MIRAMICHI – NBCC’s community mentorship program OASIS, pioneered in Miramichi, recently reached a significant milestone, matching its 100th pair of experienced professionals and emerging entrepreneurs.
Among those 100 matches is the relationship between Mike Richardson, owner of an eCommerce agency serving clients across North America, and Chad Dunn, whose Peak Performance Fitness Centre is helping an aging, increasingly sedentary population stay healthy.
OASIS connects small businesses facing unique challenges (mentees) with experienced entrepreneurs (mentors) to provide them with the support, resources and guidance necessary to explore their entrepreneurial goals through tactical mentorship activities. The significant social and economic impact of OASIS in helping small business grow is consistent with NBCC’s goal of transforming lives and communities.
For Richardson, the decision to get involved with OASIS was an easy one.
“I’ve worked in a lot of fields – engineering, government and now eCommerce – and I did most of it without a mentor,” said Richardson. “I know the challenges of trying to do things alone and without any support.”
NBCC launched the OASIS program in 2014 as a way to connect entrepreneurial recent graduates with more experienced alumni. OASIS was piloted in Miramichi, with eight mentor/mentee matches. Miramichi’s entrepreneurial spirit and engaged community groups made it a natural fit for OASIS. The overwhelming success of the pilot led to NBCC offering the program in other campus communities, including Saint John, Moncton and Fredericton, and opening it up to all business owners, rather than just alumni.
Richardson moved to Miramichi a couple of years ago, and with OASIS firmly established in the community by then, it didn’t take long for him to hear good things about it.
“I heard about this mentor program and I did some research on it and it just seemed like a good fit,” he said. “It seemed like a good thing to do, to dive in and help somebody with all the things I wish I’d had help with.”
Dunn, who is Richardson’s first mentee, got involved with OASIS for guidance and support in marketing and strategic planning. Like many small business owners, Dunn found it difficult to balance all the different demands of operating a small business.
“You think you can do it all, you can go non-stop,” he said. “But you soon realize there is so much more involved than you thought. You can’t do it all.”
He started exploring the possibility of hiring a mentor to help, but the expense was too great. Then he learned about the OASIS program, which is offered at no cost to participants. Richardson is his second mentor through OASIS.
“Those 12 weeks with a mentor helped my business grow so much,” said Dunn. “I would recommend OASIS to anyone. It’s there, it’s available, you should take advantage of it.”
For further information about OASIS, please visit www.nbcc.ca/oasis.
With over 90 programs and six campuses across New Brunswick, NBCC is a provincially recognized post-secondary institution renowned for producing skilled, knowledgeable college graduates. NBCC offers students full-time concentrated study periods in one- and two-year certificate and diploma programs. For more information, visit: www.nbcc.ca.
Communications Coordinator, NBCC