Carolyn Gibson works with StartUp Revelstoke, who are affiliated with Community Futures. (Zachary Delaney/Revelstoke Review)

Carolyn Gibson works with StartUp Revelstoke, who are affiliated with Community Futures. (Zachary Delaney/Revelstoke Review)

Three years of StartUp Revelstoke service

Carolyn Gibson has a list of businesses she’s helped get off the ground in Revelstoke

StartUp Revelstoke are hosting their monthly meetups again after having stopped over the pandemic.

For more than three years, StartUp Revelstoke has been in town helping the next group of business owners hone their skills to get their businesses off the ground. Backed by Community Futures, StartUp Revelstoke aims to connect entrepreneurs with the information and resources they need to succeed. The backbone of StartUp Revelstoke is Carolyn Gibson, who is a startup coach.

Initially, StartUp Revelstoke was part of a broader Canada-wide initiative called StartUp Canada. The mandate for StartUp Canada was to promote entrepreneurial pursuits in communities across Canada. What StartUp Revelstoke does differently from StartUp Canada, is going a step further than promotion. Gibson helps people become entrepreneurs.

“I always say that it’s like the best job ever,” said Gibson.

She explained what her role with StartUp Revelstoke looks like.

When a prospective business owner starts down the path of an entrepreneurial pursuit, Gibson said that it’s always exciting. Harnessing the individual’s energy is what Gibson specializes in.

“I get to sort of feed off of that [energy] but also control that energy a little bit,” she said.

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Starting a business is a thrill, but Gibson helps by ensuring that those starting out get off on the right foot. This, she says, comes from following a few business practices that she preaches…or rather teaches at Queen’s University in Ontario.

Gibson received her MBA from Queens and has continued to help as an advisor for their MBA program. She helps students in the program who want to start their own businesses get off the ground, including writing their business plan. Gibson takes the same expertise from her work with the university and applies to Revelstoke’s business community who mightn’t have formal training with StartUp Revelstoke.

Whether the business is started or not, Gibson helps entrepreneurs with their next step for free. For new businesses, she helps provide information first.

“I really help them understand what it takes to start that business,” said Gibson.

She advises the people she works with on what research needs to be done, what questions about their business need to be answered, and how to get it all going, including which licenses are needed. Gibson also advises her clients, no matter the size of their prospective business, to follow the frameworks that she works with in an academic setting.

“They’re there for a reason,” she said.

Naturally, there are some things that Gibson mightn’t know about different kinds of businesses. When that happens, she connects the entrepreneur with someone who can answer their question.

Working in Revelstoke with StartUp Revelstoke for the past three years, Gibson has helped more than 180 clients, and helped create more than 50 separate business plans. Among the successes are Holm Coffee Company, Jackalope Bikes, Capra Press, and Revy Web Design.

In her time with StartUp Revelstoke, Gibson has gained invaluable insight into Revelstoke’s business community, which she said is “100 per cent supportive of entrepreneurs.”

“I get this feeling that a lot of people want to purchase products or services from the people who live here,” said Gibson.

She pointed to Revelstoke’s restaurants as proof of her point. With almost exclusively locally owned and operated places –especially downtown – Revelstoke is unique in its community-focused businesses.

Gibson hopes that the future of Revelstoke’s business reflects the same values that currently define it.

“I really, really hope it is going to remain local, and entrepreneurial. Because I think that’s what gives this community that culture, that feel, that vibe,” said Gibson.

Gibson posts the entrepreneur meetups on the StartUp Revelstoke Facebook page and on the community page. No matter the stage of business, she encouraged anyone interested to reach out.

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