A Yellowknife business owner is encouraging young entrepreneurs to enter a contest worth $100,000.
Nicole Redvers (pictured), who runs the city’s Gaia Integrative Clinic, reached the final of last year’s BDC Young Entrepreneur Award.
Though she didn’t get the cash prize, Redvers says the experience – and exposure – helped her expand her business and opened her eyes to the ambitions of other business owners.
“I got to hear their stories, hear the struggles, the things that inspired them,” Redvers told Moose FM.
“I was very impressed by the amount of passion behind all of these young people, and the motives. It wasn’t about the bottom line, it was about the good they can do with the world and things that they can change.”
Redvers, who grew up in the South Slave, reached the 2014 final with a pitch that involved opening up her wellness-based services to the North’s smaller communities.
A year on, she says her business is working on a 1,600 sq ft expansion and she is set to introduce mobile clinics.
“It’s definitely not a free giveaway of $100,000,” she cautions prospective applicants.
“You had to do a video summarizing the project, and then it was writing the story of what it is you’re passionate about – what you want to do and what you want to see. And you have to have some backing to it. It can’t just be an idea, you have to have some practical numbers behind it.”
Redvers says her business received valuable exposure after her application won a regional preliminary round, involving entrepreneurs from all three territories.
This year, applications close on March 18. Anyone aged 18 to 35 who owns their own business can enter.
“Don’t focus on the money,” is Redvers’ advice to future applicants.
“Focus on what it is you want to do and let that passion drive you. Sometimes it’s the exposure that can make the biggest difference, aside from the money pot that’s at the end. If you can focus on that, then you remain true to your purpose and you have a better chance of succeeding.
“Passion is the key. Up here, in some places, we get an idea of big business being a bad thing. I can understand that, I grew up in that atmosphere.
“But think of the social aspect – how can you improve your community, how can you help people, how can you expand services offered for the benefit of the people.
“Having that in mind helps with that passion, and you work hard to achieve that goal, because it’s something that you see as being right.”