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By Mark Fletcher
The Creative Space & Georgian College Entrepreneurship Students
Summer 2013

I met Chad Ballantyne owner of The Creative Space just weeks before the Summer 13 term was to begin. We worked with determination to develop a plan to provide Georgian Entrepreneurship students with opportunities to interact with and learn from entrepreneurs at The Creative Space.

We had 3 classes at TCS. The first hour provided 1 hour of interaction with 5-7 entrepreneurs from TCS. We used a variety of approaches – sometimes just basic Q & A with he whole class, other times small groups of students met with one ‘Trep (Chad’s word) to discuss their concepts. The second hour was a class held in the loft area of TCS. Students also had access to a dedicated desk at TCS throughout the term and were encouraged to drop in and work and network with entrepreneurs there.

Overall, the partnership with TCS was a tremendous success. The students were provided with an enriched, interactive learning experience that was enhanced by the generous support from, and interaction with, the TCS ‘Treps.

The following are excepts from a term ending test question that asked students to describe how key course concepts were applied by the ‘Treps they met at the TCS:

The key thing everyone there stressed was networking and how important it is.

You must constantly be looking for opportunities to meet people who may help you in the future.

Over the semester I have gained a lot of knowledge on the course concepts by going to the TCS.

I learned how these ‘Treps felt their customers pain and came up with a solution to their pain.

Plan A won’t always work but don’t let it get you down. There is a learning curve.

It is the risk that these ‘Treps took that makes them who they are today.

You need to not only research online but to get out in the world and ask questions to people to get feedback and see what they have to say.

The first and largest concept employed at TCS is networking. The entire place is based upon the idea of entrepreneurs helping entrepreneurs.

It was a great opportunity to be a student ‘Trep. we could go in there and get valuable mentoring and insights from people who have been where we are.

I realize now that I have to be super flexible and prepare for some level of failure.

One of the ladies was very adamant about the risking your model. It is important to minimize start up costs and get away from an asset-based company.

The ‘Treps encouraged an MVP to get the ball rolling and test the waters. Don’t invest a lot of time or money without experimenting first.

All of the entrepreneurs at TCS said they use goals to achieve most of their businesses successes.

The entrepreneurs said that you had to have an unfair advantage or no one will notice you.

Mark Fletcher
School of Business
Georgian College

Sept. 4, 2013