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.
April Gibson has always enjoyed the company of seniors. In fact, it was the time she spent supporting her grandfather in Calgary following a hip surgery that spurred her business idea.
Helping Hands for Seniors provides non-medical and driving services designed to support and assist seniors with day-to-day activities. From transport for errands and appointments, to companionship and housekeeping, April’s goal is to bring meaning and fulfillment to the lives of senior residents in her hometown of Telkwa, B.C.
“I have always enjoyed the company of seniors and find my time with them extremely rewarding and fulfilling,” says April.
“Seeing them smile and having a connection with the elders in my community is rewarding to myself and to them.”
When a job posting for The Meadows (an assisted living complex) was listed in the newspaper, April knew instantly that this was the position for her. She spent time here, and coupled with her time with her grandfather, saw the value of providing a local service like hers.
“Being with my Grandpa opened my eyes to the fact that he is alone most of the time, and communication is a big key in keeping seniors from feeling depressed,” says April.
“I now call my Grandpa on a regular basis just to say hi and see how he is… I have always liked to be around seniors, and listen to their stories of their childhood, or even their day-to-day lives.”
Starting a business also provides April with the flexibility she needs in her schedule to balance work and family.
“I am a mom of three with a husband that works in the mining industry on a two weeks in and two weeks out schedule. My shift hours made it difficult for me to find childcare after 5pm, and I knew I really wanted to help the seniors within my community, but just needed a little guidance to get me on the right path of doing it for myself and my family.”
April was able to find guidance and support through ThriveNorth, connecting with Community Coordinator, Marko, to develop her business.
“Talking with Marko from ThriveNorth is always uplifting, and he helps you realize that you are on the right path,” says April.
“We are very straightforward with one another and it’s nice to bounce ideas back and forth.”
Her advice for others looking to start a business?
“Do your research and know its something that you really want to do. Never give your ideas away and be careful who you tell your secrets to. You have put all this effort in – don’t let someone else take all the glory. Be smart.”
Visit Helping Hands for Seniors on Facebook to find out more