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Entrepreneurship in the time of COVID-19

There can be a lot of challenges and obstacles when starting a business, and with the COVID-19 pandemic in the mix, entrepreneurs are facing a few new challenges.

As the situation changes due to COVID-19, Martin Sirois-Maheu, Program Director Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) Academy, says he thinks entrepreneurs need to understand that there are challenges that are more important to pay attention to right now.

“What was a good idea maybe three months or six months ago might not be a good idea anymore, and what is a good idea now might not be a good idea in six months. So the challenge, understanding what the clients are looking for, and since we’re in a more uncertain time, is making sure that you have a business model that will go through time,” he explained.

What is BDC Small Business Week?
BDC Small Business Week is an annual celebration of entrepreneurship that the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has organized for over 42 years. Every year, close to 10,000 entrepreneurs gather to learn, network and celebrate the people building businesses across the country.

BDC’s objective is to help Canadian entrepreneurs develop and acquire the necessary skills to manage their businesses. In addition, they help create and develop strong Canadian businesses through financing, advisory services, and capital, with a focus on small and medium-sized enterprises.

Sirois-Maheu says the basic skills you need to be an entrepreneur have remained the same even with COVID-19.

“I think you have to have a good idea that answers a need, and I’m never going to say it enough, it’s easy to get an idea and think it’s a good one, but you need to validate it with the market,” he added.

Developing a Comprehensive Business Plan

The first standard step to starting a business is developing a comprehensive business plan.

A business plan will help turn the gears and help entrepreneurs think about what they want to do. It will also assist them in figuring out how to present the idea to future investors and future bankers.

Marie-Hélène Lambert, Learning Specialist, BDC, says one of the bonuses to the course is the videos of BDC experts talking about different topics like financing, human resources, sales, marketing, and networking.

BDC runs a course, How to start a business, and it’s a comprehensive course that will guide people through all aspects of starting a business in Canada, with the idea at the end that an entrepreneur will be able to complete a business plan.

BDC runs a course, How to start a business, and it’s a comprehensive course that will guide people through all aspects of starting a business in Canada, with the idea at the end that an entrepreneur will be able to complete a business plan.

Business Structure

The course covers defining your business structure; will it be a sole proprietorship, partnership, or do you want to be incorporated? The course gives a brief overview of the business plan and talks about financing a business by outlining different types of financing.

The remainder of the course covers hiring and retaining employees, marketing, sales, and how to network. Each of these topics provides the information needed to build both sections of a business plan.

Marie-Hélène Lambert, Learning Specialist, BDC, says one of the bonuses to the course is the videos of BDC experts talking about different topics like financing, human resources, sales, marketing, and networking.

“We also did some podcasts with entrepreneurs to talk about their experience starting a business, and it’s really interesting to hear what they went through as they were putting together their business. We also have a working document that will help people build a business plan. We can change the resources, articles, tools, and government resources within that,” Lambert informed.

BDC Course Available On-Line Anytime

Launched over a year ago, the program is the most popular one at BDC. This specific program is an online program, so that it can be taken at any time. So whenever an entrepreneur is ready or a future entrepreneur is interested, they can enroll. It is available in French and English and is compatible with computers, tablets, and smartphones.

Lambert says the course is for any person that wants to start a business.

“The course is also geared towards people coming from other countries that are new to Canada because the course is really specific to Canada. For example, when we talk about rules and regulations, we refer them to the Canadian rules on incorporating,” she commented.

All of BDC’s courses are free and accessible to everyone. Sirois-Maheu expressed his belief that “being an entrepreneur is very rewarding. It’s a very rewarding project and can be really fulfilling for a lot of people.

BDC’s Courses are Free & Accessible

All of BDC’s courses are free and accessible to everyone. Sirois-Maheu expressed his belief that “being an entrepreneur is very rewarding. It’s a very rewarding project and can be really fulfilling for a lot of people.”

He continued to explain, “There are a lot of people asking questions around that. So we thought that having an online course would help a lot of people understand if they’re made for it if they like it, and they can be ready for it. BDC has a self-assessment tool because it’s really great to be an entrepreneur, but it’s probably not made for everyone.”

BDC is also working on some paid courses that are included in some of their programs, and one of the courses works with the former military.

Business Course for Veterans

BDC is also working on some paid courses that are included in some of their programs, and one of the courses works with the former military.

“It’s a former group of military called Pathfinder Leadership that I’ve started some training on leadership with. So I do understand the importance for military families, but also for many veterans, to seek a second opportunity or continue to work after they have served in the military. I think being an entrepreneur opens a lot of possibilities and a lot of rewards, and maybe the course might help a few of them with finding a second career,” says Sirois-Maheu.

Visit the BDC’S website here for more information on Small Business Week, October 17 to 23, 2021, and learn more about the programs BDC offers visit here.

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Julia Lennips

Julia is a journalist who is an avid reader and an artist. She is living in North Bay, ON pursing her passion for reporting.

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