Organizations interested in hiring freelance talent can now connect with Conestoga entrepreneurs through the Gig Marketplace. The new website profiles graduates of the college’s Gig Lab, Canada's first business incubator for freelance entrepreneurs, who offer services ranging from branding and graphic design to software development and search engine optimization.
The Gig Lab is delivered through Conestoga’s Entrepreneurship Collective — a network of faculty, coaches, entrepreneurs, community leaders and organizations committed to supporting the entrepreneurial potential within the Conestoga community. Open to Conestoga students and recent graduates, the Gig Lab features one-on-one coaching, weekly instructional sessions and access to a network of industry mentors to help build the foundations of a sustainable freelance business. Last year, more than 40 freelancers were supported by the lab.
“The Gig Lab is designed to equip new and early-stage freelancers with the skills, mindsets and tools to flourish in the gig economy,” said Rose Mastnak, director, Conestoga Entrepreneurship Collective. “Those who complete the program create employment for themselves and support other businesses in the region with their professional skills. The Gig Marketplace now provides a simple way for organizations to find our freelancers and access the talent they provide.”
Through a strategic partnership, member companies of Catalyst Commons, the largest co-working space in Waterloo Region, will be among the first organizations to connect with freelancers on the Gig Marketplace.
“At both the start-up phase and the scale-up phase, access to the right talent at the right time is critical," said Kurtis McBride, CEO of Kitchener-based Miovision Technologies, and general partner at Catalyst Commons. “The Gig Marketplace is a brilliant idea that connects a network of pre-qualified, talented freelancers from a wide range of skillset background with a growing local need for flexible, scalable access to talent.”
The Conestoga Entrepreneurship Collective empowers and inspires students and alumni to successfully participate in the Waterloo Region entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem by providing multiple pathways for engagement that include developing a new business, becoming a corporate innovator and providing support systems to the ecosystem. In addition to the Gig Lab, the collective also offers programming through the Sales Lab and the Venture Lab.