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JUNE 2010

BUSINESS INCUBATOR ANNOUNCEMENT FOR ST.THOMAS & ELGIN COUNTY On May 7, 2010 Joe Preston, MP for Elgin-MiddlesexLondon, made an announcement that the government would provide $800,000 to create a Business Incubator for service, light manufacturing, and retail clients. The project will be funded through the Community Adjustment Fund, which is a two-year, $1-billion national program aimed at addressing the short-term economic needs of communities hit by the economic recession. The announcement came after months of negotiations between the St. Thomas EDC, the Elgin Business Resource Centre (EBRC), and the Government of Canada. The St. Thomas Business Incubator will be a mixeduse incubator, which will incorporate a number of clients from a variety of sectors. Business incubators help new small businesses gain better footholds when starting out by offering support such as a structured environment and essential resources like administrative assistance, meeting facilities, office space, and business counselling. All services are designed to encourage business development, sustainability, as well as create additional jobs. Despite thousands of job losses and closed businesses in the area, the entrepreneurial spirit and ambitions of many St. Thomas and Elgin County residents remain quite high. Over the past two years, hundreds of individuals have sought the help of the EBRC to start

up new businesses. Between 2008 and 2009, 102 small businesses were officially created in Elgin County. With the new St.Thomas Business Incubator, the EBRC will At St. Thomas City Hall welcoming the announcement, L to R: John Regan, EBRC be able to help Manager; Bob Wheeler, St.Thomas even more small General EDC General Manager; and Joe Preston, MP businesses, ensur- for Elgin-Middlesex-London. ing they get the proper start to launching and maintaining their business goals. “We’re very excited to partner with the St. Thomas EDC in helping new businesses develop and stay in the City of St. Thomas and Elgin County,” said Gayle Bogart, President of the EBRC. The services of the St. Thomas Business Incubator will be delivered and managed by the staff at the EBRC. To date, a site location for the incubator has not been announced.


2009 Business Expo Success New Members Join EBRC Board of Directors Networking Wednesdays Success Story: Kara Taylor of A Fine Design Buy Local, Buy Fresh Recipe Meet the Staff

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The second annual Business Expo was a huge success! People waited patiently for the doors to open with a large line up that crossed the front of the building and zig zagged through the parking lot. Over 675 people dropped by to learn more about local area businesses and see what they had to offer. A total Tommy Whites was just one of 53 business of 53 businesses that showed off their goods and services at were present at this year’s Business Expo. the Expo with many offering a draw for a door prize to lucky attendees. Congratulations to all winners.

The EBRC and its Board of Directors welcomed two new board members at our Annual General Meeting held March 30, 2010. Steve Walsh and Eric Loewen accepted the positions of Director and Youth Director respectively.

While attendance was free, donations were acScoops Cake displayed a variety of baked goods as examples of the company’s capabilicepted on behalf ties, along with free samples to attendees. of the United Way and the Caring Cupboard. Thank you, St. Thomas for donating generously. For the United Way, $178.94 was raised and for the Caring Cupboard, the donation was $212.55, along with lots of canned and packaged goods. At the Business Expo, the HST Seminar was also well attended with 55 registered participants.

Steve Walsh has a 34-year law enforcement background with the OPP in various postings across Ontario. His last position was as Detachment Commander for Wellington County, which has one of the largest OPP contracts in the Province. During his post, Mr. Walsh liaised with several levels of government, plus ran a sheep and cattle farm, and served as a Director with the Wellington Federation of Agriculture. Youth Director, Eric Loewen, demonstrated his entrepreneurial spirit last year as a Summer Company participant running his own business, Loewen Painting. Over the summer, Eric made his business a success and he continued to run it throughout the year when he went back to school. In addition to serving on the EBRC Board of Directors, Mr. Loewen also volunteers as an Ambassador for Elgin with Elgin Cultural Tourism and Transitions Town.

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. UPCOMING MEETINGS: JUNE 30 – Presenting Yourself Professionally, Toastmasters JULY & AUGUST – No meetings/summer holidays

Steve Walsh, Director on the EBRC’s Board of Directors.

Eric Loewen,Youth Director on the EBRC’s Board of Directors, wants to give the board a youthful view.


