Melissa Nygren – Homestead Harmonic

Meet Melissa Nygren, an entrepreneur from Eagle Creek, Saskatchewan.

Melissa is the owner / operator of Homestead Harmonic – a supplier of duck and chicken eggs as well as chemical-free garlic and mushrooms.

Melissa is passionate about homesteading and producing safe, healthy food.

When asked how she measures success, Melissa says “we measure success in crops: we are rich in garlic!”

When asked what advice she would give to other entrepreneurs, Melissa’s response is: “Believe in yourself and take steps in the direction towards your dream, even if it seems impossible, just take 1 step and the next steps will fall into place. The universe will help.”

Melissa’s feedback on the ELEVATE program: “The Elevate program was a huge help in giving my business a boost, by providing funding for education and bookkeeping services I otherwise would have not been able to afford.

Melissa’s five-year plan is to develop a loyal customer base and expand into educational workshops and other products such as natural beauty salves and soaps.

Reuben Ditmars – Harmonic Homes

Reuben Ditmars, owner of Harmonic Homes in Eagle Creek, Saskatchewan is an entrepreneur who has enjoyed the supports from the ELEVATE program. Harmonic Homes produces custom barnwood and fine plaster products, using natural building practices.

Reuben reports that he received training and bookkeeping assistance from ELEVATE and that his experience in the program has been “wonderful!”

One of Reuben’s challenges is finding customers who are interested in alternative building practices but that there are lots of barns to salvage, giving him lots of room to grow his business.

Reuben continues to gain customers and is developing a well-known name for his business.

Shannon Estabrooks – Twisted Tails Bar & Grill

Shannon EstabrooksShannon Estabrooks owns and operates Twisted Tails Bar & Grill in Englefeld, SK, thanks to the supports she has received from the ELEVATE program. 

Twisted Tails is a full-service restaurant offering food, beverage, beer and spirits off-sale, confection, family fining, entertainment, and catering.

Shannon reports that she is “forever grateful for Community Futures as it has opened up this door for me! I feel the monthly allowance was incredibly helpful as I didn’t have to take personal drawings from the business at that time to pay my personal bills etc.”

She says that Community Futures and Social Media have definitely contributed to her success and that she is so busy running the successful business now, that she hasn’t be able to take advantage of all of the supports offered by the ELEVATE program.

Shayla Hagel – Estevan Dog Trainer

Shayla HagelShayla Hagel started her “Estevan Dog Trainer” business because of the supports she received from the ELEVATE program in Saskatchewan.

Shayla has a passion for dogs and, as well, a passion for helping people – this, the idea for the business was born. Her main business focus is to offer dog training for dog owners of dogs that may or may not have behavioural issues. 

Shayla tells us that she has always felt supported and encouraged through her time in the ELEVATE program and by Community Futures.

She has learned that starting a business determines someone’s motivation and drive in whatever they are wanting to do for a business and that it takes hard work and dedication.

When asked what advice she would give to new entrepreneurs with disabilities, her response is “find the right supports and don’t be scared to ask for help!”

Laura’s long-term goal is to finish writing her book and develop her on-line training program.

She envisions herself being able to get away from the one-on-one training and becoming more of a leader and workshop developer.

Sherri – Harvest Time Café

Harvest Time CafeSherri is an entrepreneur from Watson, Saskatchewan who owns and operates Harvest Time Café.

Harvest Time Café is a licensed restaurant that only offers baked goods – combining two of Sherri’s passions in life: her love of cooking and her love of people.

She is passionate about only offering baked (not fried) food and all of it is home made.

Her advice to other entrepreneurs is, “if you love what you do, you will do well.”

The ELEVATE program has been a big help to Sherri: “ELEVATE has helped by sending me a laptop that I greatly needed and use often, they also paid for my life coach who is beyond helpful in my personal and professional life as well they are going to pay for some courses such as cake decorating that will enable me to add more services to my restaurant.”

