by Richard Froese for Spotlight
With a growing unemployment rate, many people were inspired and retooled at an entrepreneur workshop Oct. 29 in Driftpile First Nation.
“People often don’t realize how easily you can get into small-business entrepreneurship and how lucrative it is,” says Christopher Robblee, executive director of Community Futures of Lesser Slave Lake, who spearheaded the two-day workshop that attracted up to 25 people from ages 16 to 50 years of age.
“There’s a lot of resources and help to start a business.”
Over the two days, participants collected a vast amount of information on strategies to develop a business plan and build a business.
“You start a business because you have the passion to do it; chase your dream,” Robblee says.
“Entrepreneurs report higher satisfaction with their work.”
On the other hand, he says, employees can often be discontent with their job or employer.
He also encouraged entrepreneurs to think of new and unique ways to market and build their business.
“Entrepreneurs who don’t take the chances, don’t succeed or prosper,” Robblee says.
“Go for it.”
Entrepreneurship workshops by Community Futures are also planned for Slave Lake in February and in High Prairie in the spring, Robblee says.
“Community Futures believes that a general understanding of how to get started in business will lead to further creation of new businesses,” Robblee says.
Driftpile First Nation, Lesser Slave Lake Indian Regional Council, Connect the Dots employment readiness program, and the provincial agency Business Link partnered in the workshop that motivated the participants.
“It definitely got their interest and they learned to create a business plan,” says Mike Ward, Driftpile employment co-ordinator.
“We continue to encourage our people to seek employment or start a business of their own.
“While we have little natural resources such as oil and gas, we have a lot of human resources.”
Ward says that means that Driftpile can offer people with a variety of skills and experience to employers seeking recruit qualified workers.
He may be contacted by phone at work at 780-355-3866, cell at 780-849-0092 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
With the resources, many participants were eager to move forward.
“I would like to have self-employment so I can help people, particularly younger people,” say Jerry Laboucan, who is unemployed after working many years in the oil and gas industry.
He says he plans to start a vehicle repossession business on the reserve since no such business exists on any local reserve.
“Many years ago, I had a business plan to open a bar,” say Joseph Collins.
“But now with this workshop and more resources, I want to pursue it more.”
With no immediate plans to start a business, one person appreciates the workshop and resources.
“I wanted to get some information on where to go for resources to start a business,” Brenda Laboucan says, although she has no current intension to pursue that.
“I know it takes a lot of work.”
For more information on an entrepreneur workshop, phone Community Futures at 780-849-3360.