Be­liev­ing in them­selves

The Compass - - OPINION -

When Heather Jones was out in a fish­ing boat with her fa­ther and brother around her na­tive Twill­ingate, she of­ten won­dered why the fish was the only thing har­vested from the sea. Roam­ing the beaches around her out­port home, the young Me­mo­rial Uni­ver­sity stu­dent, mother and now busi­ness owner couldn’t help but no­tice the sea­weed that washed up on the shore­line. Like fish, why could kelp not be har­vested and pro­cessed into some­thing con­sum­able for the mar­ket­place?

Heather’s in­quir­ing mind led her to dis­cover that not only could sea­weed be turned into some­thing use­ful for con­sumers, but she is do­ing just that.

Kelp Me! is not only a clever play on words, it’s also the brain­child of this young en­tre­pre­neur who had a dream and acted to make it come true.

The en­vi­ron­ment is an im­por­tant is­sue for Heather, a fact she has demon­strated through the devel­op­ment of her green busi­ness.

Heather now spends most of her time with her young son, while her free time is ded­i­cated to Kelp Me! a line of all nat­u­ral body care prod­ucts that do not con­tain any preser­va­tives, dyes or per­fumes. How­ever one of the im­por­tant in­gre­di­ents in the prod­ucts is New­found­land sea­weed.

In fact, she goes the ex­tra mile to en­sure as many lo­cal in­gre­di­ents as pos­si­ble are used, in­clud­ing re­cy­cled pack­ag­ing such as drift­wood and re­cy­cled paper. It’s not al­ways easy to make 100 per cent nat­u­ral prod­ucts, but Heather does just that. Re­fus­ing to use chem­i­cals or fra­grances, she feels she can make a bet­ter prod­uct the nat­u­ral way. Not only does this prac­tice help the planet; it keeps her cus­tomers healthy and happy.

Last week, Youth Ven­tures named Heather’s en­ter­prise Ven­ture of the Year for New­found­land and Labrador.

Her in­no­va­tive busi­ness also earned Heather Ex­cel­lence in In­no­va­tion and Ex­cel­lence in Agri­cul­ture awards at the Youth Ven­tures an­nual awards event held in Har­bour Grace.

Heather was one of eight young en­trepreneurs who have been rec­og­nized for their con­tri­bu­tions to their com­mu­ni­ties and prov­ince.

We were es­pe­cially pleased to see a young singer/song­writer/mu­si­cian from our cov­er­age area pick up an award. Lau­ren Ge­orge of White­way took home the award for Ex­cel­lence in Artis­tic Achieve­ment for her orig­i­nal song­writ­ing on her first CD, Ob­ses­sion.

Heather, Lau­ren and all the other young en­trepreneurs are all de­serv­ing of the pro­vin­cial recog­ni­tion they re­ceived for the vi­sion and ded­i­ca­tion that has led to their early suc­cess.

Spon­sored by the New­found­land and Labrador As­so­ci­a­tion of Com­mu­nity Busi­ness Devel­op­ment Cor­po­ra­tions, Youth Ven­tures is a youth-based ini­tia­tive funded by the fed­eral and pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ments.

Heather Jones be­lieves “if we have an idea we want to see ma­te­ri­al­ize, we must first be­lieve in our abil­i­ties and then roll up our sleeves and make it hap­pen. It takes re­search, hard work and a lot of de­ter­mi­na­tion to start any small busi­ness.”

Heather and her fel­low award win­ners have cer­tainly demon­strated all of those qual­i­ties and more.

When Health Min­is­ter Jerome Kennedy told all the young award win­ners, “you’re so far ahead of me when I was your age,” he could have been speak­ing for all of us.

How many of us can say we were op­er­at­ing our own en­ter­prises based on our own ideas at such ten­der ages as the young peo­ple who were rec­og­nized last week?

But per­haps it was the late Robert F. Kennedy who said it best when he said: “Some men look around them and won­der why? I dream things that never were and ask why not?”

In­stead of won­der­ing why things were the way they were, these young vi­sion­ar­ies stopped long enough to ask them­selves why not?

We should en­cour­age them to con­tinue on their path to suc­cess and hope they will stay here and make their own prov­ince a bet­ter place in which to live. Be­cause if they are our fu­ture, than our fu­ture is in good hands.

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