Entrepreneur tutoring instructors

·2 min read

THUNDER BAY — When the COVID-19 pandemic was finally showing signs of ramping down this spring, Maya Saggar’s business was showing signs of ramping up.

The 23-year-old Thunder Bay entrepreneur is the 2021 winner of the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre’s annual RBC Young Innovator of the Year award, for tapping into a growing need for showing educators how to transmit their knowledge online.

Saggar, a communications specialist who is working online towards a PhD in education at the University of Calgary, has been able to capitalize on a demand from schools, colleges and universities, which must adapt to online learning techniques. It’s a phenomena that will continue beyond the pandemic that saw the trend take off, Saggar believes.

“Online learning is here to stay,” she declared Oct. 27 from her home office, noting that her client base extends well beyond her adopted home and across Canada.

Saggar said that while many college and university professors are expert in their subject areas, some lack the technical know-how to captivate students in an online format.

Her company, MS Consulting, tutors instructors on how “to change it up” with videos and graphics, and to become comfortable in an era that routinely utilizes online forums like Zoom.

Though she only started her business in March, customer demand has allowed her to assemble a team of 10 part-time associates who live across the province and are linked through computer technology.

Originally from the Toronto area, Saggar came to Thunder Bay to accompany her partner, who is enrolled in a master’s program at Lakehead University’s geology department.

“I really like Thunder Bay,” she said, already envisioning establishing an office outside the home.

The RBC awards attracted 40 nominations in five categories. The other winners are as follows.

• Innovative Company: Origin, for two virtual-reality systems that promote trade jobs and feature a tool that shares Indigenous knowledge.

• Innovation Hero: Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre surgical services director Caroline Fanti for a “unique” clinical service delivery model.

• Innovative Project: Take a Hike and Take 2 Boutique owner Diane Petryna for a live-streamed shopping show, which attracted 100 viewers.

• Marv Detweiler award: RegenMed adviser Jared Johnson.

Carl Clutchey, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chronicle-Journal

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