Are we constantly aware of the direction our entrepreneurial project is taking? Despite the challenges, this past year has provided us with a tremendous opportunity to question the purpose of our organizations and to reaffirm the values that are at the heart of everything we do. The entrepreneurial vision is at the centre of business development and, above all, it provides a solid base to build on so we ensure the sustainability of SMEs—key players in Québec’s economic recovery.
As part of the “Let’s take on the future by pooling our energy” project, we are pleased to present the entrepreneurial vision of two managers who, despite similar realities, have experienced things differently in times of crisis. Both managers were selected and won an Énergir scholarship allowing them to complete the training program at the École d’Entrepreneurship de Beauce.
Issues that influence the business model
In Saint-Georges, in the Chaudière-Appalaches region, Marie Champagne is in her first experience as a manager. As Executive Director of Moisson Beauce, an NPO, she has seen the demand for food services increase dramatically in the last year. This is an unprecedented situation, worsened by the diminishing supply, which has almost completely disappeared. For the first time, Moisson Beauce could no longer provide foodstuffs solely through donations; the organization had to change its business practices and make purchases to meet the community’s crying needs.
In Joliette, Lanaudière, Jean-François Bélisle has been working in the cultural community for over 27 years. As Executive Director of the Musée d’art de Joliette, he aims to perpetuate his institution’s mission despite the context of the pandemic. But how can he do this when COVID-19 has led to the prolonged closure of museums in Québec? During the crisis, managing finances and human resources became more difficult, making it necessary to reinvent the company at the core of the cultural industries. His objective: to better equip himself as a manager in order to build the future of the Musée d’art de Joliette (post-pandemic).
In this context, it is essential to define a clear entrepreneurial vision in order to focus on the objectives to be achieved, identify our allies and be able to pivot in a changing environment. How has the entrepreneurial vision enabled, and continues to enable, managers to navigate through the crisis?
Take the time to grow as a manager
According to Jean-François Bélisle, transforming his business model by refining his entrepreneurial vision was vital. What is the Museum’s purpose without visitors? How can it play an important social role in the community if its doors are closed? He had to find a way to perpetuate his mission with new practices, and he did. He has defined his vision by adapting his digital offer (Quarantined Museum) as well as renewing the ways of doing things, in particular fundraising. To rise as a manager is to look ahead despite potential obstacles, through to a vision built on strategic thinking.
“During this pandemic year and thanks to the École d’Entrepreneurship de Beauce training, I took the time to step back and look at my management reflexes. Meeting other managers, allowing myself to question the usual path taken by my organization and trying new tools . . . all of this has been extremely beneficial because I renewed how I see the future of the Musée d’art de Joliette.”
The Musée d’art de Joliette’s Executive Director noted that the training reminded him of the important conceptual basis of management and entrepreneurship. These are concepts that are easily set aside in the wake of daily activities. Like Marie Champagne, he mentioned that it is important to take a step back so you can clarify your vision and the path you want to take.
For Marie Champagne, the entrepreneurial vision was one the training program’s most revealing themes. Its purpose is all the more important in times of crisis, when everything is prone to change. It is by communicating her entrepreneurial vision that the organization can project itself into the future with new colours. According to Ms. Champagne, “The entrepreneurial vision adds value to the importance of rising as an organization.”
What are the next steps?
Overall, Marie Champagne and Jean-François Bélisle feel ready to initiate strategic planning with their teams and are ready to take concrete actions, as the training has provided them with tools for asserting the direction they wish to give their organizations.
Entrepreneurial visioning tools and exercises are an essential foundation for entrepreneurs. Elevating yourself as a manager and taking the time to find your purpose as an organization are two success factors.
A stimulating path for the Québec economy
To contribute to a fair, equitable and prosperous economic recovery, Énergir has set up a training program with the theme Let’s take on the future, in collaboration with the École d’Entrepreneurship de Beauce. Through this program, 46 participating leaders from across Québec, whose companies and organizations have fewer than 200 employees, benefit from grants that help them to face the challenges of the current economic situation.