In Celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week, November 14 – elevate-image25020, the Community Futures program, Elevate, would like to recognize three rural prairie entrepreneurs: Janie Gaudet is the founder of Sweet Crete Décor, in Warman, Saskatchewan; Sumalee Phanad owns Thai Plaza located in Gimli, Manitoba; and Wilfred Blowers is the owner and operator of Business Reconnections Ltd. based in Trochu, Alberta. These individuals have taken employment into her own hands, becoming entrepreneurs  with the help of Elevate. Elevate is a program which helps rural entrepreneurs with disabilities and health conditions navigate their  first steps into the business world. From business plan to opening day, Elevate provides participants with supports specific to their needs and their business.

When Gaudet was asked what she has learnt about herself while starting her business she stated,

I am great [at] troubleshooting on-site and am resilient

The Elevate program works with entrepreneurs in rural communities throughout Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta. When asked why she chose to set up a business in a rural community Phanad said,

I love Gimli. The people are wonderful; the community sits on the shore of Lake Winnipeg. Nothing can be better than that.

She is a true ambassador for her community.

Many potential entrepreneurs may be nervous about starting their own business, but, Blowers says,

Go for it, take it one step at a time and get support to do it. Success builds on success and you can do it!

Elevate is a dynamic new business building program delivered by 56 Community Futures offices and  funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Opportunities Fund for Persons with Disabilities Program.

Elevate is delivered by Community Futures offices, throughout the prairies.

About the Elevate Program

Elevate provides assistance, support and resources to qualified individuals who wish to become self-employed. Elevate operates throughout the prairie provinces (Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta). To find out more, visit:

For more information, please contact:

Margi Storey
Project Coordinator
Community Futures Network of Alberta
Ph: 403-851-9995 ext 5


Susan Bater
Elevate Program Manager
Ph: 204-943-2905 ext.4