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Coming to North Forge Feels Like Coming Home

LRATC Students Jasmine & Grace
Jasmine Pinili and Grace Bernat, two Grade 12 students from the Louis Riel Arts & Technology Centre
Jasmine Pinili and Grace Bernat

Is there such a thing as being too young to be an entrepreneur? Two local Winnipeg high school students vote, NO! 

Throughout January 2022, North Forge had the honour of welcoming Jasmine Pinili and Grace Bernat, two Grade 12 students from the Louis Riel Arts & Technology Centre.

Jasmine (Windsor Park Collegiate) and Grace (College Jeanne Sauve) are wrapping up their time at the Applied Business Management program with a work placement with us. They are both on track to graduate from their respective home high schools this spring.   

For four brief yet wonderful weeks, they joined the North Forge team and worked on a diverse range of tasks, projects, and campaigns. Grace and Jasmine shared insights on their work placement experience below.  

How was your work experience at North Forge?

Jasmine Pinili Grade 12 student from the Louis Riel Arts & Technology Centre Winnipeg
Jasmine Pinili

Jasmine:

“The tour of the Innovation Hub office showed me how having a professional and collaborative workplace as a startup can help your business grow. 

I liked creating mood boards for the entrepreneurship book (coming soon!) North Forge is currently developing. I enjoyed being creative and was thrilled to have had the opportunity to create and propose a number of concepts incorporating the company’s story into my designs. My graphic design skills were strengthened, and my attention to detail was sharpened. 

The Fabrication Lab (FabLab™) tour was fascinating because we were able to see how startups from various industries use the equipment and space to create their products. Walking around the space felt like walking through different worlds, with each room dedicated to a different set of equipment and craft.” 

Grace Bernat Grade 12 student from the Louis Riel Arts & Technology Centre Winnipeg
Grace Bernat

Grace: 

“North Forge was kind enough to welcome me into their diverse and friendly team. Throughout my time with the team, I was able to attend virtual networking events and had opportunities to introduce myself as an aspiring digital marketer and entrepreneur. This allowed me to meet people who could help me advance my career and post-secondary education. 

We also had a chance to tour North Forge’s Innovation Hub office and the FabLab. It was not only fun but also insightful because I previously did not know about this publicly accessible resource for aspiring entrepreneurs in the prototyping stages.

I was also engaged in a notable number of marketing-related tasks. We were given responsibility and trusted to work on North Forge’s new marketing campaigns. As a result, I developed and improved soft and technical skills that the current job market is seeking.” 

What are your key takeaways from working with North Forge?

Jasmine:

“Being able to adapt to a different working environment and the team is one. I was able to get to know the staff, their roles, and how they contribute to the overall performance of the company. This allowed me to see how I could offer my expertise to their work.

Networking with individuals from all backgrounds of life helped me gain mentors to whom I could go for guidance. After witnessing how effectively everyone in the company communicated, my communication skills improved. 

I also particularly loved learning about the value of providing feedback on each other’s work. It allowed me to see other people’s perspectives on my work and ways to improve it. 

Lastly, I recognized how valuable the Applied Business Management program was to my career. We were knowledgeable about ways to run a company, and I feel a sense of relief to know that I’m well equipped to enter the corporate world.”

Grace: 

“North Forge instilled a high level of confidence within me. Having had this work placement as a high school student, I feel more prepared than ever to pursue my post-secondary education and jump-start my career in marketing and entrepreneurship. I’m excited to use the skills I’ve learned and apply them across all aspects of my life.” 

How has this experience bolstered your future goals and education?

Jasmine Pinili Grade 12 student from the Louis Riel Arts & Technology Centre Winnipeg

Jasmine:

“This experience helped me gain a better understanding of how corporate law affects businesses and has sparked my curiosity in the legal world. As an aspiring lawyer, it made me realize that I should continue my path towards the corporate world. 

This opportunity also motivated me to continue seeking out volunteer opportunities. Joelle Foster advised me to get involved in the community since it will serve as a bridge to develop connections with individuals who can be beneficial to my career paths. 

