I remember one of my first endeavours into business. We were roadside retailers/re-sellers of items we purchased at a local convenience store. Two friends a couple of houses away and I purchased candy, potato chips, gum and Neilson Chunk chocolates and re-packaged the items into brown paper bags. We creatively called our product goodie bags, as the “surprise bag” was already taken. We sold them for $0.50/per bag. I am unsure if we made money on this product or if the customers felt they received good value for their money. We also sold some chalk painted rocks and other handmade crafts. I remember they were not big sellers though. Local residents from our rural community supported our first venture into the world of business. In the early 1990’s, there appeared to be more value placed on being creative, taking initiative and incentive to earn a few dollars to buy things we wanted. I know at the youthful age, we most likely re-invested it on more sugary good stuff :).
As I grew older, my progression in business included packing up firewood, painting fences, mowing lawns, doing chores or odd jobs, washing cars, tutoring to selling homemade crafts. My parents encouraged me to work hard, realize there is a cost of material goods and to understand the value of money.
At 16 years of age, I founded Flower’s Island Museum. The business expanded to include a 9-hole miniature golf course and later a summer festival, which operated for two years in partnership with another youth entrepreneur. During 2002, I contacted Nortip Development Corporation seeking information on heritage grants and spoke with the Youth Development Officer. Although, I did not apply or receive grant funding, I was introduced to a program they offered called Youth Ventures.
Youth Ventures empowers students age 12-29 start and operate their own businesses in Newfoundland & Labrador. There are 23 Youth Ventures Coordinators throughout the province to provide free assistance to interested youth. You can visit www.youthventuresnl.com. They have a list of ideas, information and contact information for a local coordinator.
Youth Ventures helped raise the profile of my business. I was profiled by the Getting the Message Out (GMO) program with the Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development. During my Bachelor of Commerce studies at Memorial University, I became employed as an intern with GMO. As well, received a number of local and provincial honors, which included the Provincial High Achievement of Financial Management Award sponsored by the Royal Bank of Canada. Operating my own business provided a wealth of experiences, included customer service, marketing, financial management, human resources and operations. I enjoyed adapting to new situations and engaging in constant improvement. This experience aided in landing a position with an International Marine & Engineering Consultancy Headquartered in London, England.
There is satisfaction in creating, assisting and meeting the needs of the consumer. Youth in Rural Newfoundland & Labrador have opportunities to make their own money and put their talents to good use by venturing into the wonderful world of business. However, without incentive to do so, we may lose a future generation of innovators and economic drivers. In some rural communities it appears adherent today that youth no longer need to work to earn an allowance. Additionally, many are given mobile phones starting at elementary school, not to mention parents purchasing all sorts of electronics, brand name clothing, lavish recreational vehicles and cars as presents.
Youth need to be encouraged, understand the importance of the almighty dollar and to make decisions with their own money. The future can be bright for rural Newfoundland & Labrador for young leaders today and tomorrow, if we provide the necessary supports.
Encourage youth to make their own money…create their own dream job, be their own boss and masters of their own destiny.
Live Rural NL –
Christopher C. Mitchelmore
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- Why is Rural Newfoundland & Labrador Not a Haven for a Thriving Sheep Industry? (liveruralnl.com)
Article taken from “The Western Shorefast Fall 2010” Newsletter:
A forum on transportation in the Great Northern Peninsula was held at the Straits Arena, St. Barbe on September 8th, 2010. The forum was planned to discuss the findings contained in a report on the possible business opportunities resulting from the completion of the Trans-Labrador Highway. You can review the entire study on the Nordic Board website at www.nedc.nf.ca.
The two regional economic development boards (Economic Zone 6 and 7) on the Great Northern Peninsula, along with other partner organizations such as CBDC-Nortip, Innovation, Trade & Rural Development (INTRD), the Rural Secretariat NL, ACOA, and municipalities in the region organized this forum “for all stakeholders wishing to learn and/or have input on these emerging transportation business opportunities. The primary focus will report on the recent completion of the Trans Labrador Highway and its overall impacts on the Great Northern Peninsula as related to the road, marine and air transportation routes.”
Additionally, the forum wanted to “seek input towards developing both short and long-term strategic directions for the entire Great Northern Peninsula with respect to business development linked to transportation. Recommendations from the Forum along with the recommendations outlined in the Trans Labrador Highway Study will help shape an overall Transportation Business Development Strategy for the Great Northern Peninsula moving forward in 2010 and beyond.” The organizers sent the attendees a discussion document that spoke of opportunities to discuss: the transportation study; business opportunities and gaps; highway development, signage and webcams; high-speed Internet; emergency services and response; language services; and ferry-related topics, such as schedules, wharf improvements.
All of the presenters identified the following as major issues that will need addressing in the near future:
Impact of heavy trucking and increased traffic on existing roads
- High Speed Internet Access
- Inadequate Human Resources for service industry and tourism operations
- Highway upgrading and development
- Improved ferry service to and from Labrador, especially in winter
Several presenters spoke of the eventual need for a fixed link between Labrador and the Island, outlining proposed routes and possible costs.
The meeting concluded with an invitation from Chris Mitchelmore to prospective and existing entrepreneurs to avail of the business planning services offered through the development boards and the Community Business Development Corporation (Nortip). He encouraged entrepreneurs to work with existing networks, such as The Viking Trail Tourism Association and the Northern Peninsula Business Network.