April 15, 2016—Calgary, Alberta—Calling for bold leadership in an economic crisis, several senior Alberta business leaders have together launched an innovative program to provide high-level mentorship to prospective entrepreneurs. The program will inspire pre-entrepreneurial action and offer early stage acceleration of entrepreneurial ideas through thoughtful business-to- business mentoring.
The project is being led by veteran business coach Keith Hanna, CEO of StepUp Coaching, and supported by progressive thought leaders Mac Van Wielingen and W. Brett Wilson. Conducted in partnership with ATB Financial, the program—whose working title is “StepONE”— will enroll 30+ leaders in mentoring prospective entrepreneurs. The program launched today during an event featuring speakers from ARC Financial, ATB Financial, BOWEN, Collins Barrow, DIRTT Environmental Solutions, Prairie Merchant Corporation, SNC Law, WestJet, and ZGM Collaborative Marketing.
“This economic crisis is both a problem and an opportunity, ripe with possibilities,” says Keith Hanna. “Historically, a number of people have used a downturn to create the fortunes of a lifetime. We are now in one of Alberta’s defining moments—the perfect time to overcome doubt and fear, and learn how to build truly sustainable businesses.”
The mentoring initiative goes beyond traditional conversations about financing and business planning, and gets to the heart of entrepreneurship—helping newcomers find the confidence to move their ideas forward in the face of great risk.
“Successful entrepreneurs view risk differently, often because of a strong belief in themselves,” says W. Brett Wilson, one of Canada’s most well-known and respected entrepreneurs and philanthropists. “ATB, StepUp, Mac, and a host of others are showing tremendous leadership in helping a new crop of Alberta entrepreneurs gain the confidence to take their first entrepreneurial steps,” added Wilson, who co-founded FirstEnergy Capital Corp. at the very bottom of the economic cycle in 1993.
“Mentoring entrepreneurs at the starting gate creates opportunities for everyone,” adds Mac Van Wielingen, a gifted thought leader in investment and governance, and Chairman of AIMCo and Founder and Director of ARC Financial Corp. “It can be one of the best ways to find new connections and discover new business possibilities that benefit the whole community. This level of thoughtful mentorship will be supportive of making this happen.”
Following the April 15 event, StepUp and ATB will coordinate the delivery of the mentoring program, matching veteran business leaders with newcomers, providing web-based tools, and supporting entrepreneurial solutions to the employment crisis.
“This process is about establishing not only business fundamentals, but personal fundamentals,” says Dave Mowat, President and CEO of ATB Financial, a leading promoter of entrepreneurship in Alberta. “Coaching and mentorship are step one in producing Alberta’s next entrepreneurial revival.”
For more than 40 years, BOWEN has been providing corporate Canada with cost-driven sourcing and contractor management solutions. From managing highly complex recruiting projects to developing contractor engagement and performance models, we are changing the market landscape in terms of how talent is found and how workforces operate. Our business focus is on consistent execution, disciplined financial results and sustainable operational oversight. Our results are measured entirely by our capacity to meaningfully reduce time and cost while also increasing output and performance efficiency. We care about doing business right, mitigating risk, ensuring safety and driving value. We are more than a vendor – we are a strategic business partner.
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