Junior Achievement provides catalyst for graduates to start their own business

Young entrepreneurs in JA program sell their product at The Forks.
Young entrepreneurs in JA program sell their product at The Forks.

By Marie Hacault

Junior Achievement (JA) is the world’s largest not-for-profit organization dedicated to educating young people about business.
With over 120 charters worldwide, JA brings a global view of business to local communities. Since 1963, Junior Achievement of Manitoba has partnered with educators, donors and volunteers to bring real-world experience into the classroom.
Our programs give students in Grades 3 through 12 the confidence and skills they need to become the next generation of business and community leaders.
Junior Achievement of Manitoba offers many in-school programs; however, the six core business education programs delivered at no cost to elementary, middle, and high school students (Grades 3 to 12) are as follows:
“Our Community” teaches Grade 3 and 4 students about what kind of jobs exist and what skills would be required to attain these jobs.
“Our Business World” teaches Grade 5 and 6 students about small business and the importance of these companies in our community.
“Dollars with Sense” shows Grade 7 and 8 students how to manage their money, playing an investment strategies game to learn about effective spending and how to avoid credit and debt pitfalls.
“Economics for Success” teaches Grade 7 to 9 students the benefits of staying in school and setting career goals for themselves. In addition, they explore a real-life scenario of living on their own and the financial cost of independence.
“Stronger Together – Diversity in Action” is aimed at students in Grades 6 to 8. This program explains the value of diversity and how it contributes to improving morale, creativity, teamwork and productivity. This program supports curriculum objectives of literacy, social studies, citizenship, leadership, career education, and health and physical education.
“Company Program” sees high school students design, organize and operate a real business – truly experiencing how a small business works by discovering the risks and rewards of being an entrepreneur.
This program is delivered both as an in-school program and also as an afterschool, 21-week intensive entrepreneurial program for Grades 9 to 12.
More than 120 schools throughout Manitoba participate every year in the above listed JA programs, reaching approximately 7,000 Manitoban students.
Delivered by more than 200 local volunteers, JA programs enable young people to develop essential life skills through exposure to interactive activities and innovative business solutions.
JA’s impact
Junior Achievement programs produce more financially literate graduates who save more and borrow less than the average Canadian. JA graduates believe that participation in Junior Achievement programs had a significant impact on their desire to stay in school and pursue a post-secondary education, and their ability to get a job and perform at work.
As a result, Junior Achievers are better prepared for the workforce. The end result: accelerated career tracks, altered trajectories and more skilled employees for employers.
Junior Achievement produces graduates who are more likely to become entrepreneurs, create jobs and power our economy. These future business leaders attribute Junior Achievement as being the catalyst that gave them the ambition to open their own business, and the transformational force that empowered them with the skills and abilities to do so successfully.
Junior Achievement is the successful link between education and the business world, giving youth the confidence and knowledge they need to define personal success, enhance their workforce readiness and pursue their dreams.
Furthermore, Junior Achievement inspires youth to make informed, educated and knowledgeable financial decisions; start companies; develop career plans; and express their innovative spirits.
JA funders and fundraising
Junior Achievement of Manitoba is funded by the Manitoba government and various private sector donors. Last year, JA Manitoba established the Manitoba Business Hall of Fame, recognizing local individuals who have made an outstanding contribution (through their lifetime achievements) to the Manitoba business community.
This inaugural event was met with great success and has become JA Manitoba’s largest annual fundraising event.
For more information about the Junior Achievement programs, please contact urban program manager Shauna Angers at sanger@jamanitoba.org or call 204-956-6088.

Agriculture is about business and science, not just farming

A career in agriculture requires a wide range of expertise to succeed.
A career in agriculture requires a wide range of expertise to succeed.

