The North Forge community has grown by two new members. Jesse Yarechewski and Harrison Anderson are the recipients of the inaugural North Forge Indigenous Youth Entrepreneurial Scholarship.
The scholarship was created to provide two young people between the ages of 18–24 access to the North Forge Fabrication Lab at no cost, as well as to the opportunity to learn from our in-house mentors for one year. This scholarship fund gives Indigenous youth interested in entrepreneurship an opportunity to innovate in an open and safe space.
“This scholarship would be a huge support for new and/or existing Indigenous entrepreneurs,” said Marney Stapley, Vice President of North Forge Technology Exchange. “There are so many incredible and innovative ideas right now in the minds of young Manitoba entrepreneurs that could become a reality in just a few months with this scholarship.”
The scholarship opportunity caught the eye of 22-year-old Jesse Yarechewski, a recent graduate from the University of Manitoba. Jesse received a Bachelor of Commerce in spring 2018, majoring in Human Resources Management/Industrial Relations. He heard about the North Forge Indigenous Youth Entrepreneurial Scholarship through one of his mentors at the university, and it instantly piqued his interest.
“I applied for this scholarship because I like to build things and have always wanted to learn how to use a 3D printer and CNC machine,” said Yarechewski.
A panel consisting of North Forge members, the Fabrication Lab’s entrepreneur-in-residence and a representative from a Winnipeg high school narrowed down the applicants and ultimately selected Yarechewski and Anderson as the final recipients. “We evaluated applications on the practicality of a project that North Forge can assist with through our resources (equipment, training and mentoring), the willingness to learn new entrepreneurial skills and to benefit from hands-on training,” said Stapley.
Yarechewski and Anderson are both eager to begin their mentorship and look forward to spending time in the Fabrication Lab. “I’m very impressed with the lab and excited to learn how to use the machines,” says Yarechewski. “I quickly went out and bought safety equipment, so that I can get started. It feels like Christmas morning when I was little, and there were new LEGO sets to be made.”
This scholarship was born out of a desire to provide young, Indigenous entrepreneurs with the tools, mentorship and resources to excel. Once the financial barrier surrounding the creation and execution of prototypes are eliminated, these young people are one step closer to successful innovation and entrepreneurship.
“I’m really thankful to have been chosen for this scholarship,” said Yarechewski, “and I’m hoping to take away new skills that I can use for the rest of my life.”