This month, we invite you to get to know the power and promise that young entrepreneurs bring to our beautiful city of Ottawa. In our latest blog we explored the positive impact young entrepreneurs have and the challenges they face, in need of support to build a better future. Now, it’s time to take a closer look at youth in action. Read on ahead to discover the success story of a young social enterprise making things happen!
Lights, Camera,Youth in Action
Hot Shoe Productions & the Power of Youth Entrepreneurship.
Welcome to the dynamic world of Hot Shoe Productions, a social enterprise launched with the support of Youth Ottawa, where the fusion of dedication, talent, and drive ignites a unique spark. Picture this: a highly successful video and photography company, entirely shaped by the passion and creativity of our youth. What began as a pilot program in 2015 to expand youth talent and skills in videography, has since-rebranded and transformed to become a successful video and photography business. Inspired by the people of this city, this social enterprise tells community stories through a completely youth-led lens.
A Snapshot of Hot Shoe History
It has always been challenging for a traditional model of education to suit the learning styles and interests of all to prepare students for future career opportunities. Many creative steps forward have been taken by the education sector in identifying diverse ways in which students can be actively engaged in the classroom. In 2015, our team at Youth Ottawa stepped up to the plate and launched our Youth Active Media Program. The program was developed to teach youth digital literacy skills through the art of filmmaking. By offering training, equipment, and a hands-on learning approach, students are encouraged to create independent projects about community issues that matter to them. The program was first launched with the support of the Trillium Foundation and later a partnership formed with the Ottawa Carleton District School Board, it continues in classrooms today.
The success of the Youth Active Media program found a new pathway to support youth in 2017, when in partnership, The Social Planning Council and Youth Ottawa proposed to advance the established videography program into a social enterprise, with the help of a grant awarded to them by the Ottawa Community Foundation. With the support of nonprofits and the community, Hot Shoe Productions was born in June of 2018. Now, young people that have completed the Youth Active Media program, have the chance to continue a career in working to build and progress a sustainable business. Since its humble beginnings, Hot Shoe has grown to new heights, and has expanded its business, support for youth, and community reach in unimaginable ways.
Entrepreneurs at work: Hot Shoe Today
Today, Hot Shoe Productions continues to deliver their high quality professional services to a variety of notable clients, including RBC, The United Way of East Ontario, and Shopify. Diving into proposals big and small, Hot Shoe treats every project as a work of art, tailoring a vibrant narrative to encompass the client’s story by adding the zest of youth innovation. Throughout their years of experience they have learned to become better business leaders and continue to be youth led in all aspects of their enterprise.
Being an impactful community focused business is at the heart of Hot Shoe Productions and drives their entrepreneurial vision forward. Through the enterprise, Hot Shoe has produced creative projects aimed at informing the community about the wonderful non-profit work in the city. They have worked on projects for organizations like JA (Junior Achievement) Ottawa, which works to deliver hands-on learning experiences in the area of entrepreneurship, Causeway Work Centre, a non-profit organization that helps individuals with mental illness and other challenges find meaningful work, and the Innovators and Entrepreneurs Foundation, a charity that supports Canadian entrepreneurs from racialized and equity deserving communities.
Hot Shoe has continued to mobilize their team to lead mentorship in schools through the ongoing delivery of the Youth Active Media Program in partnership with the OCDSB. The team members are passionate about teaching the program that gave many of them their start in the industry. Leading by example, they allow students to see that young people can achieve amazing things with their talents, hard work, and confidence. They have also worked on organizing and delivering film camps to students of younger demographics, most recently working with the Kanata Montessori School, to help youth discover the power of creative expression.
One of the most important aspects of their business is the passion for supporting and working with other young creatives and business leaders in the Ottawa community. They work collectively toward fostering and empowering the next generation of thought leaders and the new ventures they bring to the entrepreneurial tapestry of Ottawa. Most recently, they created a promotional launch video for the Novas Group,a youth led, one-stop shop brand development company that specializes in design, consulting, and media.
Learn more about Hot Shoe’s entrepreneurial experience:
Meet the Young Social Entrepreneurs behind Hot Shoe Productions
Ben Bergeron (he/him), Creative Director
“My favorite thing about working at Hot Shoe Productions is the valuable mentorship I am able to provide to a diverse population of young people. Through the program, I have been able to support the passion and careers of dozens of youth with an interest in the media industry, all while amplifying the valuable work of businesses and nonprofits throughout the city.”
Bryanna Kearney (she/her), Post Production Supervisor
“The thing I like most about working at Hot Shoe is being able to do something I enjoy as a career. I am also really thankful for all the great people I have had a chance to work with and learn from.
My favorite thing about being an entrepreneur is being able to decide how I want my career to look. I like being able to decide the kind of work that I do, and the way that I want to do it.”
Wendley Pierre (he/him), Senior Photographer & Social Media Manager.
“Working at Hot Shoe has helped me build a strong business background. I get to focus on what I am passionate about and grow my own brand -Through my Lens.
I have the opportunity to do what I love. It’s different from clocking in at the restaurant loading up to do something vs. loving what you do.”
Colin Ziraldo (he/him), Lead Cinematographer & Technical Producer
“The most rewarding aspect of Hot Shoe Productions is the incredible company culture we’ve fostered. The teams are immensely passionate and skilled individuals, and collaborating with them daily is a genuine pleasure. I strongly believe that Hot Shoe Productions plays a pivotal role in nurturing the next generation of filmmakers, photographers, and video producers.”
The Exceptional Team also Includes:
Join Us in Empowering Young Entrepreneurs this Giving Tuesday
With successful organizations like Hot Shoe Productions, it’s clear why supporting young entrepreneurs is vital. This team, started by Youth Ottawa, showcases what young talent can achieve with the right support. They’ve not only built a successful business but also inspired their peers in Ottawa and beyond.
This Giving Tuesday, we invite you to support youth entrepreneurs in two impactful ways:
First, consider contributing to our Giving Tuesday campaign. Your financial support will empower programs like Youth Active Media, which has been instrumental in the growth of initiatives like Hot Shoe Productions. Your donation helps provide resources, training and opportunities to more young entrepreneurs fostering innovation and creativity.
Secondly, you have a unique opportunity to support Hot Shoe Productions directly. By hiring them for your videography needs, you’re not just getting high-quality services, you’re also providing real-world experiences and growth opportunities for talented young creators. Every project they undertake not only showcases their skills but also furthers their professional developments.
This Giving Tuesday, let’s stand behind young entrepreneurs. Whether through a donation to our campaign or by engaging Hot Shoe for your next project, your support can make a big impact. Together, we can fuel the passion and potential of entrepreneurs, one project at a time.