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Seeding Start-Ups Sees Steady Stream of Applicants

Another round of successful applicants pitched their business plans and were recently approved for funding at the latest Seeding Start-Up Review Panel.

Beth Veenkamp is the Seeding Start-Ups coordinator.

“We are getting a steady stream of applicants coming into the program which is really exciting to us. We so far have had 6 successful pitches so we’ve been able to provide contributions.”

Veenkamp says they have so far distributed about $8,000 of the $30,000 that they have available.

The Review Panel, made up of the jointly funded Project Partners included representatives from Downtown Williams Lake BIA, Community Futures of Cariboo Chilcotin, Thompson Rivers University, Williams Lake and Area Chamber of Commerce and City of Williams Lake.

Recently approved pitches are:

  • Courtney Vreeman is the owner of Creatively Courtney. As a new Start-Up, Vreeman was eligible for a contribution ofup to $1500 from the Youth category of the Seeding Program. Creatively Courtney is a design business creating customized designs on a variety of different materials including wine glasses, t-shirts, ceramics and wood. Vreeman also has a robust business hosting paint nights at CJ’s Restaurant and for private functions like bridal showers. Vreeman’s plan for the seed contribution is to purchase a heat press that will allow her to create her products more efficiently.
  • Al-Lisa McKay, owner of Miss White Spider Arts. Qualifying in the aboriginal entrepreneur category, McKay has been taking steps to move her “hobby” into a full-time business. Miss White Spider Arts provides multi-media art productions and is becoming increasingly known for Shadow Puppetry productions. She has a full line up of festivals booked for the summer months, and in the winter plans to promote herself as a unique and fun interactive party experience. As a trained ECE, McKay wants to bring her work to children through the robust birthday party market and expose them to the ancestral messages of the many different cultures found in her shows.  Miss White Spider, was hired by Downtown Williams Lake to provide instruction and inspiration to the community through free Chalk Art Workshops in anticipation of Downtown Williams Lake’s Chalk Art Festival scheduled for July 1st as part of the Four Directions Festival. McKay intends on using her $1000 contribution from the Seeding Start-Up Program to produce CD’s for sale, and for printing of promotional materials.
  • The Horticulture Club from Lake City Secondary. As a student-run business, they were eligible for a $1500 contribution that will go towards building a new greenhouse that will be located at the Williams Lake Campus of Lake City Secondary. The business, called “Lake City Grow Operators”, is an extracurricular club that grows plants in the biology lab under the guidance of teacher Jennifer Anderson.  Currently, the business sells hanging baskets, flowers, tomato plants, and vegetables. Their product is on display in the storefronts of some commercial businesses around town. Profits from the group go back into the business for supplies, and they also fund different sports teams for travel for out of town tournaments. As social entrepreneurs, the seed money will give them a boost to continue to grow more, so that they can sell more and give back more. “The greenhouse and new grow tables are scheduled for construction in the fall, and will enlist the help of the trades-construction program to build it,” said Anderson. “The future goal is to expand our operation to include fresh produce to the culinary arts program.”

More information on the Seeding Start-Ups Program is available by contacting by Veenkamp at 250-392-8480.

(With Files from City of Williams Lake)

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