Entrepreneur students put their skills to the test

Students from Durham College’s Entrepreneurship and Small Business program are getting the opportunity to apply the lessons they’ve learned in the classroom to projects for external clients as they prepare themselves to be job ready after graduation.

The students worked on two projects for two separate clients during their first semester, broadening their experience and comfort level in diverse industry settings.

“These experiences are valuable for our entrepreneurship students since they provide an opportunity to actually manage the operations of a project,” said Jay Fisher, professor. “In order to provide an authentic, hands-on experience, we need to work on real projects for real clients. These experiences are highly transferable when students begin managing their own internal operations when they start new businesses.”

The first student-organized event was the Find it in Durham Scavenger Hunt, a contest that provided participants with a fun way to learn about the resources available to entrepreneurs in Durham Region. The scavenger hunt was the key event of Do it in Durham – a series of challenges that included workshops and networking events with the opportunity to win prizes worth up to $7,000.

Another project required the students to collaborate and promote the first-ever Innovation Celebration for the Rouge Valley Health System. The awards celebration honoured winning ideas submitted by employees on improving efficiency and eliminating wasteful processes in the hospital system.

Chris Roberts, an Entrepreneurship and Small Business student, found the experience of working for a client provided valuable exposure and insight to event planning and managing a project.

“It’s important because you get hands-on experience when communicating with a client, planning an event and managing a team,” said Roberts. “From this you develop skills like asking the right questions to gather information; how to write and speak to team members and clients; and how to keep team members up-to-date and the information centralized.”