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  • NORTH FORGE SMARTPARK

    WINNIPEG

    President: Teresa Dukes

    441 – 100 Innovation Drive
    Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 6G2• P: 204-262-6400

  • North Forge | East

    PINAWA

    President: Shane Li

    24 Aberdeen Avenue
    Pinawa, Manitoba R0E 1L0 • P: 204-262-6400

  • Fabrication Lab

    WINNIPEG

    Vice-President: Marney Stapley

    3rd Floor, 125 Adelaide Street
    Winnipeg, Manitoba R3A 0W4 • P: 204-799-2033

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North Forge Mentor Profile: Geoff Besko

It is important for any startup to have the proper support network in place, especially during the building and validation stage. The North Forge Startup Program provides participants with a strong cast of mentors to help them as they navigate their way through the ups and downs of a startup. 

One of our very talented mentors, Geoff Besko, President and CEO of Hilltop Business Solutions Inc. took the time to answer a few questions about his role as a mentor and what it means to him. 

What does being a mentor for the North Forge Startup Program entail? 

It means being open-minded and making yourself available to work with startup owners, asking the right questions to challenge them and engage them in improving their business concept/model and helping them overcome challenges. There are a variety of ways to engage in being a mentor with North Forge. I have been doing one-on-one mentoring of companies as well as providing biweekly workshops to stage 1 and 2 companies under the new mentoring format, where we use the diversity of the group to help each startup improve its business model and plans. 

How long have you been mentoring? 

I have been providing mentoring through North Forge for three years and I have been providing business consulting and mentorship to companies for over 20 years. As well, I am the owner of a Manitoba-based management consultancy, Hilltop Business Solutions, that focuses on business transformation where we help companies transform their business models, drive innovation, and support the organizational change.

What makes you qualified to mentor new entrepreneurs?

 In my case, I think my varied background including my experience as a management consultant, CEO of a startup business that we grew and sold to a multi-national company,  leader in raising capital, along with my broad experience across multiple industries, has helped me be an effective mentor. However, all these things aside, the most important attribute is my ability to listen, share the owner’s passion in their business, and be able to ask the right questions to challenge the owner’s thinking to help him or her improve the business or overcome an obstacle. I think a good mentor has a diverse background and experience across multiple industries but, most importantly, can put their own ego aside, truly listen, and ask the right questions without telling the startup owner “what to do” – this is often challenging as experienced business people we can be quick to want to tell someone what we think is “the solution.”

What do you like about mentoring? 

I enjoy sharing the owner’s passion for his/her idea/business and I get great satisfaction from helping them develop and grow their businesses. I also learn a tremendous amount from being a mentor including learning about different industries, challenges, and unique business models which is both very interesting and helps improve my own abilities as a mentor and business owner.

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Startup Spotlight: AMZ Worldwide

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Innovation Hub Tenant Profile: Weatherlogics

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North Forge Mentor Profile: Geoff Besko

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Bell MTS

Bell MTS is part of Canada’s largest telecommunications company, providing Manitobans with Mobile phone, TV, high speed Internet, and Home phone service.

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MNP LLP

MNP is a leading national accounting, tax and business consulting firm in Canada.

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Relish New Brand Experience Inc.

We build strategic, creative and interactive brand experiences on every platform.

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Thompson Dorfman Sweatman

At Thompson Dorfman Sweatman LLP (TDS), we are devoted to serving our valued clients. Our collegial workplace fosters greater teamwork, responsiveness and communication, providing better results for clients.

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Wawanesa

Wawanesa works exclusively with insurance brokers across Canada, offering home, auto, farm and commercial business products.

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Business Development Bank of Canada

BDC is the only bank devoted exclusively to entrepreneurs. We offer financing, venture capital, growth & transition capital and consulting services.

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Deloitte

Get forward-thinking business advice. With over 150 years of experience, Deloitte is one of the leading professional services firms in Canada.

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RBC

Royal Bank of Canada is Canada’s largest bank, and one of the largest banks in the world, based on market capitalization. We are one of North America’s leading diversified financial services companies, and provide personal and commercial banking, wealth management, insurance, investor services and capital markets products and services on a global basis. We have over 80,000 full- and part-time employees who serve more than 16 million personal, business, public sector and institutional clients through offices in Canada, the U.S. and 36 other countries.

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Only NU

Social Media Marketing Company providing innovative experiences that give your business an advantage over competitors.

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CoPilot

We are a team of creators inspired by stories. We use storytelling to produce unique visual content that drives meaningful campaigns. We dedicate resources to strategically design marketing strategies to complement our content, while generating views, impressions and ultimately, conversions.

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Bit Space Development

Bit Space Development Ltd. is an interactive digital media studio that specializes in creating innovative learning experiences for the classroom and workplace. We work with educators and industry professionals from around the world to develop effective solutions for education and training using cutting edge digital media technologies.

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Princess Auto

For more than 85 years, Princess Auto has been supplying trade professionals, home mechanics or people who simply love building things with the tools and equipment they need to figure it out – whatever that “it” may be. With a unique assortment of tools, equipment and products, ranging from hydraulics to welding, Princess Auto complements the home improvement sector rather than competing with it.

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JCV Mechanical

We offer highly skilled service professionals, 24 hour emergency service, preventative maintenance programs, training and emergency rental units. JCV Mechanical offers more than just compressed air products. turn this around and start with JCV mechanical offers more.

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Bockstael

For over 100 years the Bockstael name has been synonymous with construction in Manitoba. From the humble beginnings of a Belgian carpenter, to the fourth generation of family ownership, building is in our blood. We pride ourselves on world-class innovation and a client-first approach to doing business. This is our commitment to serving the province we choose to call home for the next 100 years — and beyond.

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Stu Clark Centre for Entreprenuership

The Stu Clark Centre for Entrepreneurship (SCCE) is here to support entrepreneurial activities across the entire University of Manitoba campus. In addition to supporting students at the I.H. Asper School of Business we also support students from ALL faculties across the University of Manitoba – Fort Garry and Bannatyne Campus including: Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences, Faculty of Science, Faculty of Medicine, Faculty of Education and more!

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Due North Systems

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Go Oil Canada

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SevenOaks School Division

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Maples Met School

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world trade centre winnipeg

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LGD Pinawa

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Canadian Nuclear Laboratories

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Canadian National Energy Alliance

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North Forge Technology Exchange

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SEED - Altona

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Portage Regional Economic Development

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Morden & District Chamber of Commerce

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Morden Community Development Corp

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Community Futures Heartland

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Carman

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Access Credit Union

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Community Futures Winnipeg Rivers

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Barkman Concrete Ltd.

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Pitblado Law

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Pinawa Community Development Corporation

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Canadian Nuclear Laboratories

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Canadian National Energy Alliance

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Western Economic Diversification Canada

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Government of Canada

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City of Winnipeg

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University of Manitoba

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Fabbaloo

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GO Software

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Manitoba Government

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les.net

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