In December 2019, the ThriveNorth program successfully completed its five-year mandate. Managed by Futurpreneur Canada, the program helped young entrepreneurs in Northern B.C. launch and grow their businesses by connecting them with resources, financing and mentorship.
Nathan Hoffart, registered speech-language pathologist, had always wanted to run his own business. He had been following Futurpreneur Canada since its early days as the Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF), and it was one of his life goals to take the leap into entrepreneurship. Upon graduating from the University of Victoria with a minor in Business, he knew that his end goal was to one day run his own speech therapy clinic.
Nathan had already started seeing private clients when he found out about the ThriveNorth Business Challenge that was being held by Futurpreneur Canada in conjunction with the BG Canada. He knew instantly that this was the catalyst he needed to start achieving his goal and ended up winning the Best Social Enterprise Idea category. This category was created for a business at any stage that uses a for-profit model to solve social and/or environmental issues.
Before opening his business, the biggest learning curve Nathan had was getting all the business management stuff right, and time management—two struggles that many new entrepreneurs often face. “Unfortunately these are not things that just go away,” Nathan shared. “They are something you need to work on every day.”
Certain products are what helped Nathan overcome the initial challenges he had when starting his business. Sidekick by HubSpot is one of his favourite tools that helps him track all his emails and lets him know when and who has opened them. Outside of tools like Sidekick, Nathan shared the importance of realizing that you can’t do everything yourself. “Find the people you need to help you, and if there is no one in your area, then outsource using Elance.com or something similar,” Nathan suggested.
In one to three years, Nathan would like to see his business grow into a multi-professional clinic that could offer professional therapy services across Northwest British Columbia. When chatting with him, he really emphasized how helpful his financing and mentorship was that he received through Futurpreneur Canada and also the ThriveNorth Business Challenge. “Getting the opportunity to connect, network and make new friends at the Business Challenge was invaluable,” Nathan shared. “I think that kick-starting my business with Futurpreneur set me up for success.”
Nathan’s business is based out of Terrace, British Columbia and specializes in speech, articulation, phonology, accent training, stuttering, voice, public speaking and alternative and augmentative communication. Nathan also works with clients that have language disorders, syndrome disorders, brain injuries or have suffered from strokes.