Jenny Glessman

For the past 11 years, Jenny Glessman has been the Office Coordinator at Community Futures (CF) Sagehill.

She is the first point of contact for all new and existing rural business clients. She is readily available to answer client’s questions about the programs and services Community Futures offers. Jenny helps clients with research on what they need to start their business and matches them to programs that best fit their needs. In addition, she assists small business clients with developing business plans and completing cash flow statements.

As more rural businesses begin to embrace e-commerce, entrepreneurs in the CF Sagehill region are making the move to online sales. Jenny is involved in helping these small businesses receive adequate support in order to succeed in their transition to e-commerce. She adds, “this is something very new to most entrepreneurs, but they are having great success with it.”

She is inspired by the ideas and passion that entrepreneurs in her region continue to have even in tough economic times. “The clients that we work with are so passionate and their new ideas are so awesome. They take thinking outside the box to a whole new level!”

A recent survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) suggests that businesses in Canada’s city centres are struggling more than their rural counterparts amid the COVID-19 pandemic. CFIB data released in August indicates that 22% of businesses polled in urban cores are at normal levels of sales compared to 37% in rural areas. This success can be attributed, in part, to the innovative ways in which rural businesses are adapting to the economic challenges presented by the pandemic.

One CF Sagehill business owner did not let the pandemic stand in-between her and her growing business. When the pandemic hit, this café owner had to close up shop. Yet she knew there had to be something she could do to keep her business going. She started making freezer meals and selling them. She sold out daily!

“She is an example of the clients that we have at CF Sagehill; they are all such problem solvers and so passionate about what they do. They do not let anything stand in their way,” Jenny adds.

Jenny believes that the next five years will see Community Futures becoming more well known in the Sagehill region. In an effort to assist rural businesses with surviving the effects of the pandemic, Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) is collaborating with Community Futures to deliver the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) in Western Canada. Community Futures offices are supporting rural businesses requesting loans of $40,000 or less.

“The RRRF helped to get our name out to more potential clients. I think our present clients will be asking for more help as they maneuver the new way of doing business due to COVID-19,” Jenny remarks.

Jenny and her husband own a small business in their community. When she is not at CF Sagehill, she works alongside her husband to grow their family business. When they get time off, they enjoy spending time with their four children and two grandchildren. They love to camp, boat, and travel.

Jenny is motivated by the passion, drive and great ideas that small businesses in her region demonstrate. “You never know what that next phone call will be and what the next great idea will be. Every day is so exciting.”

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