By Brenlee Coates

The faculty of agricultural and food sciences is often misunderstood.
“We find students and the public think of farming,” says Sue Clayton, community liaison officer for the faculty.
“You often hear a phrase called ‘from the farm gate to the farm plate’ and that’s truly what our faculty does. It takes it right from the research into what the farmers should be planting, what they should put on the crop to help the crop grow, the soil, environmental factors like greenhouse gas emissions… (they) look at the whole ecosystem and how it interacts together.
“So it takes a look at all of that and then how that crop gets from there into the grocery stores.”
The faculty of agricultural and food sciences has two streams: a two-year diploma is primarily hands-on learning that most use to hone their farming skills or to get a taste of university before enrolling in a four-year agricultural program; the four-year bachelor of science programs are wide-spanning and include majors in agribusiness, food science, plant biotechnology, agronomy, animal systems, agroecology or pre-veterinary studies.
“The students I find that come into our faculty are of two minds: they’re either very interested in business… because agriculture is such a huge business in Canada and in our province, and internationally,” says Clayton. Or, the students are interested in science. “All of our other programs besides agribusiness are very much science-related,” she says.
The business-minded students find it advantageous to study business within a specific focus, as it may increase their likelihood of finding employment right out of school.
The agribusiness students take courses in the Asper School of Business as well as agriculture.
“They graduate with a background knowledge in agriculture so that they can go work in a business capacity,” says Clayton. “And when one in eight jobs in Canada is agriculture, that’s huge.”
The bachelor of science students are also attracted to the career opportunities.
“We often get quite a few students transferring in from the faculty of science because they hear about the jobs,” says Clayton. The jobs that entice students to join the faculty are not just the careers that graduates slide into upon graduation. Students are often offered several jobs over their summer break: right at the start of the agricultural season.
“We might have a second- or third-year, 19- or 20-year-old student with three job offers for summer of 2014 in October of 2013,” says Jared Carlberg, acting associate dean.
“Here’s your $3,000-a-month summer job, plus your truck or van, plus your cell phone, plus your expense account, and just take your pick of who you want to work for.
“For our students the summer job opportunities and the career opportunities are really attractive.
The agriculture industry and the food industry still know to come to us for the people that they need.”
That is where the faculty has a leg up – many university students cannot find work related to their field of interest in the summer or even after graduating, but the faculty of agricultural and food sciences is responding to industry demand.
“It’s very much driven by our industry. Our industry is saying to us: ‘We need to graduate more students. The jobs exist,’” says Clayton.
The University of Manitoba has the only faculty of agriculture in Manitoba.
Though it is a minor, its entomology department (study of insects) is the only one of its kind in Canada. Plus, the agribusiness department is unique to Canada.
“There’s kind of a notion out there from some people that ‘Oh, y’now, I’m not from a farm, I guess I can’t go study agriculture,’” says Carlberg.
“Really, it’s about food.
It’s about resource use, it’s about environmental stewardship. These are all things that are prominently featured in our faculty. Production is only one part of it. Marketing is a big part of it as well – once the crop is grown, it’s got to be sold.”
The faculty also concerns itself with questions of sustainability and food security. A soil science department studies what happens to the soil that crops are grown in, and students are exposed to organic farming.
While large-scale production is how the majority of the world’s food is grown, organic farming is presented as a viable option.
“It’s really nice that we have the opportunity to have the people that focus on the organic area as well in our faculty so students are able to get both perspectives,” says Clayton.
“And there’s room for everything in our industry. It’s nice that consumers are able to choose and we live in a country that’s able to accommodate that – that consumers have choice.”
The faculty of agricultural and food sciences is the fastest growing faculty at the U of M. Graduates of this program generally never have to worry about finding work.
“It’s so global. I mean, everyone needs to eat. Food is a major issue worldwide,” says Clayton.
“These companies are global companies so you can work for them locally or you have opportunities to travel.”
The faculty also does community outreach and has a Bruce D. Campbell Farm and Food Discovery Centre at its Glenlea Research Station that is open to the public. Faculty members have witnessed more interest in these initiatives in past years.
“People are very interested in what they’re eating and they’re interested in where that food came from,” says Clayton.
The deadline to apply to the faculty of agricultural and food sciences is May 1. Visit umanitoba.ca/afs for more information.

Young Associates’ Black & White Gala to transform the banks of the river at The Forks

Young Associates at a TGIF mixer.
Young Associates at a TGIF mixer.

