Business Basics to Transform Your Trade

Date posted: 
Fri, 12/01/2017
Transform Your Trade

This winter, Red Deer College will be hosting two opportunities for people in the trades with the Business Basics for the Tradesperson Seminar and Transform Your Trade, a Dragon’s Den-style event where competitor’s pitch their ideas for trades-focused businesses. This is the third year RDC has offered each of these events, which have proven to be valuable and informative for trades entrepreneurs.

The Business Basics for the Tradesperson Seminar is a one-day event, where people working in the trades can learn about foundational items that are essential for small business owners. The event will be offered on January 13, 2018, and is provided at no cost for participants. Topics will include legal structure and risk management, tax and accounting, employment, sales and marketing and small business finance. A panel discussion focused on starting a business in challenging times will also provide opportunities for attendees to ask questions of experienced entrepreneurs.

For local people looking to further refine their business ideas, the Transform Your Trade competition provides an opportunity to prepare a business plan and present it to local business leaders, all for the chance to win $5,000 toward starting a small business. The competition, which will take place on March 3, 2018, is open to anyone with a business idea to enhance a trade, and the individuals with the top five proposals will make presentations to a panel of judges. The event is sponsored by local philanthropists, Jack and Joan Donald.

“Many people working in the trades start their own businesses, but they aren’t necessarily trained to run a business,” says Jack Donald. “In my last year of my apprenticeship program, I took a course in business law, which was offered on a trial basis, and it was invaluable for my career. Joan and I believe that knowledge about running a business is essential for people to have success, and that’s why we’re very supportive of this event.”

Their support includes the $5,000 prize, which they’ve committed to sponsoring for two more years, as well as business expertise and mentorship for the individual with the winning proposal. Local entrepreneur, Barry Hickey, was the winner of last year’s Transform Your Trade event, where he presented his business plan for Scent of Metal Automotive Inc. Hickey, a Red Seal Automotive Technician with 17 years of experience, was looking to take his career to the next level by opening his own business and felt that the prize and mentorship opportunities would be valuable to help him achieve this.

To help this year’s Transform Your Trade participants prepare for the event, competitors will have support in a few different ways. One is they will have the opportunity to partner with students to develop the business proposals. “This is a great example of collaboration and learning, with students from the Donald School of Business working with local tradespeople to help them develop viable business plans,” says Darcy Mykytyshyn, Dean, Donald School of Business. “It’s a practical learning opportunity that has benefits for everyone involved.” 

As another form of support, anyone competing in Transform Your Trade must have participated in the Business Basics Seminar, either this year or in past years. “We feel this is the best way to help these individuals achieve success – not just in the competition, but in planning for their future businesses,” says Joel Gingrich, Dean, School of Trades and Technologies.

People interested in participating in Business Basics for the Tradesperson and Transform Your Trade are encouraged to be aware of the upcoming dates and deadlines for the events:

December 15, 2017:   Expression of Interest registration deadline for Transform Your Trade
January 13, 2018:   Trades Business Basics Seminar (required for Transform Your Trade)
January 26, 2018:   Submission deadline for Transform Your Trade
February 2, 2018:   Final five contestants notified for Transform Your Trade
March 3, 2018:   Transform Your Trade

For further details, visit or

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For additional information contact:

Shelley Newman
Communications Strategist – Corporate