I noticed you have done some stories on entrepreneurs lately and I want to share my story for those who are thinking about starting their own business.

I started a video store in Chisasibi two years ago. Like a lot of businesses I started out from my basement. I soon grew out of my basement. When the other video store in town closed, my clientele grew and the basement was just too cramped.

In April of 1997, I approached Ernie Gray of Haida Kloo, a business consultation firm that was in town doing training for new entrepreneurs. He then helped me set up my accounting program. Then he offered to help me do the business plan.

There are a lot of people who say, “I should start a business.” I was there also but the difference is I went ahead. If I didn’t move out of the basement I would have sold the business because of the hassle of having customers coming in and out of my house, especially with raising a young family. My customers needed a better and bigger place to rent videos. I wanted to get a building to establish my business.

As I wrote my business plan, I contacted the Band Council to get a resolution for my lot and building. It took longer than I thought. I got on the agenda for a band meeting and it was passed. I finally got my business loans and grants from various agencies. I got my prefab building transported from Radisson. It took a month to renovate and set up. I opened on November 14.

I am still working on odd jobs and setting up accounts with my suppliers. It has been a lot of hard work and effort to get my store in place. There are a lot of little things that come up but you have to keep plugging away. I got frustrated many times but all the hard work will pay off. There is a lot of support for my business from the people of Chisasibi. I want to thank the Cree Nation of Chisasibi, Haida Kloo, Eyyou Economic Group, Wiichiituun Development Corporation and my family, for believing in me and my dream, and the people of Chisasibi.

I hope that my example will inspire more people to start their own businesses. You have to go beyondhoping. Start your business plan and think carefully about what you want. There are a lot ofopportunities if you give it a try. We have to support our local business. It benefits the workers andthe families and the community. Everyone will benefit in the long run. If you have a dream go with it.Don’t let anyone get you down.

James Hill is an entrepreneur who owns VJ’s Video in Chisasibi.