Local Entrepreneurs Learn, Share, and Seek Funding at Annual Event

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Local Entrepreneurs Learn, Share, and Seek Funding at Annual Event

Marilyn Crewe, EDO for the Town of Neepawa, calls What’s the Big Idea her favourite event of the year. A lot of what comes through the EDO’s office is to facilitate large scale business opportunities, but this event lets Crewe connect with the local community and help homegrown talent flourish. While her office is always available to offer resources and supports to anyone looking to start a business, this one day a year she organises presentations from provincial organisations, small business services, and local funders to give entrepreneurs every chance of success.

This year’s attendees and presenters include Futurpreneur, a national, non-profit organization that supports aspiring business owners aged 18-39; Community Futures Westman, North Forge, a start-up incubator; and the Women’s Enterprise Centre. Also presenting are local business success stories, both those who have been in business for decades and those who have started since the inception of What’s the Big Idea, and a representative from MNP to talk about accounting for small business.

On the other side of the equation are this year’s four entrepreneurs who have registered to attend and promote their start-ups.There was an opportunity for each of them to not only present to the event but also network with attendees and discuss their ideas.

Jesse Kaiser demonstrated his android mobile app called Byters, an educational game that has already been completed and beta tested and which he hopes to launch soon. Currently the app is limited to android, and Kaiser hopes to attract some investment to not only allow him to publish the game but also port it to iOS and potentially other operating systems.

Porrok Repair Service was launched in 2021 and offers servicing for agricultural equipment both on-site and in his shop. As owner Jamie Porrok describes it, he can do anything a dealer can do, which prevents rural residents from having to haul equipment into town, or further, to conduct repairs. For Porrok, the event offers them not only resources and funding, but also a good day’s knowledge of essential small business practices.

A recent immigrant from the Philippines, Meriam Virudazo has begun operating a formal wear rental business, which also does some event decoration work. All of Virudazo’s clothing is shipped in from the Philippines, and the business is currently operated out of her home with Facebook being her primary avenue for marketing. She says she’s looking forward to hearing from the experiences of people who’ve done this before to learn from them.

Finally, the Garlic Guys, a duo from the Kelwood area, are just finishing their second year of growing organic garlic which they sell through markets in Neepawa. Some of the challenges they’ve faced so far have included producing sufficient product to meet the needs of the market and being at the mercy of the weather for their product. In addition to their primary product, they also showed some samples of directions the business could potentially take as they grow, including items such as canned or dehydrated scapes and jars of minced garlic. They hope the event will help them get the word out about their product and potentially open up new markets.


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Video Upload Date: November 8, 2022

As Neepawa and area’s local access television station, NACTV has been serving the community since 1977. The station is a community-owned not-for-profit organisation that broadcasts 24 hours a day and reaches homes throughout Manitoba and Canada on Bell ExpressVu 592, MTS Channel 30/1030, and WCG 117 as well as streaming online at nactv.tv.

NACTV’s content is primarily filmed and produced by local volunteers and focuses on issues, activities, achievements, sports, and news by, about, and of interest to our community.  

Neepawa is located in western Manitoba, about two hours west of Winnipeg and 45 minutes southeast of Riding Mountain National Park.


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