Medicine Hat College’s Entrepreneur Development Centre (EDC) now has one more resource to share with students and new alumni: an entrepreneur in residence.
Local businessperson Ryan Jackson was recently appointed to the new position and looks forward to being a “voice of reason” to budding entrepreneurs.
“Businesses are so different and unique,” Jackson said. “I hope to provide guidance on decisions these entrepreneurs will need to make when going through the start-up process.”
Jackson’s duties are three-fold; they will include mentoring students, serving as a guest speaker in various classrooms, and working with EDC manager Jon Sookocheff to further develop the EDC. He has committed to working with the college at least 20 hours per term.
“The EDC is an incredible resource for the college’s students and new alumni,” Jackson added. “MHC is helping build a foundation for these entrepreneurs, and I am honoured to be involved.”
Jackson has served as one of several business mentors at the EDC for over a year, and recently expressed a desire to be more involved with the centre.
“This type of mentoring is invaluable to our students,” Sookocheff said. “Ryan has started a number of successful companies and has offered to share his experience with students.”
Jackson has already started serving as a guest speaker in classrooms and is looking forward to more opportunities to meet with students in this fashion. He said he “hopes to serve as a bridge from what the curriculum is teaching to the business world.”
His speaking opportunities with MHC classes may range from leadership to entrepreneurship to succession planning for family businesses. Sookocheff said the opportunities to use Jackson’s experience are limitless in the classroom.
“We have so many programs that result in entrepreneurs here at MHC,” he said. “Ryan can speak to students in programs such as massage therapy or visual communications, where many graduates tend to start their own companies.”
Jackson hopes he can help strengthen MHC’s ties to area business through his entrepreneur in residence position.
“This is a role that will evolve,” he said. “But one of my goals is to help in some small way to bring students and community together.”
The EDC opened in 2010 with assistance from a $50,000 grant from the RBC Foundation. Since then, it has helped guide many students and new alumni in their business ventures. It was boosted by a recent donation of $250,000 from JMH & Co., which will grant scholarships, provide start-up funding for student businesses, and allow mentoring opportunities from JMH & Co. staff.
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