Back to school for grown-ups

COTR and Mountain Hub offering courses for adults this fall

Children and youth aren’t the only ones sharpening their pencils and heading back to school this fall. With the Mountain Hub Academy launching courses for entrepreneurs and the College of the Rockies (COTR) releasing a new set of continuing education classes, grown-ups can also get back to putting their brains to the test.

“You should never ever stop learning in any capacity, no matter how old you get. People always have the ability to learn more, whether it is a little bit more on the academic side of it or it’s learning new hobbies that are fun,” said Michelle Taylor, acting COTR campus manager.

Compared to learning through Google or YouTube, she said showing up in person to learn something new is also a way to connect with others and form friendships with like-minded people.

Matchmaking students with classes

Michele Wall, program coordinator for the campus, is the COTR matchmaker who connects students with the teachers and topics that spark their interests.

“You get to know people and then you ask what their passion is and then you ask if they would share it with the community. Everything here is all relationship driven. And then we listen to what people tell us of what they would like to see and we take that really seriously,” she said.

A quarter of the fall continuing education classes are new this year, and she’s excited about all the opportunities for those who want to keep their brains growing.

“I think that by learning, you keep engaged and active and interested and curious for knowledge, and that knowledge gives you purpose,” she said. “We need that in this world in order to grow old and be happy.”

This fall students can learn how to make cream puffs and eclairs, speak Spanish or operate a chainsaw. They can take a course on how to grow cannabis indoors or try woodworking or beading. There’s a buffet of cooking classes from Indian to Italian to holiday sweets.

Students can also learn self defence or mindful leadership or how to make their own plant medicine, lotions and potions.

The campus is offering two free financial literacy courses. One is for parents to teach their kids about money and the other is a course for female entrepreneurs.

Not understanding personal finances “seems to be a growing social problem,” Ms. Wall said, adding that she’s pleased to see programming directly addressing needs in the community.

To check out all the fall programming, which also includes business and computer classes, a speaker series, First Aid training and more, visit www.cotr.bc.ca/invermere/ or check out COTR’s new program guide.

Ms. Wall has only one request: please pre-register so she can let the instructors know that the classes will proceed.

“The Valley community is always last minute,” she said. “If you’re interested, sign up so that we can run the program.”

Education for entrepreneurs

Megan Adams, a serial entrepreneur who started the Mountain Hub a year ago, is launching Mountain Hub Academy this fall to help small-business owners climb to new heights.

“It’s for the small business owner that is running a business that they love, that is their passion, who feels like they have some blind spots and need some extra support and they don’t know where to turn to get that support and they don’t have the money to hire an advisor,” she said.

“It’s important for businesses to go back to school because the learning never stops when you run a business, and when you’re in this continual evolution you’re always needing to learn new skills, new tools and new knowledge to support that business.”

It’s common for entrepreneurs to get caught up in triage or self doubt and lose sight of the big picture, she said.

“How do you build confidence, how do you feel supported, how do you feel empowered in running a business or taking a next step? It’s getting together in a group of like-minded people and working through the problems that you have together. It’s moving that small business owner from feeling really isolated and not knowing where to go to get this information to feeling really empowered and confident,” she said.

This fall Mountain Hub Academy is offering small, medium and big bites of knowledge on five business topics: getting set up online; website development; social media marketing; email marketing; and accounting for small businesses.

“It is a classroom environment, but I think there’s going to be a lot of masterminding, a lot of brainstorming, a lot of networking that inherently goes on when you put people together,” she said. “We’re creating a space for that collaboration.”

For a taster, the Mountain Hub is offering Lunch and Learn classes on each of the subjects. Those wanting to wade a little deeper can sign up for the introductory courses. And those keen on jumping right in can take the intensive courses as one-offs or register for the Small Business Booster program to take them all.

“We have instructors teaching the classes that are really phenomenal, that are experts in their industry,” she said. “They’re all small business owners that are just as passionate as I am about supporting small business owners.”

Ms. Adams cares more about entrepreneurs getting the knowledge and solutions they need than she does about their tuition, which – for non-members – ranges from $20 for a Lunch and Learn to $895 for the full Small Business Booster.

“A lot of times the price tag is a little bit scary for people, and I totally understand that… I’ve been that person. I’ve been a small business owner for over 10 years in various different businesses. Money has been a limiting factor for me when I was first starting out, and it doesn’t feel very good,” she said. “I really want people to know that if they feel they can’t afford to take these classes to reach out and we can make it work.”

Options include looking into available grants, setting up a payment plan or contributing volunteer hours.

“I guarantee you if they take this class, they’ll be able to afford it next time or pay it forward,” she said.

For more information, go to www.mountainhub.ca/academy or email Ms. Adams at megan@mountainhub.ca.

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