Success stories

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Success Stories

Community Futures is pleased to showcase some of the many good news stories in rural Alberta. Everyday we help people like you start and grow successful small businesses.

Manufacturing Cluster Project

Central Alberta Rural Manufacturers Association
Red Deer


Project was awarded $120,900 in Rural Diversification Initiative (RDI) funding & $295,000 from the Rural Alberta Development Fund (RADF) for the development of manufacturing business clusters in Central Alberta. 

Community Futures East Parkland partnered with the already established Central Alberta Rural Manufactureres Association (CARMA) to achieve the project goals of expanding the manufacturing sector & diversifying Central Alberta.

Cluster development & educational opportunities have been pursued through networking events & workshops that bring industry appropriate information to the businesses.

Reliance Telecom Consulting

Cheryle Renwick
Cochrane, AB


Cheryle Renwick is on a mission to save small businesses money through negotiating better cell phone contracts.  Through her company, Reliance Telecom Consulting, she analyzes cell phone invoices, investigates billing errors and renegotiates better rates on behalf of her growing client base.

“People don’t realize there’s a whole world of unadvertised pricing potentially available to them,” says Renwick. “Since opening my business in June of 2009, I’ve saved my clients anywhere from 25 to 67 per cent on their billings.

“I recently worked with a client who didn’t think I could save him any money,” she says. “The business owner had spoken with his service provider on numerous occasions looking for better rates and even threatened to cancel – he was so frustrated. By looking at his total account usage with an objective perspective, I was able to renegotiate his rates with just over 60 per cent in savings,” Renwick glows. “That’s a lot of money for a small business.”

How did this inspiring entrepreneur make the leap from employee to running her own business? “I’ve worked in the telecommunications industry for many years,” she explains. “My customers sometimes joked that I should branch out on my own, but I didn’t have the business skills or faith in myself to pursue the idea. After the company I worked for moved my job east, I joined a small consulting company, but was eventually laid off again.”

“I guess the self employment seed was planted because I realized I had knowledge, skills and expertise in my industry, but just needed some guidance to get started,” Renwick continues. “I was at a Chamber of Commerce lunch and happened to mention my business goal [to] another entrepreneur. He was enrolled in the Self Employment Program offered by Community Futures Centre West and suggested I speak to them.” 

Renwick says the financial and marketing training she received through the Program has been a key to her success. “The necessary evil – writing a business plan – was a challenge, but I learned how to do it properly,” she says. “I’m thankful for the tools I learned as my business plan is now the backbone of my operation – it’s easy to see how people fail without one.”

“I’ve been able to help businesses right here in my own community by doing something I’m passionate about,” says Renwick. “And I get to spend time with my children. It doesn’t get any better than this.”

As published in COCHRANEConnects Spring/Summer 2010

View her website at http://reliancetelecomconsulting.com/index.php

Play2Learn Daycare Services

Melanie Poulin
Elk Point, AB


Early 2009 began the vision of my venture.  I am a local born and raised community member of Elk Point.  I grew up here, moved away to ad to my life experience and returned to my “home town” to raise my 4 children. I come from a strong family of entrepreneurs and knew that there was a community need that needed to be filled. It was never a thought that any project I decided to do would fail….. It was just the HOW was I going to make it work!

Along with a grant for a “Making Space for Children” provincial government initiative, I put my business plan together and came to Community Futures for support and guidance and the BUSINESS LOAN that was crucial to proceed forward.  The first stage of my “small business” venture became a reality!  But my team and I soon realized that expansion was necessary to continue to grow at the fast rate we were (and still are) growing today!

Community Futures was there again for advice, help with documentation and mentorship! Jody was calm and when my excitement for the project needed some “sensibleness”, he prevailed! The daycare has continued to make our small community stay that much more vibrant as Play 2 Learn Daycare has purchased an existing town building (thanks also to The Elk Point Elks Lodge #460). We have done renovations with Community Futures Loans and continued the growth of Early Childhood Development in Elk Point!

