What I appreciate most about DECSA is meeting clients that pass through, and the client base here is diverse to say the least. Each person brings their own life story, and the optimism that radiates from them is uplifting, considering their challenging circumstances.
One particularly bright star gave me the opportunity to hold an interview with her shortly before graduating from the Ventures program. Kimberley shared her endeavours attempting to find employment, how she came across DECSA, what her first impressions were of Ventures, how positive of an experience the program was, and how she will use the skills she learned to improve her own business.
Kimberley is blind and in a wheelchair. As someone who became disabled later on, Kimberley was told she would no longer be able to live life the way she had originally. She was further discouraged when employers would turn her away based on false presumptions, such as mistaking her speech barrier as a mental handicap. Kimberley became determined to overcome her limitation; she wanted to use her experience to help others with similar barriers. She decided that the best way to do this was to become self-employed and offer the sorts of services that allow her to thrive independently.
Kimberley was referred to DECSA from Western Economic Diversification of Canada. At first, Kimberley wanted to avoid getting her hopes up; she came to Ventures to learn what it could offer. She prioritized finding a name for her company, learning how to advertise her services, and familiarizing herself with social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. The program offered much more than just what she was looking for. The facilitators were encouraging, and passed on useful “words of wisdom” to their students. Assistant facilitator Ike’s computer expertise helped students greatly, and Mona (a volunteer) dedicated a significant portion of time to each of the students.
Kimberley has been given the practical knowledge that will allow her to successfully operate her business. Without the help of the Ventures team she wouldn’t be able to integrate social media into her model, or use YouTube as a platform to post instructional videos. Through DECSA Kimberley learned that comradery and bravery are necessary virtues, and “fear of failure is not an option.”
Now that she’s graduated Kimberley remains dead-set on advancing her new company. She is eager to work with Community Relations Specialist Claire to establish her business on Facebook and Twitter, and Mona’s nephew to produce videos for YouTube. Kimberley has also contacted her provincial MLA and Apple for grants and supplies to kick-start her company.
“DECSA is accommodating and exciting,” Kimberley says. When asked if she would recommend DECSA to others, Kimberley said she would tell them, “Contact DECSA as soon as possible. DECSA’s right up there with PB&J with raisin bread!” She is now a dedicated ambassador for DECSA, and is exploring ways to pass forward the kindness done onto her.