Sem­i­nar: Peo­ple do­ing what they’re pas­sion­ate about

Ottawa Citizen - - BUSI­NESS & TECH­NOL­OGY -

And Mer­linda Poon was look­ing for tips to take her in­ven­tion to a new level. The 35-year-old com­puter sci­en­tist al­ready has a busi­ness plan and a pro­to­type for her de­vice to as­sist the vis­ually im­paired scan and lis­ten to doc­u­ments. Now she needs to get patent pro­tec­tion, and find some fund­ing.

“To be in a room full of peo­ple with ideas, walk­ing around ask­ing ques­tions and get­ting in­for­ma­tion, it’s an en­ergy level this com­mu­nity needs,” says Ge­orge Brown, OCLF pres­i­dent. “I won’t sug­ar­coat it. They’re prob­a­bly not go­ing to earn much more than a liv­ing wage do­ing this. But they wouldn’t have it any other way. They get a tremen­dous sense of ac­com­plish­ment.”

That’s what Nancy Brandsma is af­ter. She just quit a sta­ble, well-pay­ing job to start pro­mot­ing her own art and art classes.

“I was stressed out and dis­sat­is­fied,” says Brandsma, 33, who left her ad­min­is­tra­tor job on May 1. “I didn’t want to live like that any­more, and I’d been think­ing about it for a long time.”

She is work­ing on a web­site to pro­mote her ser­vices, and has al­ready started gath­er­ing clients by of­fer­ing to teach art to chil­dren in home day cares.

“I have no in­ten­tion of be­com­ing rich, I just want to do some­thing I’m pas­sion­ate about.”

Her hus­band, John Brandsma, is also try­ing to make a busi­ness out of pur­su­ing his pas­sion for fine art pho­tog­ra­phy, but he is quick to point out that the cou­ple is not “to­tally throw­ing cau­tion to the wind.”

“We thought about the econ­omy and we are cut­ting back a lit­tle on things like travel and en­ter­tain­ment and restau­rants, plus I still have my day job,” says Brandsma, a graphic de­signer and web devel­oper with Agri­cul­ture Canada. “We’ve never been lav­ish in our life­style any­way.”

The Art of the Start sem­i­nar is the sec­ond or­ga­nized by OCLF vi­cepres­i­dent Ig­na­cio Este­fanell, who has also caught the en­trepreneur­ship bug. Two years ago he launched Kick­about, a mag­a­zine about Ot­tawa’s soc­cer scene. Although there are many lo­cal or­ga­ni­za­tions of­fer­ing help with startup ne­ces­si­ties such as busi­ness plans and fea­si­bil­ity stud­ies, he saw a need for an event that would sim­ply in­spire. The first Art of the Start event was in Oc­to­ber. They ex­pected 25 peo­ple and got 80.

“Sta­tis­ti­cally, if you look at a list of the For­tune 500 com­pa­nies, most were started in a re­ces­sion or down­turn,” says Daze, citing a statis­tic re­peated of­ten through the evening. “If you can start a busi­ness now and gain any sort of trac­tion, you are go­ing to be much stronger and health­ier for it com­ing out of a down­turn.”

Still, it’s not all rosy. In ad­di­tion to Vincec of Blue Bam­boo Yoga, the panel in­cluded Dig­i­tal Life­line, an on-site com­puter sup­port com­pany founded by Gerry Cor­co­ran and Daniel Abra­menko; and Dakima In­ter­cul­tural Mar­ket­ing and Communicat­ions, started by Urooj Qureshi. All four en­trepreneur­s cheer­fully ad­mit­ted they’re broke, or close to it — but said they are hap­pier than they’ve ever been.

Per­haps they’ll be in­ter­ested in a new re­source OCRI is de­vel­op­ing, a pack­age of ar­ti­cles, cour­ses and videos to help busi­ness peo­ple take ad­van­tage of cur­rent con­di­tions.

It’s called Sur­vive and Thrive.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.