When we first opened up our Virtual Business Incubator in 2018, we had no idea what surprises were in store for us. We hope this story encourages you to look for extraordinary results hiding in what may seem like ordinary places.
Welcome To Meat Cove.
At the northern tip of Cape Breton is a tiny fishing village called Meat Cove–it’s got about 300 people in it. When we opened up our incubator we got over 450+ applications for 200 spots – and SEVEN of them came from Meat Cove.
We couldn’t believe it – that’s almost 5% of the population!
To be clear: this is a settlement at the VERY tip of Cape Breton. Most folks there don’t even have a solid cell signal, let alone high-speed internet!
What was going on? How did they hear about us?
We had the chance to interview each of these entrepreneurs and asked them: “Hey, how did you hear about us?”
Here’s what we heard back: “Oh, I saw you in Mary’s email.”
“Mary told me about you.”
“It was Mary!”
It seemed pretty clear that Mary was the force behind this flood of entrepreneurs from a tiny settlement at the top of the province. But who the heck was Mary?
Introducing Mary: Rural Champion & Superstar Activator.
You know those bulletin boards scattered around towns, villages, Facebook, and community centres across the province? Mary, a member of the church auxiliary, visits ALL of those and aggregates them together in a monthly email newsletter.
Ready for some incredible stats? Mary is 73 years old. Feel lazy yet? What’s even more impressive is that Mary’s list has almost 5000 people on it! Not fifty. Not five hundred.
Measuring Mary’s INCREDIBLE Impact.
We ended up accepting 3 applicants, which turned into 3 businesses that now employ 12 people. Twelve! That’s 4% of the population! That might not look big on paper, but putting $5000 in the pocket of someone in that community makes an EARTH-SHATTERING impact on the local economy.
And it’s all started with Mary.
Reporting is important. We need to know the effect of the programs we deploy and how resources are being allocated, however, we also think it’s essential that we zoom in and measure wins at the micro-level.
For us, Mary’s story is a great reminder that we need to check our assumptions, be open to new ideas, and do our best to expect the unexpected.
The Ingredients of a Champion.
At first, Mary’s story is unique (okay, it DEFINITELY is) but it’s one of the DOZENS of stories we’ve compiled over the years of INCREDIBLE champions who empower their local communities.
They might not have an official title.
They might not have a “position” in the official ecosystem.
But they have the TRUST and ATTENTION of their community. They are APPROACHABLE and ACCESSIBLE.
Above all they are PASSIONATE, and that lets them unleash the potential of their rural communities.
These are the ingredients of a rural champion.
Are You The Next Mary? We Need YOU!
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re an entrepreneur or someone who is passionate about their community, just like Mary. If you want to help unleash the untapped potential of your community or you have a business idea here are two ways you can help:
- Share this article with one friend. Do you have a partner in crime? Do you know people who have BIG ideas and are looking to unleash them? Who comes to mind? Do you have a name in your head? This person would love to hear from you. Think of the ripple effect you could start!
- If you want to plug into our resources, we would LOVE (seriously: LOVE) to meet you. The easiest way for you to do that is to book a Discovery Call with us so we can learn more about your story. All you need to do is pick a time on our calendar, and we’ll do the rest!