FastStart is Peterborough’s youth entrepreneurship skills training partnership that brings together Trent, Fleming College and the Greater Peterborough Innovation Cluster. FastStart is designed to increase entrepreneurship skills and awareness among Peterborough area youth and help them develop solid business plans and take products and services to market.
The FastStart Peterborough announcement was made at the August edition of E-Connect, which was delivered in partnership with Junior Achievement’s Next Generation Leaders Conference at Trent University.
The successful applicants were: Sebastian Bauermeister, Alex Bushell, Tiffany Desbiens, Daniel Devine, Martina Fountain, Lobe Kingue, Ryan Kirby, Mbongeni Mtetwa, Emmanuel Ngombwa, Eugenia Ochoa, Cameron Ogden, Ragi Ramachandran, Sancha Reynolds, Patryk Ryska, Cynthia Subramaniam, Apostolis Toptsis, Melissa Wilson and Jane Zima.
Whether it was learning survival skills for the wilderness or the survival skills required to keep a young business alive, the 20 successful applicants, aged 18-29, took on both challenges in an intense and invigorating three-day curriculum!
Day one of the program was called Entrepreneurship 101. Held at Trent, this session included: learning about what it takes to be an entrepreneur, Business Model Canvas, defining your target market, conducting market research, and pitching like a rockstar.
The next two days of lessons were conducted in the Kawartha Highlands Provincial Park with The Land – Canadian Adventures.
Working in three teams, students applied the lessons from the first day and evolved ideas for new business ventures based on their “competitive advantage”. They presented them to a panel of judges and their peers.
“We developed the unique outdoors ‘bootcamp’ format because we wanted it to be a fun and exciting new way for youth entrepreneurs to learn entrepreneurship skills – it adds a more real world, hands on experience,” said Rose Terry, Entrepreneurship Coordinator at the Greater Peterborough Innovation Cluster and FastStart Trent.
The Kawartha Backcountry Entrepreneurship Experience emerged from a FastStart planning session involving Martin Yuill, president & CEO of the Cluster, Laurel Schollen, VP Academic at Fleming College, and John Knight, manager of Corporate Research Partnerships at Trent University.
“The premise was to create a once in a lifetime, unique learning experience for a small group of 20 pre-qualified young people who have a genuine interest in starting their own enterprises,” said Mr. Knight.
“These young people will bond with each other because the start of an entrepreneurial life is incredibly challenging – you’ve got lack of income, new product development failures, etc. – and so it will be incredibly valuable to have a support network of like-minded friends to call upon when faced with tough personal challenges.”