Aug. 17, 2015
HALIFAX - Some local members of Women in Film and Television Atlantic (WIFT-AT) recently completed the Centre’s first-ever screen industry focused Advanced Management and Mentoring Program (AMMP), with the goal of enhancing their business skills and becoming stronger entrepreneurs.
The dynamic group of 12 WIFT-AT women are all self-employed and working in film, television and screen-based media in Nova Scotia. They spent six months exploring different business models, and delving into topics such as financial decision making, best practices to achieve innovation, how to create and deliver an effective pitch, and planning for strategic growth. Each of these elements are core components of AMMP, a workshop series launched in 2013 that has captured the interest of both individual entrepreneurs and industry sectors, making it the most in-demand program in the Centre’s 23-year history.
WIFT-AT/AMMP was funded by Nova Scotia’s Workplace Innovation and Productivity Skills Incentive. The incentive encourages employers to invest in training to improve productivity, increase innovation, support the introduction of new technology and increase their competitiveness.
Many participants of the program felt the timing was perfect with the recent transition of the film tax credit to a production incentive fund. The opportunity for self-employed writers, directors, editors and producers to develop the kind of hard business skills offered through AMMP provided the women with actionable steps to move forward.
WIFT-AMMP participant Dianne Whelan, a filmmaker and photographer, reported a 50 per cent jump in revenue as a result of AMMP. She said it was instrumental in helping her to develop a targeted business plan for her current production, 500 Days in the Wild, an adventure film chronicling her journey across Canada via the Trans Canada Trail.
“It led to the implementation of systems that were lacking prior to AMMP, along with improved financial and time management processes,” said Whelan.
Another participant, producer Karen Wentzell, owner of Waterstar Entertainment Inc., said she has developed a number of skills that will have a significant impact on the day-to-day operation of her company.
“I wasn’t sure how the business skills training would apply to non-traditional business,” said Wentzell. “I quickly realized that sound business tactics are applicable regardless of what business you’re in.”
The Centre’s first two AMMP series were designed for women entrepreneurs of all sectors, and were so popular that four levels were created: Level One - Strategic Growth Planning; Level Two - Tactics and Actionable Steps to Implement your Strategic Growth Plan; Level Three - Systems and Processes to Scale your Business Growth, and Level Four - Capital Quest to Finance Strategic Growth. The AMMP program also includes a roundtable ‘mastermind’ component, where resourceful entrepreneurs function as peer mentors.
It has been a busy two years for program facilitator Laurie Sinclair, a Business Development Officer at the Centre for Women in Business and a part-time business instructor at Mount Saint Vincent University.
“It’s so gratifying to see the tangible difference this program has made,” said Sinclair. “It’s a unique bonding experience, and an opportunity to provide expertise in a practical and strategic way.”
Tanya Priske, Executive Director of the Centre for Women in Business confirmed all four levels of AMMP will be offered in September.
“We introduced AMMP with the goal of creating a close-knit community of established women entrepreneurs who are facing many of the same challenges,“ she said. “That’s what it has become, and we’re inspired by the engagement of participants.”