July 31, 2013
Nineteen medically discharged and soon-to-be retired members of the Canadian Forces reported to an intense seven-day boot camp recently but instead of drills and uniforms, they faced classrooms and instructors.
Based in Business is an entrepreneurial boot camp run by Enactus Memorial that offers participants the opportunity to learn from professors and industry professionals during the day while working one-on-one with 32 Enactus student volunteers to develop business plans in the evening.
This marks the fifth year for Based in Business, which was developed to help entrepreneurial-spirited Canadian Forces members learn about opening their own businesses. The program was created in response to a need, identified by the Dept. of National Defence, for a program to help service men and women reintegrate into civilian life following their discharge from the Canadian Forces. The camp ran this year from July 21-27 at the Gardiner Centre.
Derek Hughes, a Canadian Forces veteran with 35 years of service, participated in the Based in Business program this year. He is originally from Corner Brook and is now living in Ottawa, ON. Mr. Hughes is developing a project management consulting and services business for naval shipbuilding, which he plans to market to the navy as well as to other markets in Ottawa and internationally. Mr. Hughes commended the quality of the professors and presentations in Based in Business
“My knowledge has been enhanced by the best of the best this week,” he says. “To be able to take the next step in life is a great opportunity. It sets us up for the future.”
“[I] consider what we’re learning as a tool kit – we’ve been given the knowledge, now we have to decide what we’re going to do with it.”
In 2011, Enactus Memorial partnered with Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF) to develop the Prince’s Operation Entrepreneur. This two-phase program has been recognized by Prince Charles as the best entrepreneurial transition program in Canada and last year the program officially launched a three-year partnership with the Prince’s Charities Canada.
This year the program has expanded – Laval University and the University of Regina are also hosting Based in Business boot camps in August.
Lynn Morrissey, faculty advisor to Enactus Memorial, has been involved with Based in Business right from the start.
“It’s hard to believe that we just completed the fifth running of Based in Business. When we started the program with five participants in 2009, I could never have imagined how far our Enactus Memorial team would take this,” she says.
Based in Business was held with assistance from nine professors from the Faculty of Business Administration and industry professionals who presented on topics focused on entrepreneurism, customer relations, accounting and finance, marketing, human resources, legal issues and business ethics. In the evenings, student volunteers provided the participants with one-on-one assistance with their final presentations and business plans.
Following the completion of the boot camp, participants are given access to financing and professional mentoring from CYBF, allowing them to kick-start their new ventures.
Program participant Tony Lynch is from St. John’s originally and now lives in Moncton, NB.
“I’ve been in the military for 32 years but I’ve been a biker for longer,” he says, noting that his business idea stems from his love for motorcycles.
He plans to start a motorcycle recovery business for repairing broken-down motorcycles and eventually, hopes to expand the business to include detailing and seasonal storage of both motorcycles and other recreational vehicles.
For him, this program is a great way to bridge the gap between service life and civilian life.
He says this experience has been “absolutely amazing” and speaks highly of the professors and the student mentors involved.
With respect to the professors, Mr. Lynch says “the love of what they are doing is so evident.” He also adds, “I can’t say enough about the students – the mentors – and the dedication and ability that they have shown.”
Diana Flemming and Shaun Morrissey are the co-project coordinators for Based in Business.
“I was drawn to the Based in Business program because it provided an opportunity to give back to the brave men and women who do so much to protect the country I call home – an opportunity that I never thought I would have,” says Ms. Flemming.
“It is unbelievably rewarding to see a group of 19 strangers arrive on the first day of boot camp and leave, just six days later, as friends. The relationships formed during the week are what meant the most to me. Not only did the participants learn a lot from their student mentors during the week but we learned a lot from them as well.”
Mr. Morrissey shares similar thoughts.
“Personally, I was humbled to have the chance to meet all of these amazing men and women,” he says. “I am already excited to see the success of these beautiful people.”