By Quyen Van

Have you ever wanted to attend a fun gala (in a totally unexpected location) while getting opportunities to mix and mingle with business leaders and prospective business associates?
Then join the Young Associates May 10 for a one-night-only event Black & White: River Revelry, presented by M Group and hosted at none other than the Forks Market.
Come see The Forks like you’ve never seen them before, transformed by a mysterious yet elegant evening of revelry hosted on the banks of the river.
Complete with a special VIP lounge and interactive dance floor experience, this event is not one to be missed.
This fundraiser is an exciting event where over 600 of Winnipeg’s up-and-coming business leaders don their formal-to-chic attire; network with members of the business community; and have a ball.
The Black & White Gala was formed as a major fundraising event for the Young Associates (YA) to become the premier networking organization for young business professionals and to support the Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba.
With a growing membership of over 150 that represents virtually every sector of the Manitoba economy, YA offers exceptional programming, unparalleled networking opportunities and a youthful link between the School and the business community.
This year, the YA celebrate its 20th anniversary in supporting business education and the business community as a whole.
Becoming a member with the YA provides young business- and community-minded leaders with tremendous personal and professional development opportunities while helping further business education in Manitoba.
The YA offers professional and educational development opportunities such as engaging panel discussions on emerging business topics at its Learning Series.
A Boardroom Series allows members to gather insight from distinguished business leaders and revered CEOs, as well as gain access to behind-the-scenes tours into Winnipeg’s most dynamic companies.
The YA also offers its members valuable networking opportunities with its many engaging professional development events and mixers.
Members can gather indispensable volunteer experience by taking part in organizing programming such as the Black & White Gala, Bad Pants Golf Tournament, Learning Series, and a revered Mapping Manitoba Breakfast.
Membership in the organization is open to all young professionals and includes entrepreneurs, senior executives, accountants, lawyers, investment professionals and others representing virtually every sector of the local economy.
The YA is proud to support business education through donating time and resources, as well as funding events and career development at the Asper School.
This is possible through the support from generous sponsors and through established YA fundraisers such as the Black & White Gala.
So come out to Black & White: River Revelry at the Forks Market on May 10 and mingle with Winnipeg’s finest.
With the city’s hottest entertainment acts and surprises around every corner or river bend, this year’s event is guaranteed to yet again be one of Winnipeg’s best celebrations.
For more information or to purchase your ticket, visit http://www.youngassociates.org.

Young entrepreneurs team up downtown

(L-R): Oi Furniture's Jason Abbott, Synonym Art Consultation's Chloe Chafe and (far right) DigiPlus' Nick Danzinger pose with the CYBF's Joelle Foster and a BIZ Youth Entrepreneur.
(L-R): Oi Furniture’s Jason Abbott, Synonym Art Consultation’s Chloe Chafe and (far right) DigiPlus’ Nick Danzinger pose with the CYBF’s Joelle Foster and a BIZ Youth Entrepreneur.

By Brenlee Coates

The seven businesses linked together by the pop-up shop Launch It! are a force to be reckoned with.
Mostly all of the young entrepreneurs worked with the Canadian Youth Business Foundation to get their start and to receive ongoing support, and the pop-up shop is a unique way to extend themselves to the community.
Fashion designer Lennard Taylor; art consulting firm Synonym Art Consultation; fresh, local salsa maker Delicious Kicks; The Bannock Factory; cell phone case maker DigiPlus; custom suit retailer EPH Apparel; and Oi Furniture banded together in the Portage Place storefront.
“(It’s) something that Winnipeggers are looking for,” says Taylor, whose unique leather works are at the forefront of his business.
“I think that now that it’s here, it should stay. It’s up to the public.”
The Downtown BIZ hosted an open house at the pop-up shop at its expected closing on April 15, but the response was so positive, all but one entrepreneur, the creator of DigiPlus, will continue with the pop-up shop indefinitely.

Lennard Taylor sells his designs at the Portage Place pop-up shop.
Lennard Taylor sells his designs at the Portage Place pop-up shop.

