Helping Canadian Entrepreneurs Grow Their Businesses with the EMP

By EMP Staff

WeBC, a Canadian not-for-profit organization, has been supporting women business owners for over 25 years. We recently spoke with Skills Development & Mentoring Program Manager Kaitlyn McConnell and WeBC Facilitator Cathy Burrell to see how they have used the Entrepreneurial Mindset Profile® (EMP) to provide Canadian entrepreneurs with expertise, training, resources and peer network support to help businesses grow and thrive.

EMP: As British Columbia’s leading business resource organization for women, you work extensively with budding entrepreneurs to make an impact in their communities, especially in your EM3 program. Tell us a little bit about that program and how it’s designed.

WeBC: EM3 is a peer mentorship program we do in collaboration with the Discovery Foundation. It unites women entrepreneurs all over BC to build their networks in small groups which are led by experienced women tech leaders. The program has three components: 1) The EMP Assessment 2) Peer Group Mentoring and 3) Skills Development Webinars.

EMP: What is the process to participate in the program?

WeBC: Women are accepted into the program after applying and going through an interview process. They then are placed into peer groups based on the stage of business they are in such as startup through the first 2 years, growth years 2-5 or long-term of 5-plus years. The women take the EMP at the very beginning, and we deliver workshops along the way to dive deeper into their EMP results. We use the EMP as a diagnostic tool to determine what areas (traits or skills) the women entrepreneurs identify as areas to work on, or possibly downplay, to advance their leadership journey.

EMP: What have you found to be the primary benefits of using the EMP with these women?

WeBC: The primary benefit for our clients is awareness. Very few of them are familiar with the differences between a personality trait that is somewhat fixed and a skill that can be developed and used to their advantage. Self-awareness is such a valuable attribute for a woman starting a business. These entrepreneurs all need different things, and using the EMP as a tool to show where they started, where they landed and where they want to go next allows them to evaluate their leadership as their years in business accumulate.

EMP: Can you give an example of how that has actually played out in real life?

WeBC: We worked with one woman who was part of a session as a startup. She had identified two areas where she wanted to minimize a low score. We offered her and the other women in her cohort a second session six months to a year later to discuss what had worked well and what her challenges still were at this point in time with her business. We could change the curriculum depending on her needs at this later stage of development.

EMP: Can you describe how you use the EMP? Do you have any small-group exercises which have worked well for you?

WeBC: We mostly use it in virtual webinars with small groups of 6-7 clients. A favorite activity is an introduction exercise that is designed to put the women at ease. We put them in groups of two, and in addition to having them introduce themselves to each other and talk about what their businesses are, we also ask them to switch reports and discuss their top three strengths. After a few minutes, we have everyone introduce their partner to the larger group using their strengths as a jumping-off point for their upcoming group work. It’s a simple icebreaker that helps stimulate conversation and getting to know one another a little better. It’s interesting for them to note the similarities they may have as a group.

EMP: What tips or best practices do you have for debriefing a report either individually or in a group?

WeBC: When debriefing a report in a group setting, we have found that it is really important to take your time as a facilitator to thoroughly explain the report. We ensure that all participants have time to ask questions in a safe setting. You can almost see the clients relax as they realize that their report wasn’t “bad.” In fact, many clients had very similar results! Using the report as a confidence builder with the understanding that some scales can be leveraged, and others can be downplayed depending on each person’s particular context is very enlightening. You can positively sense the relief in the room (or through the screen!). We try to cultivate an atmosphere where people are willing to share details of how their scores play out in both their personal and professional lives. We always remind them that no one is perfect, and we’re all on this journey, but the good news is that they have taken a great step forward to learn and grow as entrepreneurs.

EMP: Can you share any experiences/benefits with the EMP Development Guide?

WeBC: The EMP Development Guide is a fantastic tool to support entrepreneurs to do a deep dive into how to leverage their strengths and work on their development areas very intentionally. There are times, too, when someone may need to be careful about overplaying a particular strength. This awareness is so crucial for women entrepreneurs to move forward with confidence and grow their businesses.

EMP: I know that you are doing some research with your clients’ EMP results which you hope to finish in early 2023, so we’ll be looking forward to seeing that when it’s completed. Thank you both so much for your time today and your work with the EMP. I’m sure the business environment in Canada has benefited greatly from your efforts.

Kaitlyn McConnell is the Skills Development & Mentoring Program Manager at WeBC. She can be reached at kaitlyn@we-bc.ca.

Cathy Burrell is a WeBC Facilitator. She can be reached at cathy@we-bc.ca.

The Entrepreneurial Mindset Profile® (EMP) [emindsetprofile.com] is an excellent way to get an in-depth view of the entrepreneurial mindset and see how your personality traits and skill sets compare to those of corporate managers and entrepreneurs. Available online, the EMP provides scores on 14 different scales including Risk Acceptance, Passion, Need to Achieve, Future Focus, Idea Generation and Persistence among others. The EMP Feedback Report comes with a debrief video and a comprehensive Development Guide for continuous improvement.

Want to learn more about EMP Certification and how you can use it in your organization? Email us at emindsetprofile@eckerd.edu or visit the Certification page of the EMP website to see how you can start using the EMP with your clients and students.