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Business incubator a hit

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The pitch for a business incubator in the Parkland has been wildly successful.
“We opened up the doors to our first intake of the business incubator program at the end of September,” Dauphin Economic Development (DED) Manager Carissa Caruk-Ganczar explained.
“And even before we had the opportunity to do a lot of our advertising and outreach that we are accepting, we filled our program, which is fantastic. “
There are 15 businesses going through the program this fall, she said, with a waiting list for 2019.
The partnership between DED, Dauphiin and District Chamber of Commerce and Community Futures Parkland was aware there was a need and an interest in the program, Caruk-Ganczar said, but the group did not expect the overwhelming interest so quickly.
With funding from the Province of Manitoba’s Partner for Growth program, she said, the business incubator is a 12-week program using an online education model to help build skills for businesses.
Participants in the program vary, Caruk-Ganczar said, from someone just starting a business, to someone exploring whether entrepreneurship is for them, or more detailed work, such as evaluating finances or human resource needs.
“Part of the process, too, is that by the time they’re done their 12-week program, they will also have a completed business plan,” she said.
“So our committee will be working one-on-one with this crew, individually with all their businesses to help them set up for success, look at all those questions and evaluate what they need to do to open their doors, or expand opening their doors and then move on to the next step.”
The first intake has a wide range of businesses involved from different trades, to retail, to various service industries, Caruk-Ganczar said, noting there are no duplicated businesses.
“A really fantastic, diverse group. So we’re very excited about that,” she noted.
While the pilot program is open to the Parkland, Caruk-Ganczar said, the majority of participants in this first intake are from Dauphin and Gilbert Plains.
“We’re hoping in the second intake to even reach further that way. We didn’t even get a chance to do our outreach to more of those surrounding communities before we were flooded with inquiries,” she added.
Caruk-Ganczar is pleased to see the interest for this service and that people are considering entrepreneurship as a career path for them.
It has also demonstrated there is a need for consistent programming, she noted, as the three partners have been working together on different projects and events such as Take the Leap.
“But it’s really shown how people are really interested in having some formalized programming that occurs consistently throughout the year,” Caruk-Ganczar said.
As the program continues with the first intake, she said, the group may offer some specific topic workshops, which could be open to other businesses in the area.
“It’s great to see that people are seeing that the region is an area for opportunity. And with the supports and guidance, and just having a crew of people to talk through some of those ideas or challenges in starting a business, has been really exciting, too,” Caruk-Ganczar said.
The business incubator program intends to open another 12-week program in early January. Anyone in the Parkland interested is invited to contact the program at dauphinincubator@gmail.com or Caruk-Ganczar at ced@dauphin.ca.

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M. A. Nyquist
REPORTER
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