Conestoga’s Gig Lab hosted a showcase in December to introduce and celebrate its fall 2020 cohort -- a group of 12 freelance entrepreneurs who presented their new ventures in the areas of creative, business and technology services. The first of its kind in Canada, the Gig Lab is tailored to address the business model needs of the growing number of freelance entrepreneurs. The 15-week program is delivered through the Conestoga Entrepreneurship Collective (CEC) and designed to equip new and early-stage freelancers with the skills, mindsets and tools to succeed in the gig economy.
Open to Conestoga students and recent graduates, the program features one-on-one coaching with seasoned freelancers, weekly instructional sessions and access to a network of industry mentors to help build the foundations of a sustainable freelance business.
Kate Bradfield, a graduate of the Graphic Design advanced diploma program, was introduced to the CEC through her program coordinator. She was part of the Gig Lab’s fall cohort and participated in the freelance showcase to introduce her business Field & Co. Creative -- a graphic design studio that works with companies in the health, wellness and beauty industries who share Bradfield’s commitment to social responsibility.
“My key takeaways from Gig Lab were related to marketing and sales. These are two areas that I was not experienced in before and now I feel confident using the tools the Gig Lab gave me to market my business and sell my product. Another takeaway was to always advocate for my business and myself,” said Bradfield. “The Gig Lab gave me more confidence in my business and gave me a network of mentors and fellow entrepreneurs that will be able to support me throughout my freelance career. This is so important, especially in Waterloo Region, where networking is so abundantly helpful.”
During the showcase, Bradfield and the other Gig Lab participants presented their freelance ventures which range from graphic design to strategic storytelling, software development to presentation design and digital marketing.
“Solopreneurs like Kate are a critical part of the entrepreneurship ecosystem,” said Rose Mastnak, director, Conestoga Entrepreneurship Collective. “They create employment for themselves as well as support other businesses in the region with their professional skills.”
Visit profiles for the Gig Lab’s second cohort:
- Kate Bradfield, graphic design
- Sarah Church, traditional & digital publisher
- Sarah Comeau, content creator, luxury food & drink
- Alyssa Garoffa, graphic designer, UI/UX designer
- Tanner Garniss-Marsh, graphic designer
- Drew Hoffer, software developer
- Myung Kim, academic consultant
- Joel Malleck, software developer
- Laura MacNeil, strategic storyteller, creative director
- Prabhjot Singh, digital marketer
- Tiera Taylor, presentation designer
- Trent Thompson, software developer
The Conestoga Entrepreneurship Collective is a network of faculty, coaches, mentors, entrepreneurs, community leaders and organizations committed to supporting the entrepreneurial potential within the college community. CEC provides a variety of services that include business incubation in the Venture Lab, experiential education co-ops and interactive workshops.
This winter, the CEC will offer free virtual workshops for current students, employees and graduates. View detailed descriptions for each Scotiabank Start-up Students workshop online and register through Continuing Education.