Two entrepreneurs from Rosthern are among four finalists in the annual ‘Just Watch Me!’ video contest. Continue reading “Rosthern entrepreneurs make cut in ‘Just Watch Me’ contest”
A sweet win went to Sweet Crete Décor of Warman from the ‘Just Watch Me’ video contest on February 17. They announced that owner Janie Rae Gaudet, won the Start-up Entrepreneur award for Saskatchewan. Gaudet said it was “pretty cool” to win.
“It feels fantastic! You’ve got so many people supporting you that you didn’t know,” she said. Sweet Crete Décor is a business Gaudet started last year that creates decorative artistic concrete pieces.
Her video was chosen by a panel of judges from the Saskatchewan and Manitoba business community. Gaudet won a cash prize of $250 as well as business prizes to assist in her start-up success. Membership in the Warman Chamber of Commerce was paid as well as her membership in Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan. She also got a couple of passes to workshops presented by Square One, a government business resource centre.
Just Watch Me is an initiative of the Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program (EDP). The organization helps people with disabilities or ongoing health conditions start businesses in rural Manitoba and Saskatchewan. EDP programs are delivered by Community Futures, which provides business advice, training, mentorship and access to repayable business loans for viable businesses.
In 2010, Gaudet suffered a spinal cord injury when a ladder she was on fell over. Since then she’s been trying to get her life back on track. “At first they told me I would probably be completely paralyzed,” she said. But her prognosis turned out to be better than that. She is partially paralyzed and uses a wheelchair when out and about. At home she is able to get up out of the chair at times.
She spent last summer and fall doing research and development, figuring out different recipes for different projects. She now has a line of products available.
“We offer products like bowls, high-end sinks and art as well as wall panels and backsplashes with plans to expand to water wall features.”
Gaudet said she’s always been very artistic and loves creating. She got interested in concrete through her brother who is a homebuilder. “I started going to the World of Concrete Expo in Vegas every year and it really opened my eyes to the amazing potential there is working with concrete. And I thought this is something I can do in my own garage to start with.”
There are lingering psychological effects from her injury, like self-esteem issues.
“That’s something I have to work on. I’m naturally very optimistic and a very ‘get-her-done’ kind of girl. I’m not as confident as I was. I’m confident in my stuff, but not as confident in myself.” She says people do look at you differently if they first meet you in a wheel chair. She suspects they might be unsure of her abilities.
“I’m working on getting those voices to quiet down in the back of my head that try and tell me I can’t do something. We all do that whether we’re healthy or not,” she said.
Gaudet’s 24-year-old daughter and her husband live door next to her. She also has a seven-year-old daughter to care for and a husband to be there for.
Next year, Gaudet is going to try for the Just Watch Me “Seasoned Entrepreneurs” category. She has started businesses before but not with a proper plan.
“Starting up a new business and creating something is always very exciting. Winning this award makes the whole thing feel less daunting.”
“There is a lot to know about concrete. It is a life force on its own,” she said. Maybe working with concrete and winning this award will help Gaudet build back more of her own life force. Just watch her.
“Knowing you’ve got so many people supporting you, knowing you’ve got a cheering section and family support. It feels fantastic,” she said.