MRU’s 2021 series of entrepreneurial workshops to focus on diverse groups
By Noel Harper, News Editor
Mount Royal University (MRU) is bringing back its series of entrepreneurial workshops, hosted by faculty members throughout March. This year’s sessions are being delivered online.
These workshops are being facilitated through the Alberta Inclusive Innovation Initiatives (AI3), created in partnership with MRU’s Bissett School of Business and Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute, with funding from HSBC Canada.
Each Wednesday evening in March, a two-hour business-themed course will run free of charge. Since February 2020’s edition of the program, according to AI3, “these workshops have been updated to reflect the unique challenges of launching and running a business in an economy affected by COVID-19.”
The workshop topics include Entrepreneurship & You, Business Model Canvas, Marketing & Sales, Excel, and Finance & Accounting for Entrepreneurs.
“We’ve significantly updated the content in the workshops with practical learning that participants can apply to their situation. Adding skills and information relating to topics such as e-commerce means the workshops are relevant to today’s entrepreneurs,” said Dimitra Fotopoulos, the director of MRU’s Faculty of Continuing Education, in a statement.
This year’s series of workshops will focus on helping diverse groups get ahead and learn crucial skills such as financial accounting, business planning and the Microsoft Office suite of tools. These groups include Indigenous peoples, young people, women and those who have come to Canada recently.
“Canada has an ever-growing demand for skills despite rising unemployment and under-employment, particularly for diverse groups such as newcomers, women and Indigenous people,” said Wendy Cukier, founder of the Ryerson Diversity Institute.
According to reporting by CJWE, the 2020 workshops were attended by 60 students, 10 per cent of which self-identified as Indigenous. The majority of both the 2020 and 2021 attendee groups are from Calgary.
MRU marketing instructor Karen Richards, who is teaching one of the workshops, said that business owners must be prepared for negativity towards their brand online, and how to shift their output to deal with what she describes as “call-out culture.”
“Brands and businesses need to rethink online content and how it is perceived by their audiences to anticipate potential negative reactions and to plan for how they will deal with it … this is an opportunity for businesses to rethink their online presence and how they interact with their audiences,” Richards said.
The slate of workshops taking place in March are full, despite an initial increase from 40 participants to 45 for the five sessions. MRU is planning to hold these workshops once again at a later point in the spring for those who were unable to sign up — they can also be placed on a waitlist for future sessions organized by AI3.