Amy Dopson won $10

Amy Dopson won $10

ThriveNorth opens applications for business challenge

With Futurpreneur Canada’s ThriveNorth Business Challenge, the young and ambitious aren’t discouraged from taking risks

Prince Rupert entrepreneur Amy Dopson carries a bit of a chip on her shoulder.

But it’s part of the reason she’s become one of the most successful business owners not only on the North Coast, but in the entire province of B.C.

Winning the distinction of being named BC Business’ ‘30 under 30’ in 2014 and more recently the grand prize winner of $10,000 for Best Growth Opportunity from the 2015 ThriveNorth Business Challenge, which had over 50 entries from entrepreneurs of new or existing businesses, Dopson has seen no shortage of success, despite her initial doubters telling her she was “too young” or “inexperienced” when she started PAC 10 Educational Services Inc., a  tutoring and education-focused business, in her early 20s in 2009.

“I used that doubt to help fuel my ambition and go forward,” said Dopson last week.

Now, the climate of support has changed. With Futurpreneur Canada’s ThriveNorth Business Challenge, the young and ambitious aren’t discouraged from taking risks, but supported through a vast network of mentors, peers and those who have been in their shoes.

“I have [ThriveNorth’s] support now, but I wish I had that support when I started,” said Dopson, who had the confidence of friends, family and North Coast investment company TRICORP, but not much elsewhere.

“There are roundtables, there are different focus groups and things where entrepreneurs can come together and get advice from other entrepreneurs, as well as mentors. [That’s] vital for someone starting out … It’s reassuring that you’re not the only one going through this. The world feels really small, especially when you’re so focused on what you’re doing, you forget that there are other people going through the same thing, and it’s very easy to reach out to them and have that back-and-forth support,” she said.

Dopson’s PAC 10 has grown exponentially and is known for incorporating interactive technology, like touch screens, Smartboards and more and works with students from the early ages all the way to college and university, and even adults upgrading skills.

“Our overall mandate is to make learning enjoyable and fun and not something you have to do … We have big, glass dining room tables that we can use markers on, so kids love being able to write on our tables. They can do things at our centre that they can’t get away with doing at home,” said Dopson.

This year’s ThriveNorth Business Challenge includes three categories – Best New Business, Best New Social Enterprise and Best Growth Opportunity, and entrants have the chance to win a $10,000 grand prize or a $2,500 runner-up prize.

With the funds she won last year, Dopson recruited more educational specialists and is in the process of trying to acquire even more technology-based systems (so grand that she’s having trouble finding the right shippers able to transport it to the Prince Rupert offices with insurance covered).

Applications for the challenge can be found at http://www.futurpreneur.ca/en/microsites/thrivenorth/business-challenge/ and the deadline for applying is Feb. 29.

“They say it takes a community to raise a child, it also takes a community to support a business. If you don’t have that support, then you’re not going to thrive,” said Dopson.

“I’ve been so lucky and blessed to have people take a chance on me and I’ve just continued to grow.”

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse on staff at the Northwood Care facility, prepares a dose of the Moderna vaccine in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Almost two in three Canadians surveyed recently said they trust COVID-19 vaccines to be both safe and effective. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan
Northern Health to open 30 COVID vaccine clinics for oldest residents, Indigenous seniors

Health authority says it plans to vaccinate nearly 15,000 people in Phase Two

Prince Rupert’s Bobby Brown celebrated his 95th birthday milestone on March 5 with family across the country in an online celebration. (Photo: supplied by Jodi Brown)
Prince Rupert man celebrates 95th birthday milestone online

Five generations come together COVID-19 style in Prince Rupert to say “Happy Birthday”

Main door at Cranes Crossing, Prince Rupert’s homeless shelter, on March 5. Northern Health issued a public notice of potential exposure occurring at the shelter between Feb. 22 and 24. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
COVID-19 Public Exposure Notice issued for Prince Rupert’s homeless shelter

Northern Health said possible exposure between Feb. 22 and 24

Air Canada cancelled flights to Prince Regional Airport on Jan. 23, 2021 due to loss of ridership during COVID-19. An Air Canada Rouge takes off from Montreal in March 20, 2020. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes)
BC Liberals call for immediate action and support for B.C. airports

Prince Rupert Regional Airport and others across the province struggle with COVID-19 effects

Paul Williams rector of St. Andrews Cathedral in Prince Rupert sits in front of the 95-year-old pipe organ on March 5. The church has put out a community call for volunteers to play the instrument to keep it fresh and operational. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
St. Andrews Cathedral pipe organ needs players to make it sing

Prince Rupert volunteers who want to practice their playing skills are welcome

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

(BC SPCA)
Is it safe to give your dog some peanut butter? Not always, BC SPCA warns

Some commercial peanut butter ingredients can be harmful to dogs

Health Minister Adrian Dix, front, B.C. Premier John Horgan and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrive for a news conference about the provincial response to the coronavirus, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, March 6, 2020. Pandemic emergency measures have been in place for almost a year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. officials plead for patience as 1.7 million COVID-19 calls flood in

Vaccine registration for 90-plus seniors opened Monday

A West Kootenay man died in an avalanche on March 4 while snowmobiling near Mount Payne, which is indicted by the red flag. Illustration: Google Maps
B.C. father of 3 dead after avalanche in West Kootenay

The man was snowmobiling with a group when incident occurred March 4

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Vaccine hesitancy decreases in B.C. as mass immunizations set to begin: poll

Two-thirds of British Columbians, and Canadians, would get the vaccine as soon as possible

Software engineer Shaimma Yehia, 40, has been forced to re-skill during the COVID-19 pandemic after more than six years of unsuccessfully applying for jobs in B.C.’s tech industry. (Submitted photo/Shaimma Yehia)
Why skilled immigrant women continue to be shut out of B.C.’s booming tech sector

Experienced software engineer Shaimma Yehia, 40, hasn’t found a job since she migrated to Canada 6 years ago

Ron Sivorot, business director at Kennametal’s Langford site, the Greater Victoria facility that made a component being used on NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. (Jake Romphf, Black Press Media)
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover digging in with B.C.-made part

Kennametal’s Langford plant’s tooth blank is helping the rover’s drill collect rock cores

A woman walks through Toronto’s financial district on Monday, July 30, 2018. A new poll suggests most Canadians believe there’s still a long way to go to achieve gender equality in this country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Canadians, especially women, say gender equality not achieved in Canada: Poll

Poll results themselves underscore the challenge, with more men believing equality had been achieved

Most Read