Another wonderful success story from a Vancouver small business owner we are sharing with you today.
Vanessa from Vancouver B.C. jumped for joy when her local flower shop was able to get the news from the funding agency notifying her that her funding application for a government grant was approved. In fact, Vanessa was able to obtain a government grant for $22,700 to help her hire and train her staff.
We were lucky enough to spend some time with Vanessa and have her share her experience with us while starting her business, searching for funding and through the entire application process.
Hope you are able to gain some insight into government funding from this Vancouver based flower shop and that Vanessa's advice can take you the step towards funding that you may need.
How long have you been in business?
I started in spring of 2015, so not too long. I'm still in the startup stage, but the idea for the business was real a few years back while I worked as an assistant manager in a flower shop.
What were the issues you faced when starting up?
Money. I knew exactly what I had to do since I pretty much ran a shop already, but the cost of rent, the equipment and my staff was all o borrowed money with interest rates from the bank that just kept adding up. If I had more money, it would have definitely helped me a lot.
What would you do different if you could?
I think that I would have looked for funding a lot sooner if I knew that it existed from the government. That is definitely something that I would do different.
When did you realize you needed help?
After I needed to hire another person on my team and I realized that for the first few weeks that I would have to train them, I would have to invest more money and not make any money from them directly helping on the sales floor of the shop and dealing with custom orders. I needed money.
What are the steps you took to get help for your business?
I tried borrowing money from my family, my friends, used up all of my credit cards, line of credit, traded in my car for a older car, got a bank loan, hired a business consultant and eventually came o CanadaStartups for help.
How did you find out about government funding?
While looking for help online I ended up on the CanadaStartups.org website. This is where I was involved in a pretty long discussion with one of the live agents about funding. They were pretty much educating me on the possibility of funding from the government. I took the bait, and a few months later im back here as a success story.
Did you try other funding/financing options?
I did. I mentioned earlier I tried family, friends, personal credit cards, crowdfunding sites, bank loans, pretty much everything. But nowhere could I get enough to help me do what I needed, especially when it comes to asking for more then a few grand.
What is the criteria you had to meet to get funding?
When I applied for the funding program I had to provide 3 months worth of financials of my business and I had to be in business for more than a year. I also had to create a business plan, which I didn't have, but had created with the Business Plan Tool you guys offer. I also had to provide a projected financial statement of how my business could perform if I had the help I hired.
What was the application/approval process like?
It was pretty simple. CanadaStartups gave me the information on the program I needed to contact, which I did. I was called in to a interview where I had to explain my business and discuss with a agency consultant about what my plan was, what I needed the money for and how I would benefit. I sort of did like a elevator pitch with him. Following that, I had a few phone calls with him back and forth, providing him with all details he asked me to provide and that was it. It was actually very casual and I didn't feel nervous about it.
How long until you got the funding?
I applied 3 months ago and I knew that I would get approved within the first month. After that it was just a waiting game until i got my money.
What will you do next?
Now that I have access to the funding database you provide and I sort of know the process, I will continue to apply for other funding programs, as well as use the money I got to get my business moving forward.
What is your advice to other entrepreneurs in Vancouver and across Canada?
My advice to others would be to get the help you need right away. Don't wait and don't borrow yourself into too much debt. If you need help with funding, this funding database really helped me. If y
We hope that Vanessa's experience applying and obtaining funding motivates you to take the next step and search for funding for your own small business. Maybe you can be a part of our success story topics.