An interview with local entrepreneur, Liliana Sulikowska-Klebek

  • Written by Meridian Admin

We recently got to sit down with local entrepreneur, Liliana and chat with her regarding her experience with Community Futures Meridian. To help future clients and local aspiring entreprenuers understand what we do and how we can help, here's your sneak peek on our services.

1. What were some challenges you faced in your business prior to working with CF Meridian?

I moved to Canada in 1992 with a background in primary education. I knew that my English would never be at the required level to teach at a school in Canada, so decided to change my profession. With my passion for children, I attended Pre-School Education and Day Care Management at MacEwan University in Edmonton. Equipped with education and experience I came to Kindersley with the vision of opening a high-quality daycare. In 2000, the only form of private day care in Saskatchewan was the Family Day Home Group for up to 12 children. I envisioned something different. Unfortunately, I did not have the funds or the equipment to get started on building my dreams.

2. How has CF Meridian helped your company reach their goals?

It was during a Rotary Club Kindersley meeting that I met, General Manager of CF Meridian, Vickie Newmeyer. Vickie spoke with passion about CF Meridian and the support they could provide to people like me- entrepreneurs looking to fulfill their dreams despite of their age, income or background.

Vickie noticed my passion for children and my vision to benefit the Kindersley community. She appreciated my involvement in Early Childhood Education and respected my vision of improving the field.

In July 2005, I received a letter from Community Resources and Employment, Early Learning and Child Care, informing me that my nomination was made by Meridian Future Development Corporation, and that I was appointed in the Ministers' Early Learning and Child Care Advisory Board. Thanks to this nomination, I have sustained my vision of taking part in the policy of advice and development in Saskatchewan Early Learning and Child Care. Along with this great achievement I had received not only financial support but also multidirectional support from CF Meridian. Things were falling into place.

3. What have been the greatest benefits you’ve received from working with CF Meridian?

The greatest benefits I have received from CF Meridian were their financial support, but more importantly their multidirectional support. They helped with all aspects of opening my day care (startup and operating costs), helped to engage key players and supported me to take strategic action. CF Meridian acted as a leader who had an understanding of the rich diversity of people and key players. In order to be successful, CF Meridian Loan Manager, Jeanette Martin, advised me to use appropriate language to describe our strategic plan to enable people to share my vision for improved child care.

4. Would you recommend working with CF Meridian to other business owners? And why?

While the financial support was important, it was the long-term support and advice that proved most valuable. The wise advice from Vickie, Judy and Jeanette provided protection from errors that result in the closing of a business during the first two years. Their unique, professional services elevated my business to the next level. In my case from, “Lil’Daycare’ Family Day Home Group with 12 children to “Kinder Kollege Inc.” located at the Westberry Elementary School with 25 children. I was employed as director until I retired in 2014. Presently, I still sit on the Board while cooperating with CF Meridian.

5. What is one phrase of encouragement you have for other individuals who are operating a business?

Multidirectional, long-term  support by experienced CF MERIDIAN employees is the key to success and fulfillment of dreams for every future entrepreneur despite of age or cultural background.