Brock program ready to help develop ideas of young Niagara entrepreneurs

Bailey Cochrane had the business idea, but it was a boost from BioLinc that helped take it from concept to reality.

The fourth-year Bachelor of Business Administration student in Brock University’s Goodman School of Business knew he wanted to design an online resource for people who were interested in Ontario wine.

Through his participation in BioLinc’s Kick-Starting Entrepreneurship Program, he was able to transform the vision for Stocked Cellars into an operating online business. Although this wasn’t Cochrane’s first time starting a company, the program gave him resources that built on his previous knowledge and helped him step outside his comfort zone.

“It allowed me to conceptualize exactly how I wanted to go about starting a technology company,” he said.

Kick-Starting Entrepreneurship Program BioLinc Co-ordinator Cassie Price.

Stocked Cellars was designed as a technology resource that aims to understand Ontario wine consumers, provides customers resources to help them make purchase decisions and acts as an alternative to traditional wine retail.

Cochrane envisions next adding a virtual reality experience to the website where consumers can be transported to Niagara wine country from their computer screen.

The Kick-Starting Entrepreneurship Program is in its fifth year after helping more than 150 young entrepreneurs in the past. Niagara residents between the ages of 18 and 29 with an early-stage business idea are encouraged to submit an application by the Friday, Sept. 21 deadline.

“The program helps young entrepreneurs determine if this is a viable career path for them,” said Program Manager and BioLinc Co-ordinator Cassie Price. “If they find out entrepreneurship isn’t for them, we can teach them other ways they can be innovative in their career path.”

Up to 35 young entrepreneurs will have access to monthly seminars and training, mentorship, networking events, advisory services and funding opportunities.

“They don’t have to have more than an idea. We can work with them to help them grow that and expand,” Price said. “As they go through the program, they can determine if their idea is viable and if it’s something they want to pursue.”

Cochrane encourages potential applicants not to hold back from applying if they think that their business idea isn’t polished enough.

“Even when you think your business isn’t at a stage in which you could go through an entrepreneurial program like this, it is,” he said.

“All you need is an idea and this program will help you formulate that idea into potentially a real business.”

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