When I first brewed up the idea of opening a play café, my brain was overwhelmed with questions. How do I incorporate my business? How do I negotiate a commercial lease? Zoning? Permits? Taxes? Oh my!
The “how do I’s” were endless. I had spend many hours planning what I wanted Chickadee Family Café to be, but there were a number of hurdles I first needed to jump over before making this dream a reality.
To help answer some of these questions, I went to the Halton Region Small Business Center. The amazing, helpful folks there walked me through the process of creating a solid business plan.
Then they suggested I apply for the Starter Company Plus Program, a 5-month program that provides entrepreneurship training with a special bonus of an opportunity to apply for a $4,500 grant, the carrot at the end of the program!
Only 10 businesses in the cohort would be selected to compete for the grant and 7 of those would win $4,500 each.
Opening a café is no cheap endeavour, and the money would provide a much needed influx of cash.
So, for the next six months I attended workshops and devoted my time to my business plan. I then stood in front of a group of people I had never met before – bankers, lawyers and city officials, and presented my business plan to them. Think Dragons’ Den in Halton.
I had no idea what their reactions would be to a play café in Halton Region. Would they see the vision I have of a café that puts families first? Would they see a need for a space where kids could play and parents could relax and connect with other parents in their community? Would they understand the community-focused business I was trying to build?
Just a few hours later, they emailed to tell me I had been selected as a grant recipient.
Wow! This group of people who had never heard my name before and who knew nothing about Chickadee Family Café other than what I was able to pitch to them in just a few minutes, decided that my little play café concept was worth supporting. They believed in the vision, they saw the need and they understood.
I am so thankful, honoured and proud to say that Chickadee Family Café is a recipient of the Halton Starter Company Plus Grant. The funds received will be well spent towards creating a space that both kids and parents can enjoy.
Stay tuned for updates on how I am using the money from this grant to bring Chickadee Family Café to life!