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$1.2 million grant a boon for the area

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Female entrepreneurs in the Parkland will be able to access the tools needed for success closer to home, thanks to a $1.2 million grant through the Women’s Entrepreneurship Strategy.
Administered through Community Futures Parkland, the money will be used to support female entrepreneurs through project partner Dauphin Economic Development, as well as a second, smaller office in Flin Flon.
The majority of the funding will flow to Dauphin.
“What does this funding mean for Dauphin? The biggest thing is it allows us to plan long term,” said Dauphin Economic Development manager Carissa Caruk-Ganczar, adding one of biggest barriers in the past has been accessing funding for various programs from various sources.
“This will now give us four years of funding that we can roll into one umbrella, under one roof, to provide support for entrepreneurs in our community.”
The money will allow for the establishment of an office locally, which could house initiatives such as a business incubator, co-worker space and a maker space in one central location.
Boiled down, it provides entrepreneurs an opportunity to seek support and training closer to home.
“So right now for an entrepreneur who is looking for some detailed assistance through the business planning process, internet guidance, mentoring training, working through existing resources is the only option we have right now. Or else they have to end up travelling to Winnipeg to access some of the resources they have there,” Caruk-Ganczar said.
“As we know, that is not a cost-effective option for clients in our region. So this is finally going to be an opportunity to have someplace that they are able to tap into those resources.”
Caruk-Ganczar stressed the idea is not to duplicate existing resources, but simply to deliver them closer to home and provide a place and an environment where entrepreneurs can gather, connect and network, in addition to the formal programming.
“So organizations or groups, like our rural women’s entrepreneurship network, will be able to have a place now to call home,” Caruk-Ganczar said.
“This is going to be a place where people are going to feel comfortable to access services, as well as an opportunity to actually operate their businesses out of, at least in the starting years, to remove more barriers. It is something we are extremely excited about.”
She added the funding will also allow for the hiring of two staff people, as well as covering professional fees for more specialized help on occasion.
“This is new staff that is going to come in and be able to help with these clients directly. It will be a direct service delivery model, so it is not just something else that gets added to our plates as partners,” she said.
“So we are extremely excited to receive that, as well as a place for programming and services, which is something we have been struggling to find for quite a while.”
There is lots of work to do in order to meet government deadlines, Caruk-Ganczar said, including finding a space, determining an operating budget and fleshing out what the community’s ongoing responsibilities as a project partner will be. She hopes to have everything in place and operating by the end of the year.
Proper planning now could help make the project a permanent part of the area’s business landscape, Caruk-Ganczar said.
“We have this funding until March 2023, however, the whole plan is to make this a sustainable model and continue to have this in our community for the next decade. That is what we are working towards,” she said, adding the idea is to make Dauphin widely known as a great place for entrepreneurs.
“This is one of those types of projects that helps us work towards an entrepreneurial culture in our community,” she said.
“We are going to have a pride and joy space that we can talk about as that hub, or that place that you can go to get that support that you need in the community, as well as an opportunity to put us on the map as a supportive place for starting a new business.”