DESIGNED FOR SUCCESS – KARA TAYLOR After five years with Hayhoe Homes, the housing market fell on hard times and Kara Taylor’s staff job as an interior decorator was over. Not one to sit idle for long, Kara decided that the faraway dream of starting her own company doing what she loved most was closer than ever before. She had always mulled over the idea of being her own boss and now it was the right time to make it happen. In March 2009, Kara registered her business, A Fine Design, with the hopes of taking on freelance interior decorating and design consultant work in St. Thomas and Elgin area. By June, Kara visited Employment Services Elgin and was directed to the Self-Employment Benefit Program administered by the EBRC. With a little investigating, Kara decided the program had a lot to offer at just the right time in starting her business. “The program was a lot of work and sometimes difficult to balance with trying to get new freelance work at the same time, but it showed me a lot about organization and I got it done,” Kara said. Kara’s years with Hayhoe Homes helped build a solid reputation for her work, as well as a great rapport with local suppliers. Though Kara was released from her job and Hayhoe couldn’t afford to keep her on staff, the builder still needed her services. New home buyers turn to the assistance of a design consultant for help in choosing the right colours and layouts in every area of the home – from kitchens to exteriors to light fixtures and much more. While in the SEB program, Kara’s EBRC counsellor was Pattie Steip. “Pattie helped with income tax and making CPP contributions… she showed me how to be organized in accounting, but the most valuable information I received was about my business plan. It was a real eye opener and good reference for defining my target market and competition,” Kara added. Once she defined her competition, Kara realized that most other interior decorators had on-staff jobs with builders or retailers, just like Kara used to. She recognized that in her new position she was more flexible to take different jobs and work with multiple builders, particularly those smaller builders with limited or no

One of A Fine Design’s latest completed projects showcasing Kara’s interior decorating talents.View more from Kara’s portfolio on her website:

design staff available. Kara identified this need and the fact that other small new home builders would also be looking for her service. Successfully, Kara landed Hayhoe as her first big freelance contract, offering help with everything to do on the inside of a new home as well as the outside. Since opening A Fine Design, Kara has hit the pavement, networking, and introducing herself to other new home builders and suppliers. In one short year Kara has acquired Kara Taylor, Design Consultant and Owner of A Fine Design. a number of new 519-619-5272 or home builders in the area, as well as some private clients. To raise her company’s visibility, Kara has launched a website at to showcase her talents. She also has joined CDECA (Canadian Decorators’ Association), which represents decorators and design consultants across Canada, connecting them with prospective clients. Designed for success in the St. Thomas and area, A Fine Design’s services include: • New Home Selections (interior decorating assistance for new home builders and new home buyers) • New Home Merchandizing • Interior Décor Consultations • Home Staging The SEB (Self-Employment Benefit) Program is funded through the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities.

STRAWBERRY SWIRL 1 C graham wafer crumbs 1 tbsp brown sugar 1 C boiling water 1/2 C milk 2 C strawberries, cut up

1/4 C melted butter 1 pkg. strawberry gelatin (85 g) 1/2 lb. marshmallows 1 C cream, whipped (or 1 envelope whipped topping)

Directions: Mix graham wafer crumbs, butter, and brown sugar together. Press firmly into 8-inch square pan. Let cool. Stir strawberry gelatin into boiling water, chill until partially set. Combine marshmallows and milk in saucepan. Heat slowly until marshmallows are melted. Cool, stirring occasionally. If using whipped topping, make according to package directions. Fold in whipped cream or topping. Add berries to gelatin and swirl in marshmallow mixture. Pour over graham crust and chill. Makes 9 servings. Theresa St. Pierre, Clachan Women’s Institute. Flavours of Elgin IPM 2010 cookbook. Cookbook available at the EBRC.


ADMINISTRATIVE ASSISTANT, RONDA STEWART Ronda is one of the newest staff members at the EBRC. She works parttime in the Small Business Entreprise Centre (SBEC) greeting many of the new business entrepreneurs walking into the EBRC/SBEC. “Mostly people come in with an idea of what they want to do, but really want to know how we can help them; what resources do we have. They generally want to know how to get started,” Ronda says.

Ronda Stewart, Administrative Assistant at the SBEC can be reached at or 519-633-7597 extension 30.

Ronda directs traffic at the SBEC, showing clients the printed and electronic resources available to them for free and setting up follow-up appointments. She also provides general intake information and informs clients how to proceed next. “It’s very rewarding to see clients I helped on their intitial visit come back a second and third time as they work with counsellors to get their businesses off the ground. It’s exciting to watch them succeed,” she adds. Ronda is a former SEB participant and works parttime at her own business as a personal assistant for a few area companies.

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 EBRC is a proud sponsor of the Elgin-St.Thomas 2010 International Plowing Match:

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