Red River College entrepreneurship instructor Scott MacAulay has the secret formula for startup success.
“In any good startup you need hipsters, hackers and hustlers,” says MacAulay, who is also a co-founder of Winnipeg startup Permission Click.
“The hipsters — that’s your Steve Jobs, the person with the idea. The hackers are your coding and design people. And the hustlers are the business people.”
It’s no coincidence that all three of those professions (creative arts, digital media design and business administration) are well represented at RRC’s Exchange District Campus, creating what MacAulay calls the perfect environment for fostering entrepreneurship. It also doesn’t hurt that the college is situated at the foot of Innovation Alley, giving students immediate access to makerspaces like AssentWorks.
RRC is one of several education options available for Manitoba entrepreneurs at every stage of their business life, whether they’re just starting school or already running a business. To those on the outside, the idea of learning entrepreneurship may seem paradoxical. After all, how do you teach that creative spark behind every successful startup? According to George Allen, RRC’s entrepreneurship course lead, there are proven methods behind the madness.
“What we’ve been trying to do [at RRC] is identify how you take innovation that normally is associated from an entrepreneurial enterprise and have it as a discipline where the students have both a creative mentality, but also an engineering-like set of tools where they can approach problems from a different perspective,” says Allen.
Those tools come from the textbook of Innovation Engineering, a field of study created by the University of Maine’s Doug Hall. They include strategies like the lean canvas model, a method of quickly identifying an idea’s value proposition in a group setting. It’s a method that can be used by startups and large corporations alike.
“We’re growing the toolbox all the time, looking for these best practices that are malleable to fit different sizes and cultures of companies.”
Allen stresses that entrepreneurial education is not only for people looking to start a business — it also provides tools for innovating within existing companies. It’s a concept Allen labels the “intrapreneur.”
“It doesn’t mean that students aren’t doing traditional jobs when they come out of [RRC] — they get hired in accounting; they get hired in marketing — it just means that when they’re working for those companies, they come with a different set of tools and attitude so they can introduce incremental change.”
Of course, those students may later end up using those tools to start a business of their own. Just as any idea or challenge can be approached from any number of ways, there isn’t one template for success as an entrepreneur. Education is simply another resource to help along the way.
Here’s a breakdown of some of the education options available for entrepreneurs in Manitoba:
Red River College
Red River College offers entrepreneurship courses and work practicums through the two-year Business Administration diploma. RRC's website explains an overview of the program:
"Business Administration provides the student with a broad business foundation during the first year of studies. During the second year of the program, the student will declare a major that focuses their studies in a particular area, either Accounting, Administration, Financial Services, Marketing or Human Resource Management."
Like many programs, this one combines theory with practical application and group projects. And some of the courses are also available through the RRC's School of Continuing Education.
University of Manitoba
The University of Manitoba’s Asper School of Business provides entrepreneurial guidance to all students through the Stu Clark Centre for Entrepreneurship. If you’re looking for a comprehensive study on starting a business and are interested in earning your MBA, it’s the way to go.
“The Stu Clark Centre focuses on helping students start companies from scratch. From idea to market validation, from prototyping to distribution. From building an advisory team to fundraising,” says Stuart Henrickson, the Asper School’s Director of Entrepreneurship.
Much like Red River College, U of M students benefit from a close relationship with startup resources, some of which are located on campus within Smartpark.
University of Winnipeg
The University of Winnipeg also provides training in Innovation Engineering through its Innovation Development Certificate, which is available to anyone on a part-time basis. This new program joins a "network of fourteen American universities" and was established with a purpose:
"The first of its kind in Canada, the Innovation Development Certificate teaches concrete skills to turn innovation from a random and risky event into a reliable system. Innovation Development is an approach that is easily taught, mastered and applied quickly across all business sectors. It was developed as a response to industry requirements to encourage rapid innovation and to better manage the innovation process within organizations."
As well, the University of Winnipeg offers an entrepreneurship course through its Faculty of Business and Economics.
Learn other options to receiving business training in MB Networking Resources: Entrepreneurship Manitoba.