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Starting a business: finding the right training program

03 August 2017 by National Bank
formation démarrage d'entreprise

Before, entrepreneurs were self-taught. It was in their blood! This is still true today, but they now also have access to a host of training programs to help them succeed. Here are a few tips to choose the one that’s right for you.

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After a lot of thought, you’ve decided to quit your job to finally make your dream of starting a business a reality. Your experience means that you probably don’t have the same needs as new graduates. But do you have all the knowledge required to manage your business?

“The offer has evolved over the last few years and now allows all types of entrepreneurs to gain the necessary tools through training in a format that suits them,” notes Michel Leblanc, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal, who created a directory of start-up training programs in Quebec through its Info Entrepreneurs service.

Entrepreneurship: from A to Z!

If you have no idea how to conduct a market study or write your business plan, you will likely benefit from a training program that will support you and teach you the basics of starting a business.

For example, the 330-hour Attestation of Vocational Specialization (AVS) Starting a Business is offered online and throughout the province in several vocational centres and other organizations associated with entrepreneurship. Funded by the Quebec Ministère de l’Éducation et de l’Enseignement supérieur, this program is a financially interesting option.

Several organizations have also developed their own training program, in a variety of different formats. For example, the École d’entrepreneuriat de Québec created the intensive six-month Creation program offered in the evenings for those who want to set up their business project in six to twelve months.

For its part, the Académie de l’entrepreneurship in Longueuil opted for a weekly evening course formula for its start-up program.

Highly targeted training programs

If you are already well on the road to implementing your entrepreneurial project, but could use help with certain specific concepts, there are a variety of available targeted training programs.

For example, the Chamber of Commerce of Metropolitan Montreal offers several short training workshops on topics such as filing taxes as a self-employed worker, marketing on Facebook, and the legal aspects of HR management.

“In general, an entrepreneur signs up for this type of training to meet an immediate, concrete need,” explains Michel Leblanc.

Organizations that support entrepreneurship generally also offer these types of training programs, like the École des entrepreneurs in Montréal. It offers various workshops on, for example, shareholder agreements, financing growth, and setting up crowdfunding campaigns.

Reflecting and evolving

There are moments in an entrepreneur’s life when there is a need for reflection rather than concrete, immediate action. For example, to develop people skills or to determine the direction you want to steer your company. And these phases can even occur in the first few years of an entrepreneurial project. Training programs also help meet these needs.

The École d’entrepreneurship de Beauce offers the Emergence program for entrepreneurs who would like to develop their leadership skills. It was developed for people who have been in business for a few years and already have employees or would like to hire some in the near future, as well as for young entrepreneurs identified as successors in the company and who hold management positions.

For its part, Initiative intrapreneuriale in Montréal offers an entrepreneurial program that supports two generations of entrepreneurs during the creation of a new business project in twelve weeks. The training includes online modules and individual consultations with experts.

Still pursuing your studies?

If this is the case, and you already know you’d like to start a business, several options are available to get you started.

Universities and management schools have developed several programs and specializations in entrepreneurship.

Moreover, HEC Montréal created the Rémi-Marcoux Entrepreneurial Course to help students hone their entrepreneurial skills by developing a business idea over the course of six months. Students from Université de Montréal and Polytechnique Montréal also have access to this program.

In Québec City, in addition to its accredited programs, provides its budding entrepreneurs access to the services of the Centre for Entrepreneurship and SMEs, which offers supplementary training programs and tools for those who want to start a business.

Several universities offer programs associated with their business incubators. This is the case for with District 3 that offers free programs for entrepreneurs.

And the options aren’t limited to urban centres! On its Lévis campus in Chaudière-Appalaches, where many entrepreneurs can be found, Université du Québec à Rimouski offers a concentration in entrepreneurship in its undergraduate program in administration.

Even cegeps have joined the trend. Several have developed supplemental courses and programs with an entrepreneurial focus. For example, within the framework of its sports-studies program, Limoilou Cegep in Québec City offers an entrepreneurial option.

Champlain Regional College in Saint-Lambert even offers a comprehensive three-year entrepreneurship program in English.

“This is a new development,” states Michel Leblanc. “Now, even high school students can carry out entrepreneurial projects. Indeed, in Quebec entrepreneurial ambition was 7% in 2011 and has tripled to 21% in 2017. Among young adults, the percentage is even higher, at 42%. In Quebec, entrepreneurship is now a goal to pursue, and that’s a good thing!”

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