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March 22, 2012

The Launch of the Green Hectare’s Entrepreneur Exchange Is a Fresh Approach to Mentorship

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Green Hectares will facilitate a fresh approach to mentorship on March 30 and 31 at Northlands Farm and Ranch Show. The Entrepreneur Exchange is like a collaborative "Dragon’s Den", where young rural entrepreneurs present their business questions and proposals, or ideas for change, to a panel of experts. The panel shares their advice, counsel and connections so this next generation of leaders can access the best information similar to their urban counterparts. This program was developed through the support of the Rural Alberta Development Fund.

Exchange participants are offered 1/2 hour to present their idea to the panel. In response, the panel takes the next 1/2 hour to challenge, counsel and inspire Exchange participants on how they can take their idea to the next level. Participants are supported by Green Hectares for another ½ hour, providing access to information, contacts and ongoing mentorship so they can follow through on the Exchange panel’s advice. Green Hectares provides steps before and after the actual event, however this is not mandatory. The core of the program lasts 90 minutes.

“In rural communities, the average age is creeping higher and higher”, says Wendy Schneider, Executive Director of Green Hectares. “Sharing information in this format has several benefits for rural communities – It inspires the panelist by seeing the innovation present in rural communities and for the rural entrepreneur it creates a foundation of good business advice beyond what they might have had access to”.
“We’re trying to replicate the authentic sharing of information that happens in an urban environment when you meet someone at a coffee shop or a networking event”, says Dana Penrice, Program Manager for The Entrepreneur Exchange. “Often there is an exchange of ideas that can propel businesses further through an informal education process. We’ve tried to create a program where a person can come in with only an idea all the way to a full business plan and get the advice they need, for that stage of business”.

For further information contact Carlene VanBrabant by email or at 780-729-3552.

Green Hectares creates opportunities for people to connect, collaborate and learn so they can be a thriving part of the agriculture industry, or a contributing force in their community. The organization was started by a group of young leaders who were passionate about agriculture. They wanted to create an environment where anyone with an interest in agriculture and food could thrive and prosper, no matter where they live. Green Hectares has three core programs: The Community Connector, The Entrepreneur Exchange and our E-Resource Centre.

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