Current Campaign – Awaken Holistic Health & Wellness

When Brian Lalonde, founder of Awaken Holistic Health & Wellness, got sick eight years ago, dozens of visits to the doctor’s office left him feeling like something was missing from his diagnosis.

“A friend turned me on to the world of complimentary and alternative medicine, and that’s when I started seeing a difference being made. Then a lightbulb went off. I thought, what else is out there?”

Lalonde spent more than 20 years in the restaurant business before deciding to switch industries, after his own experience with various types of health care and wellness options. He saw a gap in the wellness industry that he knew he could fill.

The idea behind Awaken Holistic is to give health and wellness practitioners the support they need on the business side, so they can focus on providing great service to their clients. The business will eventually house many different wellness professionals, from physiotherapists to yoga instructors and lots in between, under one big roof.

“I’ve seen hundreds of different professionals in the industry. You never know what that thing is that’s going to make the difference for you, people connect with difference things,” Lalonde said.

“I noticed these professionals were always dealing with stuff. Maybe they didn’t have enough money, were working with more clientele than they could handle, working lots of jobs to do what they love to do.”

The business model is different because it focuses on helping wellness professionals of all kinds be successful at running their own businesses and practices. So the clients at Awaken Holistic are actually the wellness practitioners, rather than the users of the future facility and services that will be available.

“My thought is, if you take care of the professionals, their ability to deliver premium service to their clients will be there. It’s the same thing on a plane: put your own mask on before anyone else’s,” Lalonde said.

The other big goal for Lalonde is to offer Calgarians many different wellness options under one roof.

“If you met someone on the street and said, are you healthy, the majority of people would say, yeah, I eat right and I exercise. When people think of health, that’s what they think of,” Lalonde said.

“But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to health, If you’re dealing with stresses in your life with work or family or health conditions, mental health is something that doesn’t get addressed very often in either western medicine or in the holistic health and wellness world. So we’re a centre that wants to support the whole body.”

Lalonde said that he’s constantly looking for different types of professionals he hasn’t engaged with yet to be part of the centre. Right now, he’s looking to engage a financial advisor, explaining that often someone’s health might be affected by money troubles.

So far, Awaken Holistic will have a music therapist, an intimacy and tantric coach, yoga and fitness classes, a kitchen with food and chefs, products in their retail space, massage therapy, reiki, bio energy, various types of energy healing, a sauna, a float pod room, and salt therapy, among other wellness professionals and experiences.

Lalonde is running a crowdfunding campaign on Alberta Boostr, hoping to raise capital to help them open the physical space for Awaken Holistic. Right now, they’re operating as an online community to get started. Contributions can be made through albertaboostr.ca.

Awaken Holistic is also hosting a gala on December 8 to raise money. More information can be found on their Facebook page or at awakenholistic.ca.

 

What excites you the most about being part of the BoostR Stage?

We asked all our participants for the BoostR Stage YYC “Change Makers” editions, what were they the most excited about  the BoostR Stage event, and this is what some of them had to say:

Calgary Tool Library

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“You can build anything with our tools, especially a community!

We can’t wait to use the BoostR stage to help our amazing community grow.”

Being Mentally Healthy

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“I am super excited to be part of AlbertaBoostr! Crowd funding is giving me the opportunity to develop my adult coloring book. To have the opportunity to have my network support this project is very inspiring and to have my Boostrs have their names in the coloring book makes it even more special. Having the opportunity to be at the live event will allow my reach to increase by people in the audience becoming aware of me and giving them the opportunity to get acquainted with my work.

Giving me a way to a develop this fun tool for  mental health and  giving  my Boostrs the unique opportunity to be part the coloring book is just awesome. The ability to give people a way to show their support for mental health issues by boosting my campaign and getting my message out to a larger audience are just some of the reasons I love Alberta Boostr.

For me, participation in Alberta Boostr is the platform and the proof that you can be recovering from a mental illness and still make a positive difference in your community!”

Mindful Mental Training Inc.

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“Being chosen to participate in the BoostR Stage will provide us the opportunity to bring awareness to the issue of mental health in our society, with the emphasis on mental health promotion and stigma reduction. But awareness alone is not enough; our vision is to share with the audience the current science and research on mindfulness-based programs, and how it is being used to reduce stress, decrease the risk of relapse to