Building entrepreneurial relationships across rural Manitoba
February 22, 2022

North Forge East member Samantha Hampton has spent a long time throughout her career helping others build a powerful and healthy community network – but didn’t always take the time to build that community of her own. So, in 2019 when company cutbacks meant she was laid off from her job, she decided to start her own company. From there, Creative Community Promotions (CCP) was born.

Starting a new business always comes with challenges. For Samantha, one of the biggest hurdles came as the COVID-19 pandemic meant the opportunities for networking were closed – meaning there were virtually no ways to connect in person with other business owners, network, or lift each other up. With networking at a standstill, Samantha began looking around her Interlake community for other business owners – and came across hundreds of businesses she’d never heard of before. From that, a concept was born.

CCP’s mission is to drive engagement within a common community. With a pandemic greatly reducing opportunities for in-person engagement, Samantha began to create a digital solution and created a new social platform as a result: Fuse. This app-based platform provides a hub for information, business listings, classifieds, and more – all tailored specifically for rural Manitoba small businesses looking to connect with each other. “We can’t choose our neighbour, but we can choose who we network with”, said Samantha. “We have the ability to create our own communities. COVID has taken that away, but we need to get back to that engagement.”

Two years into the pandemic, Samantha saw that this lack of networking was having an effect on business owners. “Because of COVID, I’ve never had a chance to walk into a room as an entrepreneur and meet like-minded people”, said Samantha. “So, I decided to build a conference to make that happen – for me and others like me.”

This passion project of Samantha’s developed into the Survive & Thrive Conference, taking place on April 23, 2022. The theme for this inaugural conference is the entrepreneurial world – giving that community a change to build in-person connections and learn from each other once again. The goal of the conference is to thrive as entrepreneurs. “At all times we’re either surviving, thriving, or somewhere in the middle”, said Samantha. “Lots of successful company leaders may think they’re thriving already, but if you’re not leading by example as a mentor, or taking time to learn new ideas and network, you might actually be closer to failing than you might think.”

Networking and partnerships are important to any entrepreneurial endeavor. For members of North Forge East, the opportunity to attend Survive & Thrive is a way to create partnerships with other founders, business owners and entrepreneurs – which is why the organization has partnered with CCP to offer a 50% discount for members of the accelerator.

Getting Survive & Thrive attendees to a point where they are thriving is what this conference wants to achieve. Samantha’s goal is to have every attendee feel like they can take on whatever they’re facing – that they’re strong, capable, and ready to get to the next level. Workshops including Leadership Communication, Becoming Unstuck and Prosperous, and CEO Self-Care & Workplace Boundaries are geared towards helping business owners become stronger and more resilient, while the emphasis on networking will provide an opportunity to get more resources, inspiration and motivation.

As for Samantha, while the next few months will be filled with preparation for Survive & Thrive, she’s already eyeing up her next challenge. 2022 will see her getting Fuse off the ground – connecting, informing, and enriching the lives of people near her, and across rural Manitoba.

Registration for Survive & Thrive is now open – and North Forge East members can access a 50% registration discount. Contact Courtney to receive your members-only discount code!

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