While winning Venture of the Year at the 2017 Youth Ventures Awards was certainly an honour for Jenna Dimmer, owner of Dimmer’s Dynamic Salon in Marystown, her primary focus these days is newborn Eva.
©Kenn Oliver/The Telegram
Even in grade school, Marystown’s Jenna Dimmer had a fascination with cutting and styling hair.
But she wasn’t satisfied with just coiffing her Barbie doll’s hair. On one occasion, her teacher sent home a piece of Dimmer’s own hair attached to sticky note that read, “Sorry, Jenna cut her hair in school today.”
Today, that note is on display at her own salon, Dimmer’s Dynamic Salon, in Marystown, a business that earned the 22-year-old Venture of the Year from the Community Business Development Corporation’s (CBDC) Youth Ventures program.
“It’s not all that hard,” Dimmer says. “People think owning your business, that’s really daunting, but it’s not that hard once you get into it and get to know everything.”
This is the second year in a row she’s been involved with the program and the second straight year she’s been honoured with an award. In 2016, a year after she took ownership of the business from its former owner and moved it into a more central location in Marystown, she took home the Excellence in Financial Management award.
Lesleeanne Lambe is not only the site co-ordinator for the CBDC Burin Peninsula that has served as an invaluable tool for Dimmer, she’s also a salon client.
“She’s just so determined. I looked at (her) for this award because she’s just great in every aspect of it,” says Lambe.
“I hope (she) continues again with the program next year and I hope we’re able to help her watch her business grow.”
For the next little while, however, Dimmer will be more focused on watching her month-old daughter Eva grow, so she’s recently hired her first employee.
“I could have had a maternity leave, but I would’ve had to shut down my salon for a year because they don’t give unemployment if you’re making income, so I decided to keep it open and have her running my salon,” she explains.
“I don’t lose any clients, I keep everybody happy and they’ll all be there when I go back.”
Six other small businesses were honoured during Thursday’s 20th annual award ceremony at the Manuels River Interpretation Centre, including the duo of Ephraim Messele and Steve Ryan, the owners and operators of The Convenience Crew, a lawn and garden care company in St. John’s that picked up the Excellence in Marketing award.
They began with a door hangar campaign to get their services and contact information out there, established an active Facebook page, used local classifieds websites and started wearing branded T-shirts on the job.
“It’s hard enough to drum up business as it is going door to door, but finding different avenues to generate publicity and get a good name for yourself is so important,” says Ryan. “That carries a lot of weight in this city.”
The success of their strategy has enabled the pair — both of whom are business management students at the College of the North Atlantic — to hire five employees this summer.
Ryan and Dimmer agree that none of their success would be possible without the tremendous support of the Youth Ventures program and their respective site co-ordinators.
While the financial assistance was certainly a big help, Ryan says having access to advice from someone with a wide knowledge base was the most beneficial avenue of support.
“In business you run into a number of snags and every week we’d be emailing our co-ordinator, Alicia Ivany,” he says. “An easy fix for her is something we’d be hours trying to research to find an answer.”
This summer’s Youth Ventures program supported 240 youth aged 12 to 29 in starting 139 small enterprises at 22 sites around the province, a seven per cent increase over 2016.
“It’s interesting to see the characteristics of the young people that are coming,” says Roseanne Leonard, the provincial CBDC managing director. “They’re driven, they have ideas, they want to be involved in the community, they want to be a part, they want to have a voice within the community and that’s important.”
There also seems to be a growing push toward supporting a social mandate in the businesses that are started.
“A lot of them want to be able to do something good for their community and that’s important because you’re not only seeing students that want to run a business, but they’re having a leadership role to play in the community.”
2017 Youth Ventures Award Winners
Venture of the year
Jenna Dimmer — Dimmer’s Dynamic Salon (Marystown)
Outstanding Venture (17 year and under)
Cody Green — Strung Out (Carbonear)
Trailblazer of the Year
Madison Dicks, Jessie Lawrence, Vinn Elliot — Camp Ohana (Corner Brook)
Excellence in Arts and Tourism
Logan Belben — Logan’s Labrador Souvenirs (L’Anse au Loup)
Excellence in Marketing
Ephraim Messele and Steven Ryan — The Convenience Crew (St. John’s)
Excellence in Financial Management
Alyssa Barrett and Karlie Squires — A&K Candy Boutique (Old Perlican)
Excellence in Customer Service
Cora and Devyn Hogg — Cakes by Two Peas in a Pod (Grand Falls-Windsor)
Mentor of the Year
John Smith (Conception Bay South)
Emily Balson (Gander)