As a support system for budding Nova Scotian entrepreneurs, Mashup Lab’s #DreamBusiness program is creating communities of entrepreneurs with each new cohort. As a first time entrepreneur, the uncertainties of starting a business can be daunting. However, when you have a supportive cast of people who are trying to achieve similar goals as you are, it can be both comforting & inspiring.
This is what Tyler MacIntyre and his girlfriend Anna McPherson found when they started their beard oil company: Cape Breton Beard Factory. After only a short four months in business, they’ve already found a great support network of local cafes and barber shops in Sydney that happily carry their products, as well as The Best of Cape Breton Gift Shop. This is what Tyler says has been changing around Sydney:
“Every week or so it’s like you can see what new business has popped up. It’s really different out in Cape Breton now. Everyone supports each other; it’s this feeling like we’re all in this together. There’s ten new businesses on the brink in this program alone, think about that.”
Tyler & Anna Decided to start their business because they had a need to resupply oil for Tyler's luscious beard, they did some research around the product, and wanted to take a jump at a booming tourism industry in Cape Breton. Branding the beard oil to focus on features that are distinctive to Cape Breton was to showcase the product as something Cape Breton can wear with pride, and also to take advantage of the flourishing tourist destination that Cape Breton has become.
Tyler & Anna entered the #DreamBusiness program hoping it would help take their business to the next level. For Tyler & Anna, this means expanding from the network of businesses they use to supply their products locally, to entering the global world of e-commerce, after having great success selling their products through direct inquiries on Facebook & Instagram.
“I joined the #DreamBusiness program just to learn from Andrew, with all the businesses he’s run and worked with, it’s amazing. With us expanding into e-commerce, Andrew’s knowledge of the theory behind it is something I hope to take away.”
While, still working part-time at a local downtown Sydney pub, Tyler and Anna are hoping that the beard oil business will be able to sustain them full-time one day. Something that can be seen increasingly in Cape Breton, according to Tyler, is that the “entrepreneurial spirit” has come alive. With support networks in the area like the Cape Breton Partnership, ACOA and the #DreamBusiness program, Sydney and the surrounding area is being revitalized on the backs of these entrepreneurs. What Tyler had to say about the support was this:
“With programs like ACOA and the Cape Breton Partnership as well as this, it’s feeling that support that makes it easier to start a business. What the Dream Business program does is great. None of the businesses entering knew each other and now, after four weeks, we’re private messaging each other saying ‘hey, I had a great idea for this, or you should work on this, or I know this grant you should apply for’ it’s really inspiring.”
Here at Mashup Lab, we’re proud to connect and support all these new entrepreneurs. What it is that we do is not something magical; we’re merely giving these entrepreneurs some of the tools and skills to expand on the great ideas they came up with on their own. We’re just happy to connect these folks and allow them to share their entrepreneurial ideas because what we know about rural entrepreneurs is this: great ideas can come from anyone, anywhere!
If you’re interested in working on a business idea you have and to learn business/entrepreneurial skills, apply to the Dream Business program here:
Working with over 1,000 Entrepreneurs starting and growing businesses from rural communities gives you perspective. Here is where I share the things I'm learning through my work with Mashup Lab. This is my Rural Perspective; I'd love to hear yours.