Winnipeggers are no strangers to pop-up shops. Several weekend-long initiatives have popped up in Exchange District studios and the like, attracting local deal finders. The reputation for locals to hunt out sales and temporary opportunities precedes us.
However, this type of pop-up shop is unique to Winnipeg and Canada.
“We’ve heard that this is the first retail incubator of its kind in a downtown in Canada,” says Jason Syvixay, managing director of the Downtown BIZ.
“This one’s really interesting in that the entrepreneur doesn’t need to be business-ready. We’re looking for people that might just have an idea, and who want to work with our business connections to start moving their idea forward.
“We’ve been able to address some of the financial barriers. Not having a space – a visible storefront present. Not having the financial startup dollars, not knowing where to go for help.”
Retailers have also benefited from the “very homogenous and interesting mixture of people downtown,” says Syvixay.
Eventually, the pop-up shop will get new blood into its mix of entrepreneurs, but the event was so successful that everyone wanted to stay.
The Portage Place storefront was generously donated for the pop-up.
The BIZ surveyed people who visited the store during its three-week pilot and asked if doing another pop-up shop in the location would create a destination for the shoppers.
“The overwhelming response has been ‘I would come to Portage Place, because this is interesting, it’s supporting small business, local retailers, young entrepreneurs.’ It could be a very interesting way to attract younger people to our downtown, especially places like Portage Place,” says Syvixay.
The BIZ estimated that about 10,000 people walk up and down the downtown sidewalks every day, and 15,000 people were in the area during the Junos broadcast.
The exposure of this traffic as well as media attention made the pop-up worthwhile for the entrepreneurs regardless of sales.
“It’s been going pretty well,” says Syvixay.
“The general feedback has been quite fantastic in terms of the exposure. I think entrepreneurs are really enjoying the fact that they’ve been able to market their products and services to about 10,000 people that are walking throughout that corner of Portage Place daily.”
The BIZ and other downtown businesses are eager to help young people establish themselves in our city’s core.
“I do think it’s going to be the young entrepreneurs who decide what it’s (downtown’s) going to be in the next few years,” says Portage Place manager, David Stone.
The young entrepreneurs’ amicable sharing of a collective space shows their concern is for a profitable and sustainable future as well.
Owner of Synonym Art Consultation, Chloe Chafe, along with her business partner Andrew Eastman, are in the business of making local businesses and public spaces more beautiful.
“We curate public spaces essentially – where people are other than galleries. We believe that art should be for the public,” she says.
Synonym has been enlisted to curate the walls of local restaurants Fitzroy and Deseo Bistro.
“We work with businesses that are so talented (at) what they do. They are all about their food and they care about their atmosphere.”
“We protect our artists, so we want their precious art” displayed in these types of conscientious places, she says.
Synonym Art Consultation is the resident DJ for the pop-up shop, a position given to the owners because of their unique merging of music and art at other events.
“We connect musicians, artists and then businesses to work all together,” says Chafe. “Music is such an important part to our business. At every art show we have, we have local musicians or local DJs.”
In fact, the name Synonym came from their belief that art and music are symbiotic and pretty much interchangeable.

Local musician James Struthers performs at the opening of Launch It!
Local musician James Struthers performs at the opening of Launch It!

Synonym is one of those brilliant and fun ideas that most wish they had come up with themselves.
“What we do doesn’t exactly exist in the city right now,” says Chafe.
Perhaps there’s room for more art consultation firms in the city. If the harmonious Launch It! is any indication, it seems like the competition would be welcomed with open arms.

Style Bar owner wins top prize at Metis Young Entrepreneurs Symposium

Regan Greenwood opened the Style Bar in Osborne Village in September 2013.
Regan Greenwood opened the Style Bar in Osborne Village in September.

