Edmonton’s public library now offering free help to budding entrepreneurs

The Edmonton Public Library has partnered with Innovate Edmonton on a new program encouraging local entrepreneurs to innovate.

Innovation U: An Entrepreneurship Series is made up of four courses that teach the fundamentals of entrepreneurship. Free to everyone, it will be available until Oct. 6.

Catherine Warren, CEO of Innovate Edmonton, which was created by city council to promote home-grown innovation, is EPL’s first innovator in residence.

Innovation is not limited to technology, Warren told CBC Edmonton’s Radio Active.

It can include cultural, social, sustainable innovation and exists across different sectors of society. It is “a significant positive change that can happen in every field,” she said.

“There has never been a more important time to innovate as a society, as a planet,” she said. “We’re saying take advantage of all that Edmonton has to offer to achieve your innovation potential.”

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Radio Active7:42Edmonton Public Library Innovator in Residence

Innovate Edmonton CEO Catherine Warren may be able to steer you in the right direction about how to get started. She’s the new Edmonton Public Library innovator in residence.

In a statement, EPL CEO Pilar Martinez welcomed Warren to the role.

“There is a culture of innovation in Edmonton including at EPL, and we are looking forward to Catherine sharing her collaborative vision and invaluable knowledge in this role,” Martinez said.

The series is part of EPL’s Life Skills Classes. There are no education requirements.

The entrepreneurship series draws concepts from Innovate Edmonton’s foundation program for entrepreneurs but is designed to appeal to a wider audience.

Courses focus on idea generation, creating a one-page business plan, design thinking and perfecting pitching skills.

They can be taken in sequence or as standalone classes.

Aspiring entrepreneurs can meet with Warren for advice, guidance and feedback on their projects at the Stanley A. Milner Library downtown.

“I really think of innovation as a gateway to entrepreneurship. It’s a gateway to performance, to creativity,” Warren said. “Innovation thinking is a pathway to success.”

Entrepreneurs have access to courses in the free program until October. (Jason Franson / The Canadian Press)

And according to her, the time to innovate is now. Global challenges such as climate change, public health issues and food security encourage ingenuity.

“Innovation in Edmonton will benefit from public involvement. It will benefit from diverse innovators, people of all stripes that really want to make an impact and prepare themselves for the future,” she said.

“All of us have the potential to innovate with impact,”

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