Creating a community of social entrepreneurs in Calgary
For the third year in a row, Thrive’s Accelerator program is poised to help early-stage entrepreneurs “fast-track their financial growth, while developing social change within their business,” says Barb Davies, Learning and Leadership Coordinator at Thrive.
This free 10-month program starts on March 15. Participants will gather once a week for four months to hone their marketing and finance strategies for their business – covering topics such as market reach and sales and develop a strategic plan for their business to create meaningful change within the community. Six months of on-one-one business coaching will follow the classroom portion of the program, helping business owners to implement their vision.
“We’re looking for entrepreneurs that are about two to three years into their business, who care about the community, understand sustainability, and are wondering how they can use their business to create more impact,” Barb says.
“It can be a lonely journey, so we’re hoping to facilitate those connections and build a community of people that can support one another.”
Peter Njongwe, Creative Director of Alora Boutique, went through the program in 2016 alongside his wife and business partner Jameela Ghann. The business centres on jewelry that gives back, empowering women in poverty through quarterly monetary donations (5% of each sale), and building their skills through free jewelry-making workshops.
“That support system was just immense,” Peter says. “When you’re surrounded by other business owners in the classroom, sharing their victories and their struggles, you don’t feel so alone anymore.” Peter came away from the program with a clearer sense of what the business needed to succeed and be financially stable while helping vulnerable women in Calgary reach the same goal. “It’s helped us focus, and having the business coach held us accountable.”
Barb says Thrive created the program to “create a thriving local economy for all.”
“Small business is a huge part of what makes an economy strong,” she says.