Heartwood wins $4000 grant

The Current reported the launch of Heartwood Restaurant in Combermere last fall, the product of two sisters sharing a dream to create a gathering place where family and friends can enjoy good food and music. We followed-up with co-owners Becky McPhee and Shanti Nordholt-McPhee about their progress, spurred by what Shanti had posted on social media (accompanied by the above photo of Becky):

So incredibly proud of my big sister! Becky took the initiative to take the Starter Company Plus program through Enterprise Renfrew County which is a six week series of business training workshops. The goal being to learn about starting a business, as well as to be considered for a $4000 grant. So excited to share that she completed the program, did her presentation in front of a committee of economic developers, wowed them and GOT THE GRANT!!! You rock girl!!

The sisters said they received a lot of support from family and friends, and the positive response from the local community and their social media followers was very welcome. Shanti said she was happy to hold down the fort while Becky attended the program.

Starter Company Plus program

Becky had already done a bookkeeping course so she “had a bit of a handle on accounts” but the cashflow projections and business plan elements of the training were invaluable. Although she invested a lot of time attending the weekly classes and completing homework assignments, she said the program gave her free access to professional advice from experts: financial adviser, accountant, lawyer, money manager for personal finances, insurance broker, marketers. She said they answered very direct questions. For example, last fall Heartwood Restaurant’s liquor licence application was pending (now obtained) so she received expert insurance advice on liability issues. She said, “He really knew his stuff about my type of business.”

Becky’s advice for would-be business owners is to definitely sign up for this type of program. She explains,

Even if you had a background in all these things, it still is helpful to talk to people who have a lot of really current information. It could be a refresher course for somebody who has been in business for a while…. The information you get from [the program] is so valuable. Learning all that just helps make the business better.

She said the mentoring aspect of the program was available to each participant and she remains in contact with the program mentors at Enterprise Renfrew County. She can ask questions and be referred to specialist advisers. They also give guidance on next steps for the business and other funding opportunities.

Becky said that networking and sharing stories with the other participants was also invaluable.


Featured photo submitted

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  1. Pingback: September 29 deadline for Valley entrepreneurs | Madawaska Valley Current

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