Brad Smith of Seferian Design Group involved with New Entrepreneur Program (SHiFT) through the Burlington Chamber of Commerce

Brad Smith of Seferian Design Group involved with New Entrepreneur Program (SHiFT) through the Burlington Chamber of Commerce

The Burlington Chamber of Commerce is launching a new program aimed at giving new entrepreneurs and young professionals a boost. The SHiFT Future Leaders Mentorship Program is a two-phase initiative the chamber has been developing the past year. Brad Smith, a Senior Landscape Architect at Seferian Design Group is on the committee comprised of your professional from around the city.

SHiFT aims to bring together young professionals and future entrepreneurs in the community and providing them an opportunity to engage with successful entrepreneurs to foster personal and professional growth and development. “We were looking for something that focused on education and mentoring, so that’s where SHiFT came from,” said Keith Hoey, president of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce.

The launch event is on Tuesday, April 15 at SB Prime, 390 Brant St. and admission is free and open to everyone. The guest speaker for the evening is John Romano, owner of Nickel Brook Brewery. His presentation will be followed by a question and answer session. “He’s going to come and say, ‘Here’s my experience starting up a business, here’s what worked, here’s what didn't work, here’s what it’s all about from my perspective.’ So that’s the education perspective,” Hoey said. “This is for budding entrepreneurs to learn from the experience of successful businesspeople.”

There will be a minimal registration fee for the remainder of the speakers series events planned for 2014, which are tentatively scheduled for April, June, September and November. The second phase of the SHiFT Future Leaders Mentorship Program is currently being developed. It will feature a mentorship program to help give budding businesspeople a leg up. The second phase will be launched in 2015.

“Mentorship is an opportunity to partner with someone in a specific line of work and have them shadow you and help you learn about their expertise,” Hoey said. “We’re thinking about setting up the program so startup budding entrepreneurs can connect with a banker, lawyer, accountant, entrepreneur, marketer, etc. and learn specifics from those individuals about how to grow their business.”

Hoey said the SHiFT program is open to all ages, recognizing entrepreneurs come from various demographics. “It doesn’t target a specific age group, but we expect there will be younger people here than from the older demographic,” he said. Hoey said the SHiFT program is a long-term initiative for the chamber, as it serves an important purpose in the local business community.

“We think there are so many successful business in Burlington and so many people who want to create successful businesses in Burlington, it’s really important to link those two groups together and that’s what we are trying to do here,” he said.

Registration and networking for the April 15 launch event runs from 5:30-6 p.m., with Romano’s presentation from 6-6:45 p.m., followed by networking from 6:45-7:30 p.m. Space is limited. Registration is required.

For more information or to register, visit, email or call Jackie Penner at 905-639-0174, ext. 7214.