October marked the start of Ag-West Bio’s new Beyond Entrepreneurship: Building an Agri-Value Business training program, developed and managed by Ag-West Bio with funding from the ABIC Foundation

Entrepreneurs from 10 Saskatchewan companies gathered (virtually and in person) on October 14th for the first of five workshops in Module 2: Building Entrepreneurial Leadership. 

This module is designed to help established agri-food entrepreneurs, with a proven market beyond local, to grow a resilient company capable of pivoting in these uncharted times – and contributing to the economic health of the province. Five one-day workshops cover key strategic areas of business: leadership; sales and brand assessment; financing for growth; human resources; and success in changing times.

An application process determines who can participate in the program. The companies must be Saskatchewan based (or production must occur here); have been operating a minimum of two years; market products beyond Saskatchewan; and have written strategic or business plans. 

Participants also receive access to online learning resources (including videos and podcasts); individual coaching and mentoring with subject-specific experts (strategy, branding, sales, HR, etc.); and receive business and finance coaching from Ag-West Bio’s coaches.

Bev Stangeland, Ag-West Bio’s Director of Industry Relations, developed the program with Mary Ellen Hodgins and Gayle Palas of Grounded Strategies, who facilitate the workshops. 

Stangeland says “Saskatchewan has many entrepreneurs in the value-added food space. We wanted to provide a program that helps them meet the challenges of an evolving landscape. We are excited to work with and support companies as they navigate these changes, by offering them an opportunity to develop their strategic skills.”

The concept of Building Entrepreneurial Leadership sprang from the success of the Agri-Value Training Program that Stangeland ran last year. Participants’ comments attest to the value they found in the program:

“Thank you so much for this amazing training program. I’ve learned so much and this will help my business immensely.”

“I just wanted to personally thank each one of you for doing such a terrific job on the Ag-West Bio program. I am truly blessed to have been part of this program, and to have such great leadership spokespersons as yourself to have mentored me.”

“I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed yesterday’s Workshop and how useful I found all of the information shared.”

The October 14th workshop concluded with a passionate and inspiring presentation by Scott Armstrong, managing partner at Mind Switch. The second workshop in this module will be held on November 26th.


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