Thursday, 12 May 2016 10:05

JMH and Co. comes through for EDC students

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Justine Mann of Little Owl Learning Centre, has formed a licensed child care business able to accommodate up to 52 children daily. Justine Mann of Little Owl Learning Centre, has formed a licensed child care business able to accommodate up to 52 children daily. Contributed

The Alberta economy is currently in a fragile state. With employment sometimes being hard to come by, there are people who are trying to make their own breaks.

Johnston Morrison Hunter and Co. (JMH and Co.) have supported the Medicine Hat College’s Entrepreneur Development Centre’s (EDC) Summer Company program since 2011 and this year was no different.
This year, four projects received $10,000 each following a competition of presentations of business plans in front of a panel of judges laden with business and college leaders, earlier this spring. The official presentation and celebratory breakfast took place in Centennial Hall May 6.
The winners of the bursary competition, six in all, were elated with the news of the bursary. The recipients included: Justine Mann of Little Owl Learning Centre, a licensed child care business; Dylan Spetz, Matthew Wass and Tanner Peterson of TMD Seeds, a native seed harvesting and selling company serving the environmental reclamation sector; Daniel Wilson of Wilson Tech, an aerial photography service and Beth Fodor, the owner of E. Marie Photography.
Mann is a single mom and the $10,000 will go a long way toward getting her Medicine Hat business dream off the ground. She hopes to run a day care which will have 52 little visitors. She worked in a childcare centre and had her own day home for a while. Her experience with looking after children in different capacities has always come naturally.
“I really had to work on learning the business side as I definitely have the passion for working with children,” says Mann, who was also an honour roll student. “Here, I expanded my knowledge of the business side and with the instructors’ help I was able to find the answers to many questions I had.
“There were a lot of late nights, hard work and being a full-time student and a single mom definitely had me busy ...  as they say, dreamers are the ones who don’t sleep ... When I heard I won and to accomplish that, I was just proud of myself and my hard work.”
As for Fodor, she was excited to win and having talked with numerous people about her business at the breakfast was enjoyable.
“I was overwhelmed when I heard I won,” explained Fodor who as a visual communications student was always interested in photography, but with what she learned about various computer design programs, website building and other artistic opportunities, feels this business is the way to go. She wanted to get a well-rounded education and so Fodor did her research and liked what MHC had to offer. It was everything she hoped it would be and more.
Fodor, a native of Lacombe, also has an easygoing personality which lends itself to make them feel at ease as well as try to showcase the undisturbed and natural settings for her subjects.
“It’s not stressful. I end up being a friend to them because they’re trusting me to get (their real essence),” she said.
As for the business side, she will mentor with a photographer friend in Calgary, where Fodor herself wants to be based. However Fodor wants to keep her ties to southeast Alberta by still maintaining some   clients from the Cypress Hills.
For Wilson, the support from the college was also beneficial.
“Having an idea and putting it down on paper is one thing, but to figure it out is another. I got a lot of support from the college,” explained Wilson. “Tracy (Stroud, MHC business manager) and I sat down and figured it out. The idea of doing the company was a little bit entrepreneurial, but I have an interest in (remotely piloted vehicles). I’ve done photography for a while too.”
The idea is to use the drone, which is armed with a camera to assist in agriculture and real estate work.
The TDK Seeds trio works well together as they each have civil based engineering, agricultural, environmental and administrative expertise that will benefit the company in some manner. 
“It’s unbelievable, all this effort and time to come and do research and a business plan, to (get a $10,000 bursary), is great,” explained Spetz.
Each were grateful for not only the bursary, but the work of their instructors in helping them with their education and business plans.
JMH and Co. gifted the Medicine Hat College $250,000, with the college seeing $50,000 a year over five years. This gift was handed out in April 2011 and this is the final year of the program.
(For more on Wilson Tech and TMD Seeds, check out an additional story on Page B1 in the Farm News section of this week's edition of Prairie Post.)

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor