Ownr Spotlight: Bootcamps for Change

Jun 19, 2020
2 minute read

Bootcamps for Change believes fitness can break the cycle of poverty. They remove barriers for youth experiencing homelessness to access the tools and community to reach their full potential through physical activity and industry employment. Through cross-sector collaboration, their vision is that every at-risk youth will thrive through better health and a foundation for sustainable livelihood. In this interview with Ownr, Katie Heggtveit, Founder of Bootcamps for Change shares her inspiring story and how her organization is continuing to make a meaningful impact on the lives of those in need.

For those who don’t know you, give us some background on yourself and how you got started as an entrepreneur.

Katie: I’ve worked with youth since I myself was a youth. I saw funding was cut at a shelter, Horizons for Youth, for residents to access gyms in Toronto. In response, I became a group fitness instructor and committed to teaching them weekly. To create a sustainable, scalable program, the “Bootcamps for Change” organization was born. We began to mobilize the fitness professional community and collaborated with businesses, universities, like-minded organizations, incubators, and accelerators to increase our impact.

The work that you’re doing through Bootcamps for Change and the impact you’re making on people’s lives is inspiring. What first inspired you to become an entrepreneur?

Katie: I would pinpoint it to a personality trait: imagination. I see the world not as it is, but as it could be. So, I became an entrepreneur to not only solve a problem but also to achieve a vision that I see for the future of Canada and the youth that inhabit it.

What are some important lessons that starting this organization has taught you?


  • As a leader, be transparent about your professional shortcomings to your team. Then, fill your shortcomings by working with those that thrive where you struggle.
  • Don’t be afraid to continuously adapt, innovate, and pivot your vision. You may modify your mission, vision, or values over time, but the intent stays unchanged and you will have complete clarity when making critical business decisions that impact your future.
  • Everything is a learning experience. Everything.

What is the most rewarding aspect of doing what you do everyday?

Katie: Relationships we’ve developed – not only with partners and instructors, but also with the youth and incredible organizations in Canada. It’s been incredible to see how our program has evolved over the years, based on the feedback and input of the youth that we serve.

Looking to the future, do you have any plans for Bootcamps for Change that you’d like to share?

Katie: We’re working towards increasing our impact and scale by promoting cross-sector collaboration between private (business), social (NGO), and public (government) sectors in Canada.

Finally, any advice or tips for aspiring entrepreneurs or those looking to make a difference in the community?

Katie: Determine if you’re a “why” or “how” person early. Then, find the other you don’t identify with to a) make a plan on how to achieve the vision you see or b) fulfill a vision of an organization or entrepreneur that means alot to you personally.

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Where can people learn more about Bootcamps for Change?

Bootcamps for Change (contact [email protected])
Website: https://www.bootcampsforchange.com/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bootcampsforchange
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/bootcamps-for-change/

Katie Heggtveit (contact [email protected])
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/katieheggtveit/

Jolene Kohne, Director of Marketing (contact [email protected])

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