What compels some people to become entrepreneurs? Why do these people forgo the security of a salary to chase entrepreneurial success? How hard is it to be your own boss? The answers are as varied as the small business owners who appear in Entrepreneur NL, a new television series from creator and producer Donny Love of Big Jib Productions.
“After seeing so many local businesses close over the years due to competition from big box stores, I felt strongly about supporting local businesses,” says Love. “My show is a platform to showcase young entrepreneurs and to promote buying local.”
Love also credits his personal struggles as a source of inspiration for the show’s concept. Following 48 episodes of comedic success with George Street TV, Love found himself lost and broke. After a string of small business ventures failed, he returned to his entertainment roots and founded Big Jib Productions.
“At this point in my life, failure isn’t an option,” says Love. “I tried just about anything and everything to get to this point. I am now fearless.”
Fearless is an apt adjective to describe the small business stars of Entrepreneur NL, which promises a candid and dramatic look at their personal and professional lives.
“I agreed to be on the show because I think that people would be very surprised at how many interesting projects we’re a part of that help make this city great,” says Don-E Coady, Creative Director at the full-service marketing agency Dc Design House.
“I’m nervous for people to see the show because I’m not exactly a laid back personality type. I get mad. I get sad. I get intense. But I get shit done, and I do it with some of the best people you’ll meet in this amazing province. I promise laughs and interesting, vulnerable situations, no doubt.”
Kelly-Ann Evans reveals the various hats she wears – both on and off stage – as Owner of City Performance Academy and Red Dress Entertainment and Co-Artistic Director of the not-for-profit Theatre of St. John’s.
“My business is a little bit different in that I am the business in a weird way,” says Evans. “As a musician, actor, entertainer and producer, I am self-employed, but I also run a small business to teach children.”
Evans purchased the former Rock City School in 2012 and rebranded it as City Performance Academy. Here students indulge in their passion for music and performance under Evans’ professional guidance.
“I started teaching when I was 17 and I’ve always had a passion for it,” says Evans. “The reward in working with children and adults in fostering their growth to find their own artistry and voice is really a magical thing to experience!”
Perhaps J.P. Morrissey’s story is the most bittersweet. Although he plans to expand his Eat Clean Healthy Grill and Juice franchise out west, the downtown St. John’s location recently closed down. Despite that, Morrissey remains a strong believer in local small business and plans to open a new St. John’s location next year.
“Get behind local businesses here now more than ever,” says Morrissey. “It’s time to support local more than some big empty franchise.”
Morrissey also hopes the audience will be inspired by his determination and championing of healthy food choices.
“I think the overall message I was trying to get out there was we need to value our health by controlling what’s on our plate a little more. If you got an idea, the time is now, because you ain’t guaranteed tomorrow.”
That spirit of recognizing opportunities lies at the heart of Kim Paddon’s story. After studying graphic design, she moved home due to family illness and discovered a store for sale. It wasn’t long before the papers were signed and Paddon opened Whink, her art and jewelry boutique on Water Street.
“This show is an amazing opportunity to show Newfoundlanders and Labradorians what Whink is all about,” says Paddon. “But more importantly, it gives viewers a sneak peak on what it’s like to be a young entrepreneur on The Rock.”
Director and editor Roger Maunder agrees, and promises lots of drama across all six episodes.
“There’s a lot going on right now in the business community and this will show how these entrepreneurs are doing their part to contribute to the fabric of the city,” says Maunder. “These guys are hip, cool business folks making their way and accomplishing their goals.”
Entrepreneur NL launches April 3rd on NTV at 4:30 PM Newfoundland time, 4:00 PM in Labrador.