Last week, small businesses across Canada were recognized for their important contributions to the economy. Small Business Week, held Oct. 14-20, celebrated the achievements of entrepreneurs and small businesses everywhere.
“Small Business Week gives us an opportunity to thank and celebrate the contributions and achievements of NWT entrepreneurs,” said Minister of Industry, Tourism and Investment (ITI) David Ramsay.
“They play a key role in employing residents, supplying necessary goods and services, and keeping our economy strong.”
Locally, a bevy of resourceful residents have benefited from the Support for Entrepreneurs and Economic Development Policy, or SEED grants, to help sustain their passion for photography.
“The Department of Industry, Tourism, and Investment (ITI) is focused on promoting economic diversification in the NWT while stimulating and supporting development opportunities in a communities,” according to the ITI website.
“The SEED Policy provides financial support for entrepreneurs looking to start a business or improve their capacity or skills as well as small communities seeking to expand their local economies.”
Adam Hill, who has had a small photography business since 2004, first found out about the grant through a friend after moving to Hay River three years ago.
“When I got here I had a lot of work ahead of me,” he said.
“I had to get a body of photographic work relative to the area and to the people who live here. A friend of mine and fellow artist, Natacha Kruger, told me about this grant: I was rather skeptical about applying, since I’m used to large amounts of competition for a small number of grants awarded, but she convinced me to talk to Mike Maher anyway.”
Maher, who works at the ITI South Slave Regional Office, has been instrumental in helping local entrepreneurs obtain SEED grants.
Hill did some research and eventually got in touch with Maher.
“I told him about myself and what I was hoping to do with the grant,” Hill said.
“Within weeks of applying I was approved. I was amazed by how it: it was incredibly enabling. With that money I was able to purchase new camera equipment and promotional materials.”
“It allowed me to take the next step in my small business. Without SEED I really don’t think I’d be where I am as a photographer.”
Since then, Hill has gone on to put together two books and a calendar of his photography.
Jared Monkman is another local photographer who has used SEED grants to help propel his career.
“The people at SEED were really helpful,” he said.
“The funding has helped me obtain the gear that I need to provide the best possible images to clients.”
The Southwest Territorial Business Development Corporation (SWTBDC), which has operated in Hay River since 1986, also helps small businesses with funding.
“As part of 269 offices located across Canada, the SWTBDC has provided business financing to over 500 businesses in the Hay River area,” said General Manager Jeff Griffiths.
“The primary service provided by the SWTBDC is small business financing with loans up $250,000. SWTBDC also provides business planning assistance, counseling for the start-up and information on starting a small business.”
— Myles Dolphin