She says she loves working with her local Community Futures office as she learns something new every time she has a meeting with them.

Sherri reports that “they truly care and it never feels like work.”

Sherri’s five year plan includes taking on a partner so that she can double the hours of her operation and, as well, to open a banquet room so that they can start to host parties.

Svitlana Verona – S.V. Stylist

Svitlana Verona Meet Svitlana Verona from Humboldt, SK. Svitlana is an ELEVATE client who has started “S.V. Stylist,” a hair and esthetic service in the Humboldt area.

Since English is not her first language, this has been one of the biggest hurdles for Svitlana in starting her new business in Canada.

While making the decision to become an entrepreneur, she advises other entrepreneurs with disabilities to “never give up and don’t be afraid to take the leap!”

Svitalana found the training and life coaching supports from ELEVATE to be very beneficial to her throughout the program.

She is happy she took the leap and hopes to be able to hire an employee soon!

Tara Remus – Day Care

taraMeet Tara Remus, ELEVATE entrepreneur working in Rosthern, Saskatchewan.

Tara recognized a need in her community for a new dayhome and with the help of ELEVATE, she has been able to make that happen.

She has small children herself and this allows her to stay home with them, while earning a good income.

Tara says that the coaching provided from ELEVATE has helped her tremendously with dealing with her disability while balancing her business.

She has also learned a lot about competitive pricing and proper record keeping.

When asked what advice she would give other new entrepreneurs, Tara says “It’s ok to ask for help!”

Verne Rathjen – All Floor You

Verne RathjanVerne Rathjen operates All Floor You in Humboldt, SK, thanks to the supports he has received from Community Futures’ ELEVATE program.

He offers installation services – carpet, vinyl tile, hardwood, VCT/VLT and custom mosaics.

He reports that his experience with the ELEVATE program was a great learning program that helped him in every way, receiving training and mentorship services from his local Community Futures office.

Verne chose the entrepreneurial path because he finds it difficult to work for others because of his disability.

He reports that it is therefore much easier to work for himself.

Verne has been doing this kind of work since he was 10 years old (with family) and at the age of 16 he got jobs on his own installing flooring, so he exhibited the entrepreneurial spirit at a young age!

Kimberly Wylie – True U Tattoo & Creationz Inc.

Kim WylieTrue U Tattoo & Creationz Inc. is a business owned by Kimberly Wylie, an ELEVATE client in Saskatchewan.

The business offers customized tattoos and logo development for businesses as Kimberly has always been an artist with the ability to develop great details in multiple mediums.

The ELEVATE program has allowed Kimberly to expand her knowledge in computer designing that has proved very help with both tattooing and logo design.

As well, she mentioned that ELEVATE gave her the footing and reminded her of where she was going with her business.

Kimberly believes that people with disabilities or mental illnesses should choose a talent or job that they are good at, then create an environment that can accommodate their disability or illness.

When asked what she would do differently, Kimberly responds “Nothing. All the mistakes I have made have brought me to where I am right now.”

Jesse Hayward – Sandbox Innovations Corporation

Jesse Hayward Sandbox Innovations CorporationJesse Hayward is from Rosthern, Saskatchewan and he has participated in the ELEVATE program to start his own business, Sandbox Innovations Corporation.

Jesse has developed an app that helps middle school students troubleshoot their math homework problems.

When asked why he wanted to start this type of business, Jesse’s response is “ there is a lack of innovation in the education system and to give back to the teachers who were there for me”. 

Jesse has learned to overcome many hurdles while developing this business, not the least of which was homelessness.

He reports that ELEVATE was able to help him bootstrap costs and support his travel to meet with members of government in order to further develop his business idea.

His goal is to continue to build the app to support more subjects, build educational tablets, and develop provincial student databases for government.

Jesse has faced a multitude of personal challenges in his life but his advice to new entrepreneurs with disabilities is “Never give up! Never take “no” for an answer!”