPHENVILLE, NL – For Ian MacDonald, knowing that he’s part of something special when it comes to entrepreneurship motivates him to think of more and innovative ways to get students and alumni off the ground with their business ideas.

The Business Development Officer, who is located at CNA Headquarters in Stephenville, has spent the last several months immersed in planning, developing and implementing strategies that give students and alumni throughout the province the tools and resources they need to start or grow their businesses.
Ian MacDonald, Business Development Officer with the Entrepreneurship Initiative, shown with Lucas Hillier as they recorded one of the episodes of Best in the Biz – CNA’s premiere podcast series!

“This experience has been very rewarding,” said MacDonald. “The response so far has been extremely positive overall. This is something that’s new for the college, and I am thrilled to be part of it from concept to delivery. We know this service was in high demand, and we are excited to be able to provide it, while at the same time, building relationships with entrepreneurs, service providers and other stakeholders. A strong support network will be the key to the success of this initiative.”

Wayne Quilty, Director of Partnerships, Entrepreneurship and Community Engagement, says CNA’s Entrepreneurship Hub has been a while in the making, and now that it is a reality, it will create even more opportunities for the college’s students.

“It is satisfying to see how it has come together and is evolving for the benefit of our students and alumni,” he said. “We are proud to provide this assistance and look forward to speaking with all CNA students and alumni wishing to pursue entrepreneurship as a viable career option.”

MacDonald says potential clients have a vast array of services to choose from when they contact him for assistance. One of the showpieces for his area of expertise is the new Entrepreneurship Hub on CNA’s website. When navigating the microsite, visitors will see everything from information about mentorship (an essential form of support and expertise), business and marketing plans and tools, and funding opportunities to get them started on the right path to success.

Aside from these resources, MacDonald has also been focused on recording video workshops and a series of audio podcasts that can be streamed online.
Students of CNA’s Sound Recording & Production program assisted with the audio components of the Best in the Biz podcast. Shoutout also goes to instructor Scott Hammond for creating the theme music.

The debut workshops involve a five-part series that features Ted Cadigan, Senior Business Consultant at the YMCA Newfoundland and Labrador (NL), topics include: business planning; identify and engage your customer base; building your network and supporting cast; establishing a professional social media presence; and, building a financial roadmap. This series is nearly wrapped up for the season and viewers should stay tuned this fall for more insightful episodes that will involve other partners.

The podcast, named Best in the Biz, is something entirely new for CNA and for MacDonald as well – putting him out of his comfort zone.

“When the idea of the podcast first came about, I was a little uncomfortable because it was something I’ve never done before,” he said. “But I guess it’s like anything in life when you set goals and need to achieve them; you sometimes have to step outside what is second nature and explore new territory. The same can be said for new businesses getting off the ground. Entrepreneurs need to be enterprising and adventurous.”
Best in the Biz is CNA’s premiere podcast featuring Ian MacDonald, Business Development Officer with the Entrepreneurship Initiative, speaking with students and graduates who share stories about their businesses, the challenges they’ve faced and tips on how to overcome them.

Best in the Biz is available online (Spotify, Amazon Music, Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, or wherever you stream podcasts) and listeners will be treated to a variety of guests, all of whom are either future students of CNA or graduates. They are sharing stories about their businesses, the challenges they’ve faced and tips on how to overcome them. The line-up includes: Lucas Hillier of LH Media; Geoff Pevlin of Rendell Shea Manor & Applebeard; Sarah Crowe, who has her own design company; Jacob Trask of Cryo NL; and, Kyle Callahan and his photography business.

And who doesn’t love a little competition? MacDonald says one of the upcoming activities that should generate a lot of interest is the entrepreneurship competition that is open to current full-time students who are living in the province. While there are still some details that needs to be worked out, including an official name, it promises to be a thrilling way for program participants to win financial support to help accelerate the startup phase of their business.

MacDonald says interested participants are welcomed to contact him to talk about their ideas and opportunities. He can be reached by email: entrepreneurship@cna.nl.ca or by phone: 709-643-7804.

Media contact:
Michelle Barry
Communications Manager
College of the North Atlantic