MONCTON – It was a celebration of local entrepreneurship and business success as New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) alumni, staff and community members gathered Wednesday evening to celebrate the completion of the first phase of OASIS, NBCC’s entrepreneurial mentorship program, in Moncton.
Following the successful launch in Miramichi last year as well as the guidance and input of a local engagement committee, NBCC launched OASIS in Moncton last fall. With more than 80,000 graduates – mostly living and working here in the province – NBCC is uniquely positioned to work with communities to provide a mentorship network for entrepreneurs. OASIS connects self-employed NBCC alumni in the area with experienced entrepreneurs to address specific challenges head-on and help position their businesses for success.
Natalie Lawrence is one of the mentees that took part in the project. As a therapist who provides individual and couples therapy, Natalie was looking to grow her business and increase her profile in the community. She was paired with Sharon Geldart, who is known amongst her colleagues as “the Yellow Pages of Business” because of the connections she has developed during her years in business.
For Natalie, the experience has been transformative. “Challenging myself and getting out of my comfort zone has been the biggest thing for me,” she said. “Sharon was great at challenging me with ideas I hadn’t thought about. She gave me support and encouragement which is so valuable when you are getting out of your comfort zone.”
For Sharon, the program has been a great opportunity to give back and share her connections. “I thoroughly enjoy assisting business owners with the knowledge that I’ve obtained over the years,” she said. Now that they have developed their relationship, Natalie knows she can turn to Sharon anytime she needs help.
“Through OASIS, NBCC is playing an important role in fostering New Brunswick’s entrepreneurial spirit,” said Clarissa Harris-LeBreton, Entrepreneurship Coordinator at NBCC. “This program provides entrepreneurs with the support to help make their businesses a success – it’s another wonderful example of how NBCC is helping to transform lives and communities.” She also noted that the program will begin a second phase in Moncton to continue supporting entrepreneurship in that community.
Small business in New Brunswick accounts for 98% of all business and 72% of private workforce employees. It creates the most jobs and is the most sustainable approach to economic development. In the most recent NBCC graduate survey, 4% of them responded as self-employed. This equates to approximately 80 new entrepreneurs each and every year.
With over 90 programs and six campuses across New Brunswick, New Brunswick Community College (NBCC) is a provincially-recognized, public post-secondary institution reputed for producing skilled, knowledgeable graduates who are contributing to the Province’s socio-economic prosperity. NBCC offers students one- and two-year certificate and diploma programs. Find out more by visiting: www.nbcc.ca.
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- According to Futurpreneur Canada, new entrepreneurs who are supported through mentorship have a success rate of more than 80% compared to a 50% success rate for entrepreneurs who do not receive support.
- The pilot project had 9 mentor/mentee pairs.
- Looking ahead, NBCC is committed to further developing a culture of entrepreneurship and innovation by:
- Launching Phase 2 of the OASIS program in early summer 2016;
- Expanding OASIS to Saint John with a pilot program in fall 2016;
- Establishing a continuing intake process in early summer 2016; and,
- Expanding the scope of mentee applicants beyond NBCC alumni.