The purpose of the self-guided Business Kit is to provide inspiration and useful items to anyone beginning the journey of entrepreneurship in Hastings County and looking to work with our Small Business Coordinator for one-on-one coaching. We developed worksheets that make starting a business more engaging by promoting creative thinking and using brainstorming techniques to generate in-depth business discussions.
To complement the exercises, the kit contains items that support the daily life of a new entrepreneur such as a calculator, notebook, and pen. A bear-shaped stress ball, tea, mug, and wildflower seed paper in the shape of Canadian currency were all selected for inclusion to align with our rural theme “Wildly Authentic”.
Effectiveness / Meeting Objectives
The business kits have been effective in helping business owners to gain clarity on their goals, organize their thought processes, plan ahead, and to prepare for possible obstacles they may face. This is made approachable by encouraging creativity and reframing what could be considered intimidating and overwhelming for new entrepreneurs using traditional business planning processes.
We have distributed 30+ kits since their launch in April of 2023 and we aim to distribute 100 kits within a year. We will gather feedback continuously as they are distributed to iterate and improve future versions of the kit.
Challenges & Changes
We have had great success in the production of these. We came up with the concept and content in-house and worked with a talented local graphic designer, Shevon Segouin, as well as designing some elements in-house. We worked with local companies to source the giveaway items and businesses have been thrilled to receive them.
The challenges faced were primarily in content creation when deciding how much content to include, giving enough inspiration to move forward but not too much to overwhelm business owners. This challenge also provides an opportunity to create future tools to help guide the next phase of business development.
These are targeted at new and aspiring business owners of all ages with no prior business experience to kick off conversations about their business concept with our Small Business Coordinator. However, they can be useful to existing businesses looking to shift or expand into unknown territory and those in need of creative thinking prompts.
The kits are gender neutral and use accessible language with minimal business jargon. The snakes and ladders inspired game was chosen for its multi-generational appeal. Supporting objects are hyper-local to create a feeling of belonging within our rural environment.
Awards Category Details
We are entering this for an award in the category of Promotional Item as it has been created to enhance our economic activities by promoting our free and confidential Business Coaching service.
Many of the items were made from recycled material. The calculator is made from corn starch, the seed paper is made from recycled material and is bio-degradable, and the notebooks are made with recycled cardboard.
Video Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VwSDw8BXzb0 (private link)