The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Canadian Business Youth Foundation (CYBF) recently announced Medicine Hat resident, and entrepreneur, Ryan Jackson as one of four regional finalists for the 2014 BDC Mentorship Award.
The award aims to raise awareness about the importance of mentorship and the role mentors play in the development of an individual’s professional skills and abilities.
“Pleasantly surprised” about the announcement, Jackson explained that regardless of the outcome he is most excited about the platform this enables him to have: “Mentorship is about paying it forward. It’s important in this day-in-age for business people, investors or individuals who have the ability to mentor to open their calendars rather than their wallets.”
Jackson, who has mentored individuals from a diverse range of endeavours; from bikini businesses to landscape and technology companies, describes his mentoring style as someone who will provide a clear lens into the future when decisions are being made.
“I provide direction by saying “this is what I would do”, but still allow them to make their own decisions. If they trip, I’ll let them stumble, but not fall.”
Jackson has a diverse background. As owner of an Alberta based consulting and advisory firm- RAMECO Consulting Group, he has been an influential business person within Western Canada and has played an active role in mentoring students from Medicine Hat College (MHC). In 2011, he received MHC’s Business Person of the Year Award, and from 2011 to 2013, he was the entrepreneur in residence with the Entrepreneur Development Centre (EDC).
“Ryan Jackson was an integral part of developing a mentor network with the EDC,” said Jon Sookocheff, manager. “He is a tireless advocate of youth entrepreneurship and continues to support entrepreneurs in Medicine Hat and throughout Alberta.”
Jackson explained that, when he was starting out, there was nothing like the EDC, but was intrigued by the concept. A program which he feels continues to be valuable for three reasons- it provides access to money, mentors and market insight.
“So many businesses are built on debt and they shouldn’t be; the JMH grant (part of the EDC’s Summer Company Program) gives them a start, which is a really nice way to get going. They are also paired with a mentor that will help guide them through the program and Jon provides support throughout the year, getting them ready to leave the nest while ensuring the model they are trying to develop is going to have a chance for success.”
For individuals seeking mentorship, Jackson recommends looking into organizations such as the EDC, but also actively seeking people from the business community that are like minded: “With social media, these days it is easier than ever to identify who those people are and reach out to them through platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.”
To learn more about the BDC Mentorship Award and the other nominees visit www.bdc.ca. The recipient will be announced at CYBF’s Action Entrepreneurship: Growing Young Enterprise Canadian Summit in Toronto on May 14, 2014.
For more information on Ryan Jackson visit www.ramecoconsulting.ca or follow him on Twitter @ryajackson.
Interested in learning about the resources available through the EDC and how you can access mentors visit www.mhc.ab.ca or stay connected to MHC on Twitter at @MHCollege or Facebook at www.facebook.com/MHCollege.
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