MEET THE MAKERS: ASHLEY

Meet the Makers is a series of interviews to help you get to know the people who are building our community. Ashely is our new Operations Assistant.

Why did you join Yukonstruct?

I joined Yukonstruct because there is so much opportunity! I love learning and trying new things, so having the opportunity to do that while working as an operations assistant feels perfect for me.

What do you like to make?

I love making jam and friends. I like making mitts, slippers, and jewelry when I have the patience for it! It is so rewarding to work with fur and leather but it isn’t always the easiest.

What do you want to build at Yukonstruct?

I’m interested in the metal shop! I’ve never tried working with metal before and I’d love to learn how. I think it would be so cool to make an ulu, just like my Ittuq (grandfather) used to. I have a few uluit that he made for my anaana (mother), and she gave them to me as a gift a few years ago.

What inspires you?

My culture inspires me most. I try to incorporate Inuit values in my art and ways of doing, which makes it even more fun to share with others.

What do you like the most in the space? Why?

I love the wide range of makers, entrepreneurs, and handypersons! Having these skills in a concentrated space allows for so much creativity so I’m looking forward to getting to know the folks that create this ambitious environment.

Startup Bootcamp Called: Women Answered

Yukonstruct welcomed their newest Startup Bootcamp cohort with a live streamed event at NorthLight Innovation that combined both in-person introductions (at a safe distance apart) and zoom-in attendees. The event was the first opportunity for the participants in this fall’s cohort to meet one another and for the public to get their first glimpse of the businesses they may soon get to experience themselves.  

A third cohort driven by women with IMPACT

10 businesses will take part in our third Startup Bootcamp to date. Among the things that make this cohort stand out from previous Bootcamps is how well it reflects the realities of entrepreneurship in the Yukon. Of the 12 founders enrolled in the program, 11 are women. In the Yukon, 43.7% of businesses are owned by women, while nationwide that number shrinks to just 16%.  Another exciting direction this cohort has taken is the nature of the businesses being explored are almost all experiential businesses that will directly impact the community. Think experiential bakeries, an antique shop, a Play Emporium, just to name a few.  These are businesses that will bring happy outings and experiences to the community. 

Now more than ever, work-life balance is important. The Startup Bootcamp program puts the individual behind the business first.

Each program is designed to meet the needs of its current cohort, so while everyone walks away with the same knowledge, they are delivered in a manner that best suits the unique requirements of the participants. Using a combination of theory, practice, and guest speakers, the program imparts fundamental knowledge to building a successful business. Each participant will be equipped with a thorough understanding of topics such as:

  • Customer Discovery
  • Sales Fundamentals
  • Marketing
  • How to Develop your Team and Talent
  • Attracting and Securing Capital and Financing

Though there is much substantive ground covered in the program, what Yukonstruct is most proud of is the holistic approach they take in ushering these budding entrepreneurs into careers with a healthy, balanced mindset. By connecting the founders with professional coaches and mentors, the participants get the benefit of the acquired wisdom from experienced entrepreneurs and the emotional support required to handle the ups and downs inherent to starting your own business. Access to professional and life coaches and experienced mentors is one of the pillars of the Bootcamp. 

Yukonstruct’s in-house facilitator of the Startup Bootcamp, William Lechuga, shares his excitement about this approach, “I think something really special about the Bootcamp this fall is that we are offering coaching for this cohort, and that is a tremendous perk, but more importantly it speaks to our values to humanize businesses and to care for the person behind the business. I think Yukoners, and Canadians overall, will be happy to hear our program has embedded coaching to ensure the people who are changing the landscape of our communities with their businesses are being set up for professional and personal success.”

The Bootcamp started as a combination of in-person and online classes but has temporarily moved to an exclusively online program. This is the third Bootcamp to run since the program was introduced one year ago. A total of 16 companies have now graduated and the current cohort is slated to graduate this winter. With all the inspiring success stories already piling up, demand for the Bootcamp continues to grow. The success of this program can be seen in the growth in alumni businesses like Grandma Treesaw’s Yukon Bannock, Cold Acre Food Systems, YukonGrow, DiscoVelo, Two Mile Asset Management, and YZED projects.

The next iteration of the Startup Bootcamp will begin in March 2021. With a focus on STEM companies, you can expect to see a lot of buzz around the ideas being explored in that cohort. Registration will open late November 2020.