CORNER BROOK Adam Anderson admits he knew little about business when he first walked through the doors at the Navigate Entrepreneurship Centre five years ago.
Formerly Gateway West, the centre is part of the Navigate program which assists students and staff at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University and the College of the North Atlantic in promoting and creating businesses on the west coast.
With centres at both campuses, the program has helped create 37 businesses and 87 full and part-time jobs over the last eight years.
One such entrepreneur is Anderson, the president and CEO of Resource Innovations Inc, a local forest management and planning company.
Anderson delivered an address as part of an open house at Grenfell Friday which was designed to give the public an idea about the success of the program. The event was part of the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada series of similar events across the country around the theme of Open Doors, Open Knowledge.
He said he turned to the program after earning a bachelor of science in forestry five years ago at a time when he and business partner Peter Yates were looking to start a business in the city.
Through meeting with former Navigate program manager Mike Jackson, he said he was able to develop a business plan, learn such essentials as budgeting and time management, and to focus his ideas to solidify a sound strategy for future success.
“Navigate is not about doing the work for the entrepreneur,” Anderson said. “It’s about guiding and navigating the entrepreneur to do the work themselves and providing the resources for that person to succeed.
“There’s not a time when the door was closed to me. Navigate is there to answer any questions and provide any resource.”
Since those early days, Anderson has seen his business grow to such an extent that he currently has five full-time and two-part time staff in Corner Brook and expects to have staff working at an office in Ontario by 2013.
The company has done over 100 consulting projects including watershed management plans, socio-economic impact analysis as well as assessment work with the proposed development at Muskrat Falls.
He said the program provided him with the tools and contacts to succeed and said Navigate is doing “amazing” work for entrepreneurs in western Newfoundland.
“The best way I can sum it up is that it’s been a rewarding struggle,” he said with a laugh. “I attribute a lot of the company’s success to the involvement with Navigate. I can honestly say my business would not be where it is today without that program.”
Also during the open house, remarks were given by such people as Humber West MHA Vaughn Granter and Grenfell Vice-President Dr. Mary Bluechardt.
Bluechardt referred to the program as a champion of students, faculty and staff at both institutions and lauded it for allowing new businesses owners to make a mark locally.
“It’s my sense that the alumni of Navigate overwhelmingly attribute their successes to the foundation provided by the centre,” she said. “These navigators are truly examples of leaders, inspirers, adventurers, energizers that Grenfell Campus and the College of the North Atlantic is very proud to support.”
For more information, visit the program’s website at www.navigatesmallbusiness.ca