Jen Barclay delivers the program Be Entrepreneurial drawing from her experience as a former business owner.

Mentors inspire youth to be entrepreneurial

Columbia Basin Trust (the Trust) has partnered with JA British Columbia (JABC)

Columbia Basin Trust (the Trust) has partnered with JA British Columbia (JABC) to ignite the entrepreneurial spirit in local youth and inspire community mentors through Be Entrepreneurial.

The program is facilitated by local business people who bring their expertise into the classroom at the invitation of a host teacher.

JABC Mentor Jennifer Barclay steps away from her regular duties as a workshop facilitator for Kootenay Career Development Society to deliver the interactive curriculum on self-employment, financial literacy and work readiness, most recently to Stanley Humphries Secondary students.

“I’d love to see more business people doing this because it gives kids the opportunity to connect with people in their community who are making a difference, building things, and introducing new products and ideas. I want this generation to get excited about where they live and about the opportunities that exist here for them, and this program is a great platform for that,” said Jennifer. “It’s very heartening that there is a program like this that supports kids in rural communities.”

The curriculum, presented in a group setting, draws on collaboration and innovation. Jen appreciated the students’ ability to tap into ideas enthusiastically, without hesitation or creative restriction. Her own passion had her formerly running Fattoria Local Foods, which followed the principles of the 100 Mile Diet and sold humanely raised meat, sourced from farms in the nearby Creston Valley, to the community of Nelson.

“I had a lot to share because my business wasn’t successful in the end – you can learn just as much from that, if not more,” she said. “I didn’t succeed because I didn’t identify my weaknesses: working alone, being organized and the financials. It’s just as important to be able to identify your weaknesses as it is your strengths so that you can enlist help.”

She was pleased to participate in a program that gives students an understanding of the important role planning plays in starting a business by identifying and examining entrepreneurial concepts, including product, service, competitive advantage and target market.

Coaching students to develop and pitch their own business is guided by the program materials and in-depth training but personalized by the mentor, who shares real-life stories in an engaging and memorable way.

Getting real and connecting with youth was refreshing and inspiring for Jen, who has a relaxed disposition she attributes to her varied background. Jen holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, which she draws on in her current role with KCDS in Castlegar. There she conducts employment workshops that focus on resume and cover letter building, job searching and interview prep, the Myers Briggs’ personality test, and, her personal favourite, one that tackles the importance of self-esteem.

“Being unemployed can be so hard on people’s self-confidence and self-esteem. Ironically, it’s a time when you’re expected to go out and sell yourself,” she adds. By imparting their knowledge, volunteers like Jen give students the confidence they need to find success in both business and life by challenging students to examine their strengths and consider their futures within their community.

“I have friends from Castlegar and Nelson with kids who graduate and leave for university; they get out of dodge as soon as they can, which I understand and I support,” said Jennifer. “But I also like the idea of inspiring youth to invest in their community.”

Be Entrepreneurial is one of JABC’s free programs, available thanks to generous donations from supporters like the Trust.

JABC is a member of JA Canada and part of JA Worldwide (JA), the world’s largest not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating young people about business. Since 1955, British Columbia schools have partnered with JA to inspire and prepare youth to succeed in an ever-changing global economy. In the 2016-17 school year, over 38,000 BC students benefited from JABC programs delivered free of charge by volunteers from local business communities.

To volunteer to deliver a JABC program in your community, visit jabc.ca/volunteers. To request the Be Entrepreneurial Program for your school, check out jabc.ca/teachers.

Columbia Basin Trust supports the ideas and effort of the people in the Columbia Basin. To learn more about the Trust’s programs and initiatives, and how it helps deliver social, economic and environmental benefits to the Basin, visit ourtrust.org or call 1800-808-8998.

 

Students at Castlegar’s Stanley Humphries Secondary School participate in JA British Columbia’s Be Entrepreneurial program.

Just Posted

Police seek witnesses to fatal weekend accident

Wayne Kernachan was struck by a vehicle while responding to an accident

Forestry workers set to begin job action in Kootenays

Operations in Castlegar, Cranbrook, Galloway, Elko, Radium, Golden may see job action this week.

Castlegar pastors find life in wheelchair a challenge

The men found the obstacles were both physical and mental.

Columbia Avenue paving scheduled for weekend

Paving on Castlegar’s main thoroughfare will take place in a few days, weather permitting.

Tour company plans shuttle service to Kelowna for stranded travellers

SMT Kootenay wants to help travellers get in and out of ‘Cancelgar’ in winter months

Josie Hotel will be ready on opening day, says management

West Kootenay’s first ski-in, ski-out boutique hotel to open this month

Union offers support following B.C. mine death

Death of B.C. mine worker described as a wake up call for industry

Canadian Armed Forces to change approach to sexual assault investigations

New program aimed at a more open and transparent process, will consult with civilians, health and law professionals

Death of 38-year-old Fernie man at B.C. coal mine under investigation

Vehicle collision occurred at approximately 10:45 a.m. Sunday morning

Breathing polluted air during pregnancy may increase odds of baby having autism: SFU study

Study looked at nearly all births in Metro Vancouver between 2004 and 2009

Six students arrested, charged in sex assault probe at Toronto all-boys school

The school’s principal, Greg Reeves, described the video of the alleged sexual assault as ‘horrific’

Bankruptcies in British Columbia on the rise

Consumer bankruptcies climbed by 6. 1 per cent in August 2018 from the same month last year.

World Toilet Day floats some serious health issues

Needs More Spikes blog finds 136 people are currently peeing in Vancouver Island city

Most Read