The potential for additional business has also been seen!  We are able to provide space for smaller group activities such as First Aid Classes, Ukrainian Dance Club, or various club meetings. We have built a permanent home for our towns Jack and Jill Preschool program. We host initiatives with Norquest College and support community members with availability of English classes right here at Play 2 Learn so that community members need not travel far to get to these needed classes

I appreciate Community Futures. As a young business person with drive and motivation to put business initiatives together YOU are an important catalyst as everything comes with a price tag. You were (and are) the help I needed and Community Futures has done just what the title implies…… helping build a community’s future!!

by Melanie Poulin, owner/operator

Canada Tire Doctors

Robert Eden
Chestermere, AB


For Robert Eden, it was the urging of his son, Bryan, that inspired him to venture into the field. After much research, the Eden's decided there was a need to provide 'the convenience of home shopping with complete tire services at your doorstep" within the larger Calgary region. Canada Tire Doctors - a family-owned and operated business - was born.

Their services are targeted for those who may not have time to go to a traditional tire shop to have their tires serviced, those who prefer the convenience of having tire services performed at another location or those who need emergency tire repair while on the road; their business does it all.

The need for start-up capital brought them to Community Futures Wild Rose, where our advice, guidance and financing fit what the Eden's were looking for.

"We met a couple of times...they gave us really good guidance and sent us what we needed to look at so we knew what we should be doing."

With financing in place, a Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van and equipment were purchased to enable Bryan to work with regular- and high-end (such as Jaguar, BMW and Cadillac) - vehicles. Specialized mounts, "no-touch" tire changers and advanced wheel balancers allow Bryan to work on virtually any vehicle, in virtually any location. Financing was also arranged to help cover early operational costs.

Thankful for the resources and local support offered through Community Futures Wild Rose, Robert Eden shares, "I'd like to see how far we can take it. Instead of my son working for someone else, technically he's working for us...but it's going to be something that he's going to take pride in because it's also something of his. He's helped create it and in the future he'll be hoping that it'll eventually become his."

Flag Five Inc.

Melissa Chinski
Medicine Hat, AB


Melissa Chinski grew up in Weyburn, Saskatchewan, moved to Medicine Hat in 2002 and studied at the Medicine Hat College.  She obtained her degree in Visual Communications in 2005. The Visual Communications program provides students with an in-depth knowledge of design through courses like typography, drawing, marketing, video and applied design. Shortly after graduating, Melissa secured a position with the City of Medicine Hat, working as a graphic designer in the Communications Department.

Even with a full-time job, she was driven to entertain graphic design work after hours and on weekends with a plan to save enough to eventually open her own business.  Melissa obtained a business license in 2005. As she began to explore the possibility of running her own business full-time, she did an online search and found out about Community Futures Entre-Corp and how their services might be able to assist her with the questions she had about starting a business. After meeting with a Community Futures Entre-Corp business advisor, she was able to collect valuable information and resources to help in the process of putting together a proper business plan, which she admits would ultimately be the groundwork to help guide her through everyday operations.  Melissa shared how that visit with Community Futures Entre-Corp helped her understand how there was so much more to consider in running a business than just everyday client work.

12 years later, Melissa is enjoying a successful business with a store front and one full-time employee.  Her business is called Flag Five Inc. located in downtown Medicine Hat on 4th Ave.  Flag 5 has serviced a growing list of clientele, some of them, as far away as Boise, Idaho.  Melissa’s target market is medium-sized businesses who have an understanding of design and who want to market their business with a consistent and professional look.  Melissa explained how her number one principle at Flag Five is customer service. They strive to get to know clients businesses on a personal level, ensure each client feels like they are part of the team and that their goals are achieved.

 

Shredz Snow and Skate

Nick Sereda
Drumheller, AB


Shredz Snow and Skate, owner Nick Sereda came to us in persueing his dreams of becoming an entrepreneur. Only few years out of high school he followed his dream and opened up a skater shop in Drumheller. Nick opened his business in 2004 and has been thriving ever since. It has been a great asset to Drumheller in providing local young adults a trenty place to shop for snowboards, skateboards, clothing and accessories.

After only being opened for a few years, Nick decided to expand his business into Sylvan Lake, Alberta, where his younger brother Chris is operating it.

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Success stories

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