In a new mentoring pilot program, the Canadian Construction Association (CCA) plans to connect entrepreneurs with industry leaders.
Association officials anticipate the program could help push the industry forward by boosting innovation.
The pilot matches up and coming entrepreneurs working on construction related technology with a mentor who will assist them in honing their idea.
“One of the biggest challenges is affordable access to potential customers to vet the concepts or test the products,” said CCA president Mary Van Buren of new entrepreneurs.
“Having early constructive feedback can result in a better product or solution that gets to market faster.”
In an emailed statement to the Daily Commercial News, Van Buren explained that the idea for the program sprung from the CCA’s new strategic plan developed in the fall of 2017.
“Given the many challenges the industry faces to be competitive in both Canada and against international firms, we need to improve our productivity,” said Van Buren.
“Secondly, we are also facing a significant workforce shortage. We therefore created a new mission to ‘Inspire a progressive, innovative and sustainable construction industry that consistently acts with integrity.’ We also defined one of our values as innovative. We are open to building our business practices and share this passion for innovation with members.”
The entrepreneurs are sourced from the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP).
A form is sent to the CCA to see if it can find interested mentors.
Van Buren explained the CCA has a nine-person advisory committee that can suggest relevant mentors.
They include board members from Canadian Construction Innovations as well as from the CCA.
The association then reaches out to the local association to organize a meeting and finalize mentors, based on their interest.
“Our intention is that by connecting entrepreneurs with industry leaders, we will raise the profile overall of innovation and secondly, help innovative ideas get adopted more quickly. We are appreciative of the support that IRAP is providing,” said Van Buren.
Van Buren said in her own career mentors have helped introduce her to a broader network, championed her to senior leadership and coached her to improve her skills.
She now helps other women achieve success, serving as a member of the Women Get on Board program which empowers women to corporate boards.
“I hope that this program becomes a cornerstone of CCA’s innovation strategy, sparking new ideas, engaging more members and ultimately, demonstrating that the industry is innovative,” said Van Buren.
“Our industry is working toward attracting a more diverse and tech-savvy workforce. The more that STEM and young workers see the connection between technology, innovation and creating the communities of the future, the more likely we will be able to attract them.”
The mentoring pilot program will run until March 31.
Firms interested in participating can contact the CCA at firstname.lastname@example.org.