Centennial course helps first-time businesses

An expert in starting up a business, says most prospective business owners need to start with a question directed at themselves.

The Story Arts Centre at the East York campus of Centennial College will stage a workshop called The Accelerating Entrepreneurs and Leaders (ACCEL) program on Sept. 28. One of the ACCEL business coaches, David Cowdery, believes the whole process starts by asking a key question.

“I ask them all the same question, ‘When was the last time you bought or paid for the thing you are about to do?’” he said. “If they say, ‘Never,’ then we need to think about it.”

Next week’s ACCEL workshop invites anyone age 18 to 29, who wants to work on a planed business, to register. But in fact, registrants need not be Centennial students. ACCEL program co-ordinator Jennifer Mcllroy explained the process for joining the workshop.

“We will have an initial discussion to find out if they want to go any further,” she said. “Then they will be invited to workshops or to one-on-one sessions, depending on where they are at in their business cycle.”

ACCEL is sponsored by the Ontario government through Ontario Centres of Excellence, a free consulting service for young entrepreneurs. ACCEL is designed to help potential businesspeople cope with the difficulties they are going to face after the business starts.

Mcllroy explained that young entrepreneurs sometimes stop sooner than those with previous experience, “because it’s the first time they’ve experienced,” she said, “but there’s less fearfulness in them too,”

ACCEL has already assisted such businesses as The Come Up Show, Detailing Knights and Ko Fung Martial Arts get up and running.

Prospective ACCEL registrants are welcome to register online at anytime. The next ACCEL workshop will be held in room 105 at 1 p.m. on Sept. 28, at the Story Arts Centre.