Local resident Marya Pettigrew won a Stevie Award for the Female Executive of the Year - Government or Non-Profit category last Monday at a ceremony held in New York City.
Pettigrew is the executive director of the Regional Business Accelerator (RBA), a non-profit organization that helps entrepreneurs with one-on-one coaching, finding beneficial resources and providing access to various funding groups.
“So basically we’re your one-stop shop for business assistance,” said Pettigrew.
Pettigrew said when she found out she was being nominated, she thought it was nice, but didn’t expect things to go any further.
“When I went down there and won the silver, I really couldn’t believe it at first,” she said. “It was a really great experience and I’m very honoured to have been nominated and selected for that category.”
The RBA focuses most of its attention regionally, but the group does have connections at provincial, federal and international levels for companies that may need those resources. They are affiliated with the National Association of Business Incubators in the U.S., an international network of support for businesses.
“Just say we have a company in Lloydminster that wants to transfer their products down to Chicago and start selling them,” explained Pettigrew. “We can connect with a group down there that can help assist that happening.”
But because of her modest two person team she says they typically just work with local start-ups. “We can only do so much, most of our funding has come from the provincial level and from the local city of Lloydminster, so we try to focus our energy in this region,” she said.
Another way her group helps local start-ups is with the new RBA Entrepreneur Centre, which just opened Nov. 20 in the Community Services building.
The centre offers a suite of offices and boardrooms available for entrepreneurs in the area. Members of the RBA can access laptop stations with Wi-Fi, offices for rent by the month and a boardroom available to rent hourly or daily for people who want to meet with clients or do presentations.
With all they have to offer, Pettigrew still feels that the group’s work is only beginning and expects bigger things to come as the company gets more established. “I think the RBA is just getting started, we’re just getting our momentum going,” she said. “I think in the next 10 years we are going to see some really great things happening.”
For people just starting they’re own businesses, Pettigrew recommends taking advantage of resources like the RBA and also being flexible and adaptable to change.
“I think every entrepreneur should take advantage of resources like this,” she said, “and they should be open to continuously changing their business model as the market that they’re operating in changes, so they can continue to be strong and viable.”