By Brenlee Coates

Regan Greenwood is one of those Winnipeggers we almost lost to glitzier fashion cities like Los Angeles and Toronto several times.
She studied at the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in L.A. before coming home to work at Nygard International.
From there, she moved on to a position at JMJ Fashions Ltd. on Bannatyne until it closed its doors permanently in the Exchange District.
Picadilly Fashions in Toronto then plucked the merchandising expert from Winnipeg, offering her a one-year contract in the fashion capital of Canada.
Luckily, it was toward the end of this contract that Regan started to dream up the business plan for her own store, which she ended up locating right in the heart of our own fashion district, Osborne Village.
For three months after she finished her contract at Picadilly, she stayed in Toronto debating whether or not she wanted to stay and find a permanent position there.
“It was the first time I hadn’t worked since school, so it was a refreshing time,” says Regan.
Though it sounds relaxing, it was over these months that Regan drafted a business plan for her eventual River Avenue store, Style Bar.

Style Bar merchandise at 470 River Ave.
Style Bar merchandise at 470 River Ave.

While she could’ve opened a store in fashion-crazy Toronto, she couldn’t imagine doing it without the help of her nearby family and friends.
“I would’ve done it in Toronto, but I wouldn’t have had the support around me… Me and my mom painted the entire place by ourselves.”
“I’d rather be a big fish as opposed to a small fish in a massive pond,” says Regan.
Regan hoped to bring something “unique to the Village” and perhaps the most standout example of this is the stylish store is relatively equal parts men’s and women’s clothing.

The men's lounge at Style Bar.
The men’s lounge at Style Bar.

The style of the clothing is also slightly more grown up, with lots of chic blouses and casual but elegant dresses.
“My sweet spot is late 20s/early 30s people that are in their career, who’re looking for blouses to wear to work but still want to look funky, and who want to look classy,” says Regan.
Though she is describing her key demographic, she may as well be talking about herself.
“I’m not into the crop tops at this point in my life,” jokes Regan.
Style Bar’s merchandise has a slightly more elevated class to it, but there is still tons of colour – especially evident in the new springwear. Even the men have a section of green basics and interesting print shirts like bicycle print and nautical-themed print button-ups.
Style Bar officially opened in September 2013 and had a busy Christmas season, though like most retail businesses in the city, it suffered through Winnipeg’s worst winter in over a century.
“I couldn’t ask for a better Christmas,” says Regan. “September started off very strong and October and November grew.”
January was hard on all businesses in the area, but by March and April, things were already looking up.
“People are ready to get out – things are warming up,” says Regan. “We’re just gaining awareness now.”
Regan’s business is certainly picking up steam, and gained even more notoriety in late March when Regan won a cash prize for young entrepreneurs from the Manitoba Metis Federation (MMF).
She won the grand prize at a Dragons’ Den-style event, the Metis Youth Entrepreneurs Symposium (YES), walking out with $10,000 to put toward her business.
About $2,500 of the prize goes toward marketing support for the winner’s business.
Regan plans to use the prize money to get her store’s website developed with online shopping.
“The (MMF) have helped me a lot to get my business up and running,” says Regan.
Her prize money will also help her offset some of the costs of hiring two new summer employees.
So far, it is just Regan who works at the store six days a week, and an employee who comes in for her on Sundays.
Besides trying to bring “really good quality for the price” to people in their careers, another major focus of Regan’s business is philanthropy.
Regan held an event for a week starting in late January, where people could bring in gently used denim to be donated to Resource Assistance for Youth, Inc. and receive 40 per cent off designer jeans from Style Bar.
The denim drive ended up accumulating 117 pairs of jeans to clothe youth at RaY.
Regan credits her dad and brother’s entrepreneurial experience for triggering her ambition.
Her father is president of Rondex, a family company started by his father in 1972.
Regan’s brother, Bret, also owns Rondex and is a silent partner for Style Bar.
They help guide her through some of the challenges of owning a business.

Regan with her wall of family photos - and James Dean.
Regan with her wall of family photos – and James Dean.

Ultimately, it was hard work and preparation that helped Regan get to this point and win the Manitoba Metis Federation cash prize – she decided what she wanted to do and where she wanted to do it in April last year; had the location and financing in place in May; and six months later, the place was renovated, painted, merchandised – and open for business.
Style Bar is located at 470 River Ave. in the former Kustom Kulture location. It is open weekdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturdays 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Visit stylebarboutique.com for more information.