Lastly, witnessing how a business operates will help me better represent my future clients in defending their rights as businesses. I have a better understanding of my prospective client’s concerns and/or challenges as I am familiar with the ins and outs of a company’s structure and function.”

Grace Bernat Grade 12 student from the Louis Riel Arts & Technology Centre Winnipeg

Grace: 

“For months, I’ve craved for an opportunity to experience working in a professional environment where my creative and artistic thoughts and ideas can flourish and grow. 

North Forge has exposed me to such a reality where entrepreneurs alike can collaborate with one another in a safe and welcoming environment. 

North Forge solidified exactly what I want to pursue in my future, both professionally and academically. It also verified that this longing for creative freedom is something that I can explore and be successful in.”

Has your perspective or opinion about North Forge changed throughout your time here?

Jasmine:

“I respect North Forge’s corporate culture – each employee embodies the values that North Forge has developed. One of these values is inclusivity; I instantly felt at home here with their warm welcome. 

They provided opportunities for me to grow and continuously encouraged their employees to develop and gain new skills. They trusted me with diverse duties (marketing, graphic design, copywriting) that helped me improve professionally.

I respect their dedication to teamwork and determination to achieve their goals. I enjoyed when the team shared ideas, even if they are in different positions since it demonstrated that they are all willing to support one another in reaching their own goals. During marketing meetings, my creative side is always challenged by the excellent ideas presented by each team member, which I feel has improved my creativity skills.

Their purpose of supporting entrepreneurs and startups truly amazes me. It’s wonderful to see a program like the Founders Program that empowers individuals in fulfilling their dream of becoming entrepreneurs. North Forge efforts are clearly visible behind the successful companies they have helped.”

Grace: 

“Leading up to this work placement, I was filled with excitement and had no prior expectations. Initially, I was wary about the strict work schedule and that I may not enjoy working in an office environment. To my surprise, I was met with the most welcoming staff team I’ve ever had the chance to work with. There was a sense of motivation and encouragement within their professional working space. They have done a fantastic job of creating and maintaining a safe, welcoming, and encouraging working environment – especially throughout the course of the pandemic. 

Working with an all-female management team was not only inspiring but also motivating to see such a unique and youthful company. They are marching down the road to success and proving to society that women are indeed fit to be strong leaders.  

My opinion of North Forge as a company and as a workplace is nothing short of positive!”

Do you have any tips for anybody considering starting a business?

Jasmine Pinili Grade 12 student from the Louis Riel Arts & Technology Centre WinnipegJasmine: 

“Join the North Forge community!

Being a part of North Forge is like being an astronaut ready to launch into space – they will not send you into the business world without the gear and equipment you will need. They are very knowledgeable about what they do and are enthusiastic about supporting entrepreneurs and start-ups.

They will treat you as if you were a member of their family. 

They will inspire and motivate you every step of the way and provide feedback on what you could work on to grow your business.

I am astounded by the brilliance that each North Forge employee possesses, and I consider myself fortunate to have worked with some of them. 

 Coming to North Forge feels like coming home.” 

Grace Bernat Grade 12 student from the Louis Riel Arts & Technology Centre WinnipegGrace: 

“To those of you who want to shift your entrepreneurial dreams and ideas into action, put yourself out there. 

Lucky for you, there are plenty of publicly accessible resources available for you to take advantage of. Grow your network whenever possible by attending networking and social events. Speak highly of yourself, seek guidance, and be confident with your every step. Entrepreneurship isn’t for everyone. But if there’s a will, there’s a way!”

__________

Kristian Escoto, Marketing and Communications Coordinator
Kristian Escoto, Marketing and Communications Coordinator

A special thank you to Louis Riel Arts & Technology Centre for the opportunity to share North Forge and our founders with your bright minds. And an extra-special thank you to North Forge’s Marketing and Communications Coordinator Kristian Escoto, who supervised their journey.

Do you know an aspiring entrepreneur looking for your next step after high school? Explore your business idea with us by joining our Founders Program! Our Programming Team will contact you to set up a time to chat about your idea.

We look forward to welcoming you into our community!

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