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This success story recipient got funding because they took the first step and contacted our Centre to learn about their funding options. Although we cannot guarantee you will get funding, the more you know about others experiences the better your chances.

$18,900 for Alberta Husband and Wife Team, and their Badlands Products

$15,000 in cost-sharing from Agri-Food Processing Marketing Assistance; $3900 in wage training subsidies from MH Enterprises/Alberta Govt
Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunting
Retail Trade/ Services
Rosedale Station, Alberta

Government funding sought because natural care does not come naturally

It is interesting that all of the bath and body products from Nature’s Essential Garden, known for their soothing and therapeutic qualities, come to us from an area in Canada known as "the Badlands." Located in Southeastern Alberta, the area features deep canyons, desert flora, and striking landforms, and is sometimes referred to as a miniature version of the Grand Canyon. Who would have thought that the "100% immaculate and unaltered" mineral salts found 3,000 feet below the surface would make their way into our homes as 'Lavender Dreams', 'Citrus Blast', or 'Joint & Muscle Soak'?

"It just makes sense to use salt from Canada instead of importing salt from the other side of the planet," says owner Shelley Rymal. Together with her husband, Carl, they're committed to a low-impact business and lifestyle, with an office/storeroom in their very own backyard. With increasingly more consumers pushing for 'certified organic,' they offer a line of products that "have never been modified in any way other than by nature itself."

Operating under the umbrella of Sage Valley Marketing Ltd., their small business' website also points out the benefits of Canadian Glacier Mineral Salts, which are higher in calcium, magnesium, and potassium, and help support the natural repair and regeneration of the skin. With soap, candles, room mists, and massage oils thrown into the mix, they knew there was room to grow, and they set their sights on the much larger spa marketplace found in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, and elsewhere in Quebec.

Government backed financing helps small business reach new markets

After contacting the Centre for Small Business Financing, they became aware of the Alberta Food Processors Association (AFPA), a non-profit organization representing all segments of the food and beverage industry: growers, processors, retailers, foodservice buyers, and service suppliers. Having successfully applied to their Agri-Food Processing Marketing Assistance program, they were now eligible for cost-sharing to a maximum of $15,000 for Canadian markets, which went towards printing new (bilingual) labels for the French market, and paying for booth space in upcoming (non-consumer) tradeshows.

With business expanding, they looked to bring on additional staff, and again were tipped off to the possibilities of wage subsidies through the Alberta government. With the Workplace Training Program offered through MH Enterprises/Employment Services in Drumheller, Sage Valley was assisted with 70% of employee’s wages (up to a total of 428 hours) to offset the cost of training. As per the program's requirements, prospective employers must be unemployed, legal residents of Alberta, under-skilled, and have experienced difficulty in obtaining employment in this particular area because they need more specific job training.

With new trainees onboard and new market opportunities opening up outside the province, Rymal's final advice to aspiring entrepreneurs and new business owners is to "look under every rock." With the moon-like terrain of the Badlands as their backdrop and silent partner, the opportunities abound.


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