From a craft cidery to a dance studio to custom metal fabrication, their businesses couldn’t be more different. But there’s one word that ties Missy Dobernigg, Becky Martselos, Holly Cleveland and their respective businesses together: Momentum.
All three have momentum guiding them through big changes and developments in their businesses, and each is a member of the Momentum Women’s Business Accelerator program run by Community Futures North Okanagan.
With 35 members across many different industries, Momentum helps women entrepreneurs realize their potential through access to business development learning, business coaching, government funding and a peer support network.
“It’s really easy to get caught up in the day-to-day, hustle and bustle of, ‘I have to get all this work done,’” says Cleveland, owner of Dimension Metal. “Momentum helps you stop and focus on running your business.”
On the heels of hiring an employee to aid in production, Cleveland was able to access government funding through the program to implement a new employee package as well as streamline administrative tasks through estimating software.
“Eight years ago, if you told me that I’d be running my own business, I never would have believed you. There were times in the first few years where it was touch and go. I wasn’t sure if it was going to work or not, but I had a support group around me that believed I could do it. Whenever things got tough, it always seemed to work out. I was able to just keep on going,” says Cleveland, who is now preparing to hire someone and hopes to expand her shop.
Meanwhile, fellow Momentum member Becky Martselos is getting ready to start a dance academy in partnership with School District 22. Through the academy, local dancers can put their passion to work for high school credits and grow into Accentz Dance Studio’s welcoming community of dedicated dancers. Starting in September, 14 students from SD22 in Grades 8-12 will spend half-days training with Martselos and Accentz Dance Studio instructors as part of their curriculum.
“We really are a family. Some of the dancers spend as much time in the studio as they do at home,” says Martselos. “It’s amazing to see them growing into these beautiful women inside and out that have gained confidence through dance. That support and confidence comes from other students.”
As the only dance or fitness studio Momentum, Martselos of Accentz Dance Studio agrees with Cleveland on the benefits of the program.
“Whether you’re welding or picking fruit, it all applies,” says Martselos. “Plus, having an all-women group is amazingly supportive.”
Missy Dobernigg of The BX Press Cidery also has big plans for the ciderhouse this year.
After the cidery’s patio closes for the season, massive renovations will begin as The BX Press transforms to add indoor dining and a full commercial kitchen.
“We’re focused on farm-to-table dining as we grow the business. Our concept is unique for Vernon. With the expansion, we’d like to be able to expand the menu to reflect this passion,” Dobernigg says. “We take great care with the ingredients in our ciders. We use real fruit, never any artificial flavouring, and the apples are all grown right here in our orchard. We want our food to be the same way.”
And, with the substantial renovation plans starting soon, Dobernigg says she’s thankful to be involved in a community of growth-focused women entrepreneurs.
“There are some really inspiring women in the program,” says Dobernigg. “Running a business can be isolating. You’re never off. Having that intentional time to connect with other women entrepreneurs running the same grind is mentally uplifting.”
“We’re all geared towards growth and just being the best boss ladies we can be.”
Are you a women entrepreneur interested in developing your business? Momentum Women’s Business Accelerator is open for applications for a September 2021 intake. Visit CF North Okanagan online at futuresbc.com.