In 2013 four aspiring entrepreneurs — Meg Pettipas, Farhat Sultana, Micheal McGarry and Sharon Lazette — decided to open their store as a worker co-operative, meaning that the company is owned and democratically managed by its Worker-Owners. Equipped with a business plan and backgrounds in community development, nutrition, sustainable energy and the alternative health industry, Dandelion Foods’ founders sensed a good reception from their town’s blossoming population of health-conscious retirees and young families. Start-up funding included equal contributions from each founder, followed by money raised from local investors, the co-op movement and a business loan from the Valley Heartland Community Futures Development Corporation in nearby Smiths Falls. As a community-based, nonprofit organization funded by FedDev, Valley Heartland provides entrepreneurs in Lanark County and North Leeds access to funding, training and mentorship.
Upon being accepted as an Amplify client, Meg Pettipas explained that two Launch Lab Entrepreneurs in Residence met monthly with her team: “The meetings were very well structured, with clear action items. They mentored us in a very professional, courteous way. No issue or question was too small to mention. We now understand our financials much better, and have a thorough understanding of how marketing plans translate into revenue projections. This created a planning window that looks out 18 months.”
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Valley Heartland CFDC
1 (613) 283-7002