Community Futures Sunrise has a new General Manager, Andria Brady.
Brady has been serving the organization on its board of directors for about 20 years. She has many years experience running businesses in the non-profit sector, and also runs her own side business.
"I've just always solidly believed in the organization and the good that we do, not only just in Weyburn, but in the whole southeast, because our region is the whole southeast part of the province," she shared. "There's so many businesses that we've helped through the years, whether it's with loans or business advice and support or some workshops and training. To see those businesses still be in business, and succeeding is pretty cool."
"To drive through all of the communities, and see those businesses, or hear their names, or see them on social media, that's pretty cool to know that we maybe had a little hand, a little part of that, right? Of course, they're doing the hard work, but just to know that we had some part in their success is a really great feeling."
She said Community Futures is a national program that has been around for more than 30 years, with 267 offices across Canada and 13 here in Saskatchewan serving rural areas rather than larger cities.
Brady said businesses who work with their organization have a higher probability of being in business three and five years down the road than one that doesn't use their services. From loans, to succession plans, to marketing, Brady said business should be geared toward helping someone do what they were born to do, and what they're best at doing.
"Often you go into business because you're really, really good at what you do or you have a really, really good idea. But you may not be really, really good at doing the bookkeeping, or looking after the social media and the marketing," she noted. "It's my belief, and certainly others' [belief], that you should always do what you're really good at, and then have someone help or hire someone to do the other things."
Brady said some entrepreneurs need experts in other departments, while others just need to know they're on the right track.
"As a business owner, to start out, it is probably a humbling experience for many," she commented. "For some people it is overwhelming, even like where to start."
Business, she said, seems to be in full force at this time of year in the southeast.
"Even through the pandemic, we were really surprised that there were lots of people starting up businesses," she shared. "Sometimes that was, maybe someone had a little hobby that they then turned into a business because circumstances changed or they had more time. It certainly ebbs and flows, but yeah, there's been lots of activity lately."
"Some might say that we're in a downturn, or the economy is not that great, but there's always lots of creativity."
"The people in this part of the province, and in Saskatchewan in general, are resilient, and they will find something to do, and they will take that chance, and start that business," she stated. "I don't see that changing, and we're just there to support in any way that we can."
Not only has Brady served as board chair of CF Sunrise, she was also on the provincial board with CF Saskatchewan and involved with some different initiatives therein, and a few years ago she took a job at the organization in the economic development role, becoming involved in creating the award-winning Go Digital Sask Program.
The focus on rural centres, rather than big cities, is what she said attracted her to the organization in the beginning.
"That's really what sort of kept me interested and involved all these years, is assisting people who are starting businesses. I mean, that's a really brave thing that people do when they start a new business, so they need all the support they should get. All the support they deserve."
Brady shared her favourite part of the job: "Every day is different, because every business owner is unique, and has a different idea, or different challenges, or different successes. So it's very exciting."
Edward Plumb, CF Sunrise Board Chairperson, shared in a recent press release: “We are delighted that Andria will transition into the role of General Manager with Community Futures Sunrise. She has been with the organization for many years, in many different roles, and we are fortunate to have her take on the management role with the office. The Sunrise team, under her leadership, will continue the great work they’ve done for small businesses and communities in the southeast region."