Here’s a great story of collaboration between the City and TalentBridge.

Step 1:  The City Engages Youth in the Economic Development Steering Committee

The City of Ottawa has organized an Economic Development Steering Committee in which they have unprecedentedly invited youth participation. Through TalentBridge facilitation – on the recommendation of Manu Sharma, Founder and Manager of TalentBridge – I now sit on the steering committee representing the youth perspective.

Step 2:  The City Requires Expertise for Web Development, the building of OpinionOttawa.ca

The City of Ottawa required the development of a site to gather public feedback for the steering committee’s consideration, and they needed a very quick turnaround of the site. Knowing the impressive skill set of my TalentBridge colleagues, I recommended some of their involvement in the project, from web development to SM support.  Ian Scott, a long time supporter of TalentBridge, took my consideration seriously.

Manu Sharma is approached to seek support from TalentBridge. He makes a case for the project to be headed by a young Ottawa entrepreneur, and puts forward the name of Muhammad Azam, founder of Radical Software and TBridge alum. Muhammad is selected to spearheaded the project, working with a team from OAK to ensure quick turnaround. Manu provides all guidance for project negotiation, project scoping and project delivery. The sites, both French and English, were formally launched on February 12th. Teams from RadicalSoft and OAK will continue working on the project in a support role for the duration of the project and will also be actively working on the deployment and delivery of the social media strategy development. The current TalentBridge cohort is also engaged on the end of social media.

Step 3:  They Dynamics

This is why this is a great story: The city invests in Ottawa’s youth by supporting OCRI TalentBridge. TalentBridge actively trains and develops talent and Manu Sharma actively mentors participants so that individuals can successfully launch their own start-ups, Radical Software being one of those successes. Through the TalentBridge network, Radical Software is able to obtain a new lead, from the City no less. The continued support and commitment the City is showing for youth talent enables a young Ottawa startup to obtain the necessary confidence and experience to grow as a business and in turn, give back to the community. It worked out beautifully – a symbiotic relationship all around. And did I mention, I have a once in a lifetime opportunity to sit on a City of Ottawa committee – a first for youth representation – and learn and develop with some of the best minds in Ottawa.

Examples like that are exactly what we need to see more of in this city. Mentorship, support, belief, encouragement, etc. are all important, but what is more important, and what this was a great example of, is commitment for long term support by a community of stakeholders.  It takes a village to raise a child; it takes a community to support young talent. I do want to take this opportunity to thank Manu Sharma on behalf of all of us associated with OpinionOttawa for his vision, commitment and passion. Manu is there for us always, and we need more of him in Ottawa.

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