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 Jamie Pettit
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From: Friday, May 5, 2017 11:22 AM -0400
Subject:Students Innovate at 3rd ICE Training Day
The third and final Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship (ICE) training day scheduled for the current school year was held at the Bluewater District School Board Education Centre in Chesley on Thursday, April 27, 2017. Approximately 76 Grade 11 and 12 students enrolled in the Specialist High Skills Major (SHSM) program attended from Owen Sound District Secondary School (Hairstyling and Fashion), Walkerton District Community School (Health and Wellness), Peninsula Shores District School in Lion’s Head (Hospitality and Tourism), and John Diefenbaker Senior School in Hanover (Information and Communications Technology).   

ICE training allows SHSM students to develop sector specific essential skills and knowledge that will assist them in becoming entrepreneurs once they have graduated.  Students learn about the three “Gears” of ICE, which include Empathy and Need Finding (or understanding your customers), Ideation and Prototyping (or brainstorming), as well as Strategy and Testing.

As one student in attendance remarked, ICE training is an opportunity to bring together “youth from the Bluewater board to initiate creativity.”

Student groups from each participating sector were once again matched with local business and industry leaders, who presented the following real world challenges currently being experienced by their respective organizations.  The students were then tasked with brainstorming and developing potential solutions to those challenges:

Health and Wellness
The Residential Hospice of Grey Bruce will soon be opening Chapman House in Grey County with eight patient beds on site.  The Ministry of Health approved four additional beds for Grey Bruce in a satellite site.  Students were challenged to explore population and geographic data along with the costs to operate a satellite location to determine where the most appropriate site would be situated.  Students were asked to pitch a location and provide information on how they came up with this solution.

Proposed solution:  Students suggested establishing a location in Walkerton as it would be centrally convenient for our region.  Fundraising initiatives would be held throughout the year, including a possible car show and/or an event using the former jail facility in Walkerton.  Members of the public would be surveyed to track progress and interest.    
Image of student created website home page for It's A Hair Fling on big screen Arts and Culture (Hairstyling and Fashion)
In many salons, you get walk-in or referral clients.  Sometimes you serve them once and never see them again.  You aren’t sure if they loved the service or were dissatisfied.  How can the staff at It’s A Hair Fling get feedback on their service?  How can they get existing clients to refer their families and friends?

Proposed solution:  After identifying the need for a web presence, students developed an actual website template with information on the company, a mechanism for online bookings, a Google map, and more.  An online feedback form was also suggested.  Customers would receive incentives for participating or for providing referrals.        
Information and Communications Technology
Palmer Andersen produces web design and advanced software development solutions.  The company is great at building solutions and turning those solutions into standalone products, such as its lead generation photo sharing software Photodrip, Cosmic Ray for tracking cosmic rays from outer space with an iPhone, and many more.  The company struggles with maintaining visibility on social media, and needs to find an easy way to allow team members to contribute by posting content to these channels moderated by an administrator.

Proposed solution:  Students suggested hiring a marketing manager to focus on promoting the company’s software through various social media outlets using hashtags to create a larger following.  Other suggestions included focusing on software development to sell to businesses and then letting those businesses market the products, developing a staff portal with an interface for employees to easily post to social media, the creation of a YouTube channel to promote products and advertise software, and widening the target audience beyond small businesses by advertising the company’s free apps, such as Photodrip.
Image of student created map of MotoparkHospitality and Tourism
Motopark primarily services customers who love to motocross race.  The majority of the company’s customers come from the GTA, Barrie and Kitchener-Waterloo regions.  Motopark is able to provide all of the services customers need onsite, including food and accommodation, a pro shop, and bike rental.  Most municipalities are unable to approve land use to those that are interested in operating tracks like this due to rules and regulations on the noise that these bikes produce.  This allows Motopark to be a unique facility in Ontario.  With the invention of the electric bike, noise will no longer be a factor and the threat of competition is greater.  The company has a large property and is interested in expanding the products and services offered to lock in current and future customers.  Students were asked to come up with new ways to use the land at Motopark that would appeal to a greater audience and compliment what is currently offered.

Proposed solution:  Supported through a proactive media campaign, students suggested utilizing the vast space available on the current property for an open house to attract a broader audience.  Some additional activities might include a Tough Mudder event, triathlon and/or music festival.  Expanding the use of the space to include mini-golf, mountain bike trails and sports activities accompanied by a survey for input on use of the property could also be a consideration.

Following all of the pitches, the judges awarded the top honour to Hairstyling and Fashion students at Owen Sound District Secondary School for their website template.  For their ideas, the students each received an iTunes card along with a 500 dollar donation towards their school’s SHSM program from 24/7, a group of business professionals who support local entrepreneurship.

Thanks are extended to the following participating businesses and organizations for their time, expertise and support during ICE day:  MaRS Discovery District, Georgian College (Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre), ONE (Ontario’s Network of Entrepreneurs), Residential Hospice of Grey Bruce, It’s A Hair Fling, Palmer Andersen, and Motopark.

Image of student brainstorming sheet of solutions and wacky ideasGroup photo image of ICE training day mentors