Introducing Curtis

Have you noticed how clean things have become lately? It has been almost two months since Curtis started work at the makerspace and (co)space.

Curtis came to the organization thanks to a new partnership with Challenge Disability Resource Group. (co)space & YuKonstruct gratefully accepted an invitation recently to be honored for the success of our partnership with Challenge at their upcoming Annual General Meeting on June 14th!

“We support and promote self-starters, entrepreneurship and innovation in the North and consider this success story as another win. Curtis graduated from Challenge’s Employ Ability Skills Program this spring and started with us the following week. THIS is what we do!” Says Lauren Manekin Beille, (co)space’s Director of Coworking.

We interviewed Curtis and here’s what had to say about his role:

Curtis, what is your role at (co)space & YuKonstuct?
I am a proud janitor for the spaces. The dirtier it is, the better I clean!

Why is this job important to you and the organization?
It keeps both spaces open, welcoming and immaculate. It’s working because I received a compliment last Wednesday. The person said, ‘Wow – since you’ve been here the place is so clean. I appreciate all the things you’ve been doing. You do great work and I appreciate you.” That made me feel really good. Also, everyone says hello and gives me high-fives here.

Tell us about your work ethic.
My father has been a strong influence. He works at his job and continues to work at home. He’s always kept busy and never sat around. My motto today is “Safety – no running on the job, Quality – always aim to do better work, and Quantity – do more work than the day before.”

What did you learn at Challenge to prepare you for your business venture?
They taught me to be articulate. Before I spoke with my hands and now I use my words. I did so well that I won the “Most Reliable” Award because I was never late.

Do you have any advice for people in making the leap to being a self-starter?
Keep busy, have a good frame of mind to push forward, commit to always showing up, and be better than the day before. Finally, always smile because it goes a long way.

(co)space’s coworkers: Michel

Meet the Makers is a series of interviews to help you get to know the people who are building YuKonstruct’s makerspace. With lots of interesting members at (co)space, we wanted to broaden our interviews to include them!  We now have the (co)space’s coworkers interviews. Here’s Michel’s.

Michel is a young water sciences specialist currently teaching at the Yukon College. At (co)space, Michel has found an ideal setting to network and develop his entrepreneurial idea: Duteau Bioresource Contracting. This environmental consulting business caters to agriculture, mining, forestry and urban development clients in the Yukon.

Michel, what made you go into business for yourself? 

I have always had a strong entrepreneurial drive. I was raised in the midst of a thriving business, my parents being agricultural entrepreneurs. I always admired self-starters, and want to make a personal contribution to the society and share ideas. I also am disinclined to ‘’corporate culture’’, where the individual’s development and well-being is subordinated to a company’s – a balanced lifestyle is a strong value of mine.

How did you start your company? 

I started throwing ideas on papers a number of years ago. Last summer, I started organizing these ideas towards a coherent business definition (what services I wanted to offer, to whom, etc.). I was slowly making strides towards a business plan. In the last few months, I registered my business with the authorities (e.g. YG, City of Whitehorse, WCB) and developed formal marketing tools (website, brochures, etc.). Networking is a big part of a start-up, and I am now actively offering my services and looking for contracts.

Why do you love being an entrepreneur? 

What I love the most about being an entrepreneur is that I can instill my personal views onto my work, through a personalized approach. Hence, you can share your values and ideas and imprint an impetus onto societal development. For instance, I have a strong care for the environment and my work can contribute to a sound development of the natural resources, through stewardship and adapted technical means.

What advice do you have for other Yukon small business starters?

Get the word out! Networking really is core. Ask advice to your friends, family, co-workers, fellow professionals, and experienced people. Seek feedback on your ideas, and incorporate it in your enterprise development.

What do you like about (co)space?

Working from (co)space has helped me focus on my duties – I used to work from home, where there always are plenty of distractions. It also helped me in keeping a sound schedule. Having people that you can chat with, bounce ideas against and share the mood with is a huge plus.

Startup in Residence at (co)space

Wes from Clearbanc wrote about their time up here for the Startup in Residency program:

“I work for Clearbanc, a financial tech startup building a bank for freelancers and the self-employed. For the last two weeks, we were privileged to occupy the seat of “entrepreneur in residence” at (co)space.

(For readers outside of Whitehorse, (co)space is a coworking space in Whitehorse, Yukon territory, Canada).

For most of the working hours, we occupied the floor above (co)space (dropping in below periodically for coffee and beer); this space was well equipped for our team. I was energized as if at a hackathon, excited at having a different level of focus and presence from the team and excited at having the chance to step outside of our routines and the daily grind and consider bigger issues of visions and longer-term goals. After hours, we tried to mix in with the environment, spending some time on mountain bikes on the trails in Riverdale, playing ultimate frisbee, walking the waterfront, meeting with local entrepreneurs, and getting to know a few of the local restaurants and watering holes. Our weekends took us to Haines Junction, Takhini Hot Springs, the Vista Outdoor Learning Center, Dawson City, and a stop in Carcross.

This was the first trip to the Yukon for all but one of our team, and we were all blown away: blown away by the beauty of the territory, blown away by the warmth of the welcome and hospitality, by the ingenuity and resilience of the variety of entrepreneurs and business-people we met, and by the strength of the community.

Thanks to Yukonstruct and (co)space for an incredible two weeks – these will be an easy two weeks to remember, and will remain an important part of Clearbanc.” 

(co)space is an initiative of YuKonstruct and is made possible by the generous support of Yukon Economic Development, CanNor, Northwestel, Startup Canada, Startup Whitehorse, Yukon Brewing, MPIG Holdings and MakeIT. This initiative would not have been possible without the additional help of TechYukonNorthmark Ventures Inc.City of WhitehorseCold Climate Innovations, Air North and NVD. Thank you!

CONTACT US

NORTHLIGHT INNOVATION
  2180, 2nd Avenue, Whitehorse
  (867) 457-0150
  [email protected]

HOURS OF OPERATION
NorthLight Innovation
Mon – Fri: 9am to 5pm
Makespace
Wed – Sun: 1pm to 9pm
Cospace
Mon – Fri: 9am – 5pm

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We acknowledge that we live, work and create within the traditional territories of the Kwanlin Dün First Nation and the Ta’an Kwäch’än Council.