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.
After graduating with her 2200 hour diploma from ICT Northumberland College in 2004, and becoming a member of the Natural Healthcare Practitioners of Canada, Jill Whitfield worked in various atmospheres such as university sports clinics, physiotherapy clinics and spas. After gaining the valuable experience through past work opportunities, Jill decided to go out on her own and become her own boss while starting Repose – Massage.
Repose offers massage treatments in a comfortable atmosphere in Terrace, British Columbia that promotes relaxation and healing. Jill’s goal is to keep treatments a little more affordable to help support her community and those that are single income families, low income or without extended benefits.
Earlier this year, Jill participated in our ThriveNorth Business Challenge which she explains as being an opportunity that made her focus on what it was she was trying to accomplish, and put pressure on her to really define what Repose was to her and what it had to offer the community. “The support was second to none with options to talk with different coaches as well as the other finalists. The challenge itself helped me understand the business planning process and how to create and articulate my business plan. It made me think a lot farther into the process,” she explained. Her participation in the Business Challenge led her to being runner-up in the Best New Business category and taking home a prize of $2,500.
We caught up with Jill to find out what she has done with her prize money and a bit more about Repose.
What do you plan on using your prize money for?
The prize money was spent on new equipment, some marketing and to make the space a welcoming atmosphere.
Why did you feel the need for a business like yours in Terrace?
I felt Terrace was in need for affordable massage therapy, especially for the clients that don’t have extended benefits to help take care of themselves. The community of therapists in Terrace is extremely busy with long waits, by opening I am hoping that will relieve some of that stress.
What has been your biggest learning curve so far with starting a business?
My biggest learning curve would be marketing… figuring out what areas actually reach my target market.
Which organizations in your community have helped you and your business?
Many organizations have helped me with support. I work within The Yoga Studio so without a doubt they are my biggest supporter, Transcend Fitness is another amazing community of women that continue to inspire me, Futurpreneur continues to support me through advice, support and mentoring, and that’s just naming a few.
Any advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Keep it simple, stay passionate and surround yourself with people who raise you up!