Monty Python’s John Cleese once said “creativity is not a talent. It is a way of operating.” Fostering creativity, specifically the ability to innovate and think outside the box to problem solve, is a big topic in the business world these days.

Rapid technological change and an interconnected global economy present ever more complex scenarios daily, and businesess must be able to change and respond in kind in order to thrive.

On the local scale, young entrepreneurs with great new ideas face many challenges acquiring the equity and capital to get into the game. Futurpreneur is a Canada-wide nonprofit that exists to help with this, providing up to $45,000 in low barrier, accessible loans, an expert mentor for two years, and a plethora of resources in growing a business.

Chelsey Paterson has been mentoring with them for 7 years, and loves it. But her story goes further than that.

At 23, her major possessions totaling one “positive,” a dog, and one “negative,” a student loan hanging over her head, she received a $15,000 Futurpreneur loan and a mentor, and opened the doors to Model Citizens, which has since changed hands but remains the boutique that opened many minds to the concept of glamourous vintage.

Chelsey in Model Citizens, January 2014

Now the Director of Social Enterprise at Choices For Youth, her creative take on mentorship, community-centered values, and strong communication skills have made her an asset to all she works with.

DOODLELovely is one start up she’s seen through the process from concept to production and marketing. Watching an idea blossom excites Chelsey, as does creating relationships with the people she works with.

It’s not all wine and roses however. “I’m there to help ask the tough questions. Can this work, is there a demand?” By this process, the idea is validated and can move ahead. In DOODLELovely’s case, into the development and manifestation of a wellness line built around a set of journals and other products promoting mindfulness. This is a seriously growing market.

The Futurpreneur Awards will be announced on Oct 20th during Small Business Week. Win or lose, Chelsey says it’s been a wonderful journey from recipient of Futurpreneur help early on, to being an experienced mentor giving back to the community.

You can vote for her at the Futurpreneur website until October 18th. Chelsey’s open, positive , people based approach to business mentorship makes her a refreshing, original force in an all too often suit and tie world.