Second Start, a new pilot program for entrepreneurs over 30, launches in Durham

Helena McMann PATH Second Start

DURHAM — If you’re a Durham entrepreneur over 30 looking for a fresh start, look no further.

The Business Advisory Centre Durham has launched Second Start, a new pilot program for entrepreneurs over 30. BACD is one of ten offices in the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs being funded by the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation and the Ministry of Economic Development, Employment and Infrastructure to run an entrepreneurship pilot program. Ten entrepreneurs from BACD’s program will have a chance to win up to a $5,000 grant.

Teresa Shaver, the creator of the program, said BACD chose to focus on entrepreneurs over 30 as there was no program like this in the Durham Region. According to Ms. Shaver, the BACD sees more than 1,000 clients per year who want to start their own businesses.

Second Start focuses on “experiential training,” according to Ms. Shaver. The program operates one day a week for five weeks, with learning taking place both in the classroom and online. The program will teach participants business viability, marketing, financials and more. Participants also have a mentor who works with them through the process.

“It’s one thing to learn all the guts of running a business but it’s also about the entrepreneur’s skill set, so teaching them how to make decisions, take actions and how to grow their own skill set,” said Ms. Shaver.

At the end of the six-month training program, the 65 participants, in three training groups, will be taught how to pitch their business. On June 27, 25 finalists will pitch to a committee selected by the BACD, and winners of the grants will be chosen.

Helena McMann, a certified doula and a participant of the program, took the opportunity to work on her new business, Parenting At The Hub which supports, facilitates and develops maternal specific programming and provides education for families from pregnancy to a baby’s first year. Ms. McMann heard about the program through BACD’s newsletter and was intrigued by the opportunity to tap into a number of resources, the mentorship aspect and the possibility of an incentive. She recently completed the program.

“My biggest take-home was to be able to focus in on what made my business so valuable. It gave me a chance to hone in on what I really wanted to do,” said Ms. McMann.

Ms. Shaver hopes that eventually the program will be able to run throughout the year.