Mentorship, business support on the way for local artists

By: Kiana Crouse

Manitoba Music is using their new Music Business Mentorship Program to help local music companies grow their business.

The free online program offers training, consulting, and one-on-one mentor sessions to Manitoba Music members throughout 2021. It teaches members the essentials of managing and working in the music industry. 

The program is also geared toward emphasizing the voices of minorities in Canada, according to a spokesperson.

 “The music industry is very difficult to understand and receive mentorship for anybody, but it’s especially hard for BIPOC, LGBTQ2S+ and gender diverse people,” said Elise Roller, Manitoba Music’s industry development coordinator.

Roller said the organization wants to focus on supporting minority applicants who don’t have the same opportunities as others.

“We would love to see more people, who may have been previously overlooked, start a business and have the help to start a business,” she said.

Daniel Scramstad, a local Winnipeg musician, said he had a bad experience with Manitoba Music in the past and felt the organization was biased against his last application. 

Now, he said he’s recently noticed them wanting to be more inclusive and accepting of diverse candidates.

“They’re trying to make some changes, which is probably a good thing,” said Scramstad. “I think anybody in the music industry should do as much as they can and apply for anything. If somebody is offering something, I would say it never hurts to apply.”

Roller addressed some of the concerns about the bias when selecting candidates.

“Manitoba Music has always tried very hard to be inclusive. Obviously, with any organization, you make mistakes sometimes,” she said.  “It’s definitely something that is at the forefront of our minds, and I do believe it always has been.”

Members sending in their applications for this program will be assessed only based on business credentials, according to Manitoba Music.

Roller also said this program will help eliminate the need for local entrepreneurs to seek out attention elsewhere. The program aims to build music companies in Manitoba to help the province’s music community thrive.

The deadline for applications is Dec. 21, 2020, at 12 p.m. Visit the Music Business Mentorship Program page on Manitoba Music’s website for more information, details, and to apply for the program.