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ICE,THE NEW BUSINESS INCUBATOR IS ON ITS WAY! It’s official! The construction on the Innovation Centre for Entrepreneurs (ICE) has begun. On October 15, John Regan, Elgin Business Resource Centre (EBRC) General Manager, along with Delia Reiche, ICE Business Development Consultant, welcomed several local dignitaries at ICE’s ground-breaking ceremony. Construction began shortly thereafter. Collocated with the EBRC and the Elgin/St. Thomas Small Business Enterprise Centre (SBEC) in St. Thomas, ICE will offer Elgin County’s aspiring entrepreneurs a place to accelerate their businesses. The facility is a mixed-use business incubator that will deliver the essential services and opportunities budding businesses

need to succeed. The Centre will provide administrative services, legal and accounting counselling, marketing assistance, management advice, education, flexible work space, and offices. “Giving ambitious small businesses the support needed to grow and flourish and giving them a professional location to do business from will really make a difference to many (businesses) that need to get out of their homes, garages, and basements and into a real facility,” said Delia Reiche. Potentially, ICE will be home to several different types of business, which may include retail, electronics, bio-tech, agricultural, or culinary. Be part of ICE! Right now, ICE is looking for clients. If you have a small business or plan to start one, then get the right support needed to give your business a fighting chance. For more information about ICE, its services or programs, contact John Regan or Delia Reiche at 519-633-7597. ICE is scheduled to open April 1, 2011.

Participating in the ground-breaking ceremony for the new ICE facility from left: John Regan, General Manager of EBRC; Alan Smith, General Manager of Economic Development for the County of Elgin; Susan Gardner, President of ICE; MP Joe Preston; Robert Wheeler, General Manager of St.Thomas EDC; and MPP Steve Peters.


EBRC Wins Healthy Workplace Award Business Expo - February 26, 2011 Success Story: Jean Macdougall’s Bellysling Helen LeFrank Entrepreneurial Award Meet the Staff

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EBRC WINS HEALTHY WORKPLACE AWARD “Wellness Works” is the Workplace Program of the Elgin St. Thomas Public Health. This Program is a Health Unit service for all workplaces in Elgin and St. Thomas. It is designed to support workplace wellness initiatives in small, medium, and large workplaces in all sectors. The Wellness Works team, in collaboration with Healthy at Heart Elgin, has developed an awards program to recognize local workplaces that demonstrate a commitment to employee health by incorporating a comprehensive wellness program into their work environment. On November 9, EBRC received a bronze award for its efforts towards creating a safe and healthy workplace through education and training, healthy staff development activities, and a contest pitting staff against the EBRC Board of Directors to see who could ‘virtually’ walk the Talbot Trail first. Our staff won! For further information on Wellness Works, visit Elgin St. Thomas Public Health at

PARTICIPATE IN THE 3RD ANNUAL BIZ EXPO The Elgin/St. Thomas Business Expo will be held on February 26 at the St. Anne’s Centre.Your business can participate and benefit by placing your products or services in front of more that 700 consumers. There is a new door prize sponsor this year - VIA Rail will give away two Windsor - Montreal Corridor Passes the day of the event.

For more information and registration: www. Marilyn at 519-633-7597 ext. 27.

Elgin/St.Thomas Business Expo February 26, 2011 St. Anne’s Centre, St.Thomas

Receiving the Healthy Workplace Award from left: Gordon Hall, EBRC Health and Safety Committee; Marilyn Crewe, EBRC CED Consultant; Debbie Stojkovic EBRC Health and Safety Committee; and Cynthia St John, Executive Director of Elgin St Thomas Public Health.

NETWORKING WEDNESDAYS Join one of our Networking Wednesday meetings and hear informative speakers deliver information you can use right away. Meetings are held at our offices at 300 South Edgeware Rd. the last Wednesday of every month from 5:00-6:30 pm. Registration is required. A small fee applies. Call 519-633-7597 ext 31. UPCOMING MEETINGS: JANUARY 12 – Trade Show Marketing Issues JANUARY 26 – Record Keeping for the Tax Man FEBRUARY 23 – Joy of Taxes


