Posts Tagged ‘OCRI Entrepreneurship Centre’

Self-employment is something that I’ve always been attracted to and I thought I would look at some of the workshops and supports that are available for people who venture along this route.

Last month I attended a pre-self-employment workshop at Pinecrest-Queensway Employment Centre. The ever dynamic facilitator, Kari Drouin, started things off by asking participants to introduce themselves and make their pitch. Some of the people are close to launching a business, some are naturally drawn to it, and others are exploring the option. The presentation also covered the benefits and demands of self-employment, assessing whether you have what it takes, researching your idea and market viability, and resources for people who decide to go this route. As always, it was a useful, informative and stimulating workshop.

One of the local resources is the OCRI Entrepreneurship Centre. I had heard about the centre while at the Art of the Start presentations a few days earlier. “The Centre aims to promote Ottawa’s economy, through the development of products and services that encourage entrepreneurship and support business growth.” They provide workshops, seminars, consultations and a variety of information resources. Earlier this week I checked out two of their free seminars.

The first was on presenting yourself and the seven seconds you have to make a positive first impression. According to Julie Blas Comeau of Etiquette Julie the top five keys to making a good impression are your punctuality, posture, eye-contact, smile, and handshake. She also provided tips about greetings and remembering names. One of her slides noted Mehrabian’s rule of face-to-face communication – I’ve come across this before at Toastmasters and in books but wasn’t familiar with who’s rule it was – which is that 55% of communication is non-verbal, 38% is verbal, and 7% is vocal. In other words, people react mostly to your body language, then your tonal variety, and leastly to what you actually say.

The second seminar was on preparing proposals and was presented by Keith Parker of The Proposal Centre. The presentation was intended for small and mid-sized businesses who bid on work; however, in my job search I’ve come across the occasional ad which asks for an RFP so I thought it would be a good opportunity to learn more about what a proposal is. According to Keith, it’s a blend of art and science in which you have to identify the right opportunities, know when to make or not make a bid, address the questions, make your proposal compelling, and deliver it on time.

The latent entrepreneur in me found the seminars quite interesting. The Centre is definitely an excellent resource. There are also a wide variety of social groups around that provide entrepreneurs with an opportuntiy to connect, network, share ideas, get advice and other supports to help along the self-employed path.

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