By Mike Anderson

With Canadian business insolvencies hitting a 19-year high, it’s probably a good time for new and aspiring entrepreneurs to think about how to bulletproof their business.

That’s one of the goals of Entrepreneurism in Georgina, a free seminar series hosted by the Skills Training Centre in Sutton.

The series is the brainchild of Toronto lawyer Alan Direnfeld, who has assembled a lineup of accomplished speakers who are experts in their respective fields.

You’ll be able to learn the ins and outs of running a successful business, with a focus on tax and accounting, business law, digital marketing, and branding. And the best part: it’s all free.

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While Direnfeld says there are other providers in town, like York University’s YSpace, his seminar series offers something unique.

“We offer information that I think is not offered by others. This is not a self-learning course. This is, you come, and we teach you. We will come prepared. You come to listen,” Direnfeld said.

“It’s not like offering them resources and saying, here’s a bunch of videos or stuff online you can click and read. We assume that people need us to be proactive for them and get the most of the information we will provide.”

According to Direnfeld, his second edition of the seminar series builds on the success of last year’s initial series, adding topics like cybersecurity, digital marketing and branding.

“Imagine you get to meet with two lawyers. You get to meet a charted accountant, a Quickbooks expert, a cybersecurity expert and people who create business plans for a living,” he said.

“We’ve also added a digital marketing expert, someone who is unbelievably imaginative. We have these fantastic branding guys. And we’ve brought back some of the most popular people.”

Direnfeld says that while there’s something for everyone, the series is a must for anyone considering starting a business or growing their home-based business.

“A lot of the entrepreneurs you see in Georgina are service providers—people with skills. They don’t have the money to set up a bricks-and-mortar location, and nor do they need it,” he said.

“But they need to get their name out. They need a good vehicle and equipment. And they need to get out there and deliver service.”

Still, Direnfeld stresses that’s just the beginning. Entrepreneurs must follow the proper steps to remain viable and grow their businesses.

“What keeps you there and keeps you safe is understanding tax and accounting, the legal aspects of establishing and operating a business, and how to manage employees, hiring and perhaps letting them go,” he said.

According to Direnfeld, many new entrepreneurs don’t understand legal liability, which could cost them not just their business but their homes.

“I’m shocked at how many people go into business without insurance. If there’s an accident or your product fails and injures someone, you will pay the bill personally because you don’t have coverage,” he said.

“People don’t understand the little things like insurance, leases, incorporation, and how to limit liability exposure. They don’t get it.”

“If you’re not prepared and not planning to succeed, you’re essentially planning to fail. And the lack of planning is part of the problem.”

While Direnfeld doesn’t want to discourage people from pursuing their dreams, he adds they must approach entrepreneurship cautiously.

“Part of the purpose of the course is to let some people know they may not be ready to do this,” he said.

“They shouldn’t put their money at risk; they shouldn’t put their families at risk. But, we can help them to prepare for next year.”

The series runs from March 20 to May 24, on Wednesday evenings from 7 to 9 p.m. You can participate virtually via Zoom or in person at the Skills Training Centre at 5207 Baseline Rd.

To register for the free seminar series, visit www.skillsc.ca.

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