JEAN MACDOUGALL Retired nurse keeps on caring Jean Macdougall has seen a lot of changes in healthcare in her life-time. She also knows that some things don’t change - like the stress of pregnancy on a woman’s body. This 85 year old retired nurse knows that pregnant mothers put their bodies through a lot of stress so she designed a product to reduce the pull on abdominal muscles during pregnancy. The muscle strain from pregnancy weight and a changed centre of gravity causes back pain and other physical effects that can continue for years post-natal. Jean began production of the Bellysling to provide comfort and support for mothers-to-be. Helen LeFrank, former General Manager of EBRC, encouraged Jean to take the Self Employment program to receive the guidance and support needed for her product to succeed. That was more than five years ago and she still visits EBRC Business Counsellor, Pattie Steip, on a regular basis to ensure her financial record keeping is up to par. “Pattie also helps with business steps and business thinking!” Jean says. The BellySling is now sold in maternity stores and Jean has Internet sales to the US, Italy, and even a recent request from Australia. Still, Jean feels that promotion of her product is the most difficult part of her business. When Jean was ready to release the Bellysling she knew that a nod of approval was needed from an outside agency with authority. The Thames Valley Midwives Association gave the Bellysling the thumbs up which gave Jean the confidence to put the product into consumers’ hands. The information Jean received from EBRC has led her to market her product in target areas such as prenatal fairs hosted by the local health units. The Bellysling is a maternity support garment designed to relieve back pain during pregnancy by supporting the baby and lifting the weight off the muscles that attach at the small of the back.

Jean Macdougall is thankful for the support she receives from EBRC and Business Counsellor Pattie Steip to make the Bellysling a successful business venture! To learn more, visit

While marketing the Bellysling to pregnant moms, Jean heard husbands joking that they could use one too! Thus the Aline-a-Spine was born. This device alleviates back pain by centring body weight, as well as improving posture and balance using the same support principles as the Bellysling. Jean’s sewers fabricate products to order which allows for availability of specialty sizes. Advocating for health is the underlying purpose of all Jean does. She is currently working to introduce chiropractors to the Aline-a-Spine product which she believes will help maintain the corrective work they do. Word-of-mouth works and it can be slow in a niche market such as prenatal care, but Jean is not deterred. She uses the Internet to promote her product and its benefits. The website attracts customers from around the globe who see the importance of this maternity support. Even though she has been retired for 20 years, Jean is not slowing down. She believes, “When you are passionate about something, the work is not difficult.” For more information on the Bellysling:

Email: Phone: 519-782-4712 The SEB (Self-Employment Benefit) Program is funded through the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities.

SUPPORTING YOUTH IN THEIR ENTREPRENEURIAL ENDEAVOURS The Helen LeFrank Entrepreneurial Youth Fund supports youth under 29 years of age who are involved in entrepreneurship and/or business start ups. Each year applications are submitted to EBRC by Elgin County youth. Part-time and seasonal businesses are eligible. Grant amounts are up to $1000. This award honours Helen LeFrank, the long-serving General Manager of EBRC who retired in 2007. Helen was a keen promoter of small business and particularly encouraged and supported young people interested in starting a business. The EBRC Board feels this fund is a lasting tribute to help young people establish enterprises that will contribute to the economic health of our community. Further criteria and applications are available online at Deadline for application is February 15, 2011. Please direct any questions and completed applications to EBRC, Attention: Debbie Stojkovic at 519-633-7597 extension 31.


Gordon Hall, SBEC Coordinator and Business Counsellor

Gordon Hall brings a variety of skills and work experiences to EBRC’s Small Business Enterprise Centre (SBEC). From Community Economic Development at the Acadia Centre for Small Business & Entrepreneurship in Nova Scotia, to teacher and principal at the high school and community college level, to owning his own business, Gordon has the experience to assist with a variety of issues small businesses face.

Gordon Hall, SBEC Coordinator and Business Counsellor at EBRC, can be reached at or 519-633-7597 ext 39.

Through SBEC, Gordon works with clients from all walks of life as well as those participating in the Self Employment Benefit program. Summer Company students are also led through starting their own business under Gordon’s watchful eye. Within his busy schedule Gordon is also involved in the Business Expo committee, the Bridges to Better Business Conference, and Networking Wednesday events. Gordon is actively involved in the business community through Cwhamber of Commerce events across Elgin County and youth entrepreneurship discussions, including Summer Company in the high schools. The SEB (Self-Employment Benefit) Program is funded through the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities. The Elgin Advantage is brought to you by the Elgin Business Resource Centre in cooperation with:

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The Elgin Advantage  

December 2010 edition