One of the most exciting recent Humber initiatives is the Humber New Venture Seed Fund started by Dr. Michael Hatton and the Office of the Vice-President Academic.
In 2011, then Humber music student Marty Bernie was among the initial recipients of the award. This year, Humber Music students once again found themselves in the winner’s circle, with three recipients representing two innovative new business ventures being feted.
I asked the winners: Julie Fitzgerald of Julie Fitzgerald’s School of Dance and Denielle Bassels and Mike Mathieson of Possibly with Dynamite to write a synopsis of their businesses and about their experiences in applying for the fund. Here are their words.
Julie Fitzgerald: Humber New Venture Seed Fund Recipient
I am honoured to be a recipient of the Humber New Venture Seed Fund for my proposal of starting a step dance studio in both a physical and online manner. To offer some background on what I do, I teach Ottawa-Valley step dancing, a traditional Canadian dance-form with roots in French-Canadian and Irish dance. It is generally danced to ‘Celtic’ music; however there has been a popular trend as of late to dance the style to any musical genre.
My business involves the creation of a step dance studio in the Peterborough area. Here, I will offer group and solo classes for beginners (those who have never danced before) as well as for advanced dancers preparing for competition. I like to have fun, and at the same time when I teach, but at the same time instill discipline and a good work ethic in my students. Additionally, the online portion of my business offers online lessons that will be available for purchase.
The main reason why I want to start online dance instruction is because—having had the opportunity to tour the U.S. and Canada with my family band “Everything Fitz”—I’ve encountered many audiences who rave about the step dancing form. Most of these audiences have never had the opportunity to see step dancing before as it is largely confined to Ontario. I have found that performing is an excellent platform to promote my online business, since many people are too far away geographically to take step dance lessons.
The application for the New Venture Seed Fund was in-depth and almost inspired me to start drinking coffee in order to stay awake! The application required a strong business plan that demonstrated the applicant’s desire to start up a business and to prove seriousness in pursuing business goals. For my application, I included: estimates for financing and operating the business; my professional industry experience; projections on how I will get customers as well as a description of my services, products and desired star up location. I also included an instructional step dance DVD that I recently made.
Step dancing is my passion. It is a truly Canadian art form and there is no better way to pass on the artistry of that tradition than through teaching! Starting up a step-dance teaching studio has been a lifelong dream for myself, and I am thrilled that things are coming together!
Denielle Bassels and Mike Mathieson (Possibly with Dynamite):
Humber New Venture Seed Fund Recipient
POSSIBLY WITH DYNAMITE
Possibly With Dynamite is a production company whose primary focus is to collaborate with writers of short fiction, poetry and children’s books in order to provide musical accompaniment for their work. Through the arrangements of music with short literature, our finished product will be entertaining, and will accentuate the emotion and the message of the writing while keeping the integrity of the literature intact.
Possibly With Dynamite will also serve as a viable small recording studio.
When the studio is not in use by us, music students, musicians, actors and small ensembles can use the studio along with the equipment and our expertise, without the stress of high-end studio prices discouraging them from recording.