Blake­town woman up for $100,000 young en­tre­pre­neur award

The Compass - - NEWS - BY DANIEL MACEACH­ERN TC ME­DIA

Sarah Lynn Rus­sell used to be one among thou­sands. Now she’s one of nine.

The Blake­town busi­ness­woman is com­pet­ing with eight other fi­nal­ists for the Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment Bank of Canada Young En­tre­pre­neur award, a prize that comes with $100,000 to help her build her man­u­fac­tur­ing and re­tail busi­ness.

“It was a video and sev­eral se­ries of doc­u­ments I had to sub­mit for my ap­pli­ca­tion, and when I sub­mit­ted it, it was the day be­fore the clos­ing, and I looked at the num­bers, and it said, ‘ You are ap­pli­cant 6,700 and some- odd,” said Rus­sell, 29 laugh­ing. “I thought, I have no chance, so it was def­i­nitely a huge sur­prise.”

Rus­sell’s Ready to Re­boot op­er­a­tion — founded by her fa­ther nearly 20 years ago as a man­u­fac­turer of pine mould­ings for a whole­sale mar­ket — ex­panded into re­tail op­er­a­tions, pro­duc­ing stair com­po­nents, cab­i­netry, hard­wood f loor­ing and doors. Rus­sell, 29, came to work for the busi­ness in 2009, and her fa­ther re­tired two years later.

“Here I sit, try­ing to stream­line the com­pany and all the daily op­er­a­tions and such,” said Rus­sell, who said the prize money would be put to good use. But even just mak­ing the fi­nals has helped her.

“Even this far, the pub­lic­ity and the mar­ket­ing side of things that it’s go­ing to do for us, I can’t even imag­ine what we’ll get out of it. In terms of win­ning, what I want to do is im­ple­ment the money to­wards com­puter soft­ware for our in­ven­tory con­trol and man­u­fac­tur­ing man­age­ment sys­tem. That’s absolutely go­ing to cre­ate a foun­da­tion that’s go­ing to be solid enough for us to grow on and take on more busi­ness and dif­fer­ent prod­uct lines.”

Now that the thou­sands of ap­pli­cants have been whit­tled down to nine fi­nal­ists, the pub­lic takes over, with the win­ner be­ing de­cided by vot­ers.

The pub­lic can view videos by all the fi­nal­ists and vote at www.bdc.ca/yea. Rus­sell says she’s hop­ing to garner the New­found­land and Labrador sup­port that re­cently pro­pelled mu­si­cians Sher­man Downey and the Am­bigu­ous Case to the top prize in the CBC Searchlight com­pe­ti­tion.

“That’s the nice thing about be­ing a New­found­lan­der — we’re all there for each other,” she said.

Sup­port­ers can vote ev­ery day un­til June 11. dmaceach­ern@thetele­gram.com

Twit­ter: @Tele­gramDaniel

Sub­mit­ted photo

Sarah Lynn Rus­sell of Blake­town is one of nine fi­nal­ists for the Busi­ness De­vel­op­ment Bank of Canada Young En­tre­pre­neur award, a prize that comes with $100,000 to help her build her man­u­fac­tur­ing and re­tail busi­ness.

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