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National Entrepreneurs Day – November 20th 2018

In acknowledgement of National Entrepreneurs Day, The Learning Partnership (TLP) thought it an opportune time to examine some of the larger discussions surrounding innovation and entrepreneurship in the Canadian economy. One of TLP’s core principles is that the public, private and civic sectors can and should work together to strengthen Canada’s global competitive edge. Below we look at how The Learning Partnership itself is engaging across all sectors – education, business and civic – to better prepare future generations for success in the face of unprecedented technological growth. 
The Honorable Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of The Canadian Chamber of Commerce, says that in order for Canada to compete in the international marketplace, we must develop the means to encourage continuous skill-centric development through multi-stakeholder collaborations across education and business. He adds that we must co-ordinate across sectors to build systems and create initiatives that enable and encourage people to innovate, given that no single sector can successfully shape national talent development by itself. This, he argues, is the only way Canada can reinvigorate itself as a leader in innovation.
Here at The Learning Partnership, we collaborate with business leaders to develop and implement programs that provide students with experiential learning opportunities that emphasize global competencies such as critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration, which are essential workplace skills. Through the generous support of our volunteers, students have the opportunity to gain insight and expertise from business mentors. Students are then encouraged to apply their new knowledge to create their own business ventures right in the classroom.
We had the opportunity to sit down with one of our partners to hear about their experience and takeaways after volunteering with Entrepreneurial Adventure.
Joanna Killen is the CEO and Co-Founder of Momentum Canada. Momentum Canada supports established entrepreneurs by validating their business ideas and helping them build their sales pipeline and increase their revenue.  
Q: What made you want to be a part of Entrepreneurial Adventure?
A: Entrepreneurship is a journey I began at 19 when I had the opportunity to own and run my own shop. I was drawn to this program because I did not think that entrepreneurship was an option for me back when I was in high school. I ended up being completely wrong! Given that fact, I wanted to make sure that I committed myself to mentoring young entrepreneurs when I had the chance.
Q: What does the phrase ‘entrepreneurial thinking’ mean to you, and more specifically, how would you define it?
A: Entrepreneurial thinking to me is a way in which you are able to become passionate about solving problems. Entrepreneurs are able to build businesses around a problem they feel they are solving. This mindset allows you to navigate what it is to build and start a business.
Q: How have you exemplified entrepreneurial and innovative thinking in your own workplace?
A: I strive to encourage my team to pursue, not only our client work, but their own entrepreneurial endeavours or ‘side businesses’ and offer all the coaching I would to our clients. It is important to not believe that your job is the ultimate goal to have in life.

Q: What have been your biggest takeaways after taking part in Entrepreneurial Adventure?
A: It is really inspiring me to see our community’s youth attempt to think differently about problem solving and also seeing them dream big about what is potentially possible for them. It is a great to be able to help inspire and help them with their ventures.
Q: Do you believe there is some sort of pattern or formula to becoming a successful entrepreneur?
A: I believe patience and tenacity really influence one’s outcome. It takes a lot of hard work and uncertainty to run a business and when you can roll with any challenge and understand ‘success’ takes time, you will be able to really enjoy and learn from the process.
Thank you for your time and support, Joanna!

As we can see, innovation is an ever-evolving phenomenon and, and as such, our systems need to create an environment that encourages people to develop the skills needed to adapt to changing trends and needs. At the heart of innovation and entrepreneurial endeavors lies people and their talent, and what better way to create a strong talent force in Canada than to provide our youth with the skills needed to deliver real economic, ecological and social impact.

Joanna is a business mentor with The Learning Partnership's Entrepreneurial Adventure.  Entrepreneurial Adventure helps nurture entrepreneurial thinking and innovation among young Canadians, an increasingly important skill in today’s economic and business environment. The program pairs classes with business mentors to create and launch a business venture, with profits going to a charity chosen by the class. Entrepreneurial Adventure is offered in both English and French.  If you are interested in learning more about Entrepreneurial Adventure, or becoming a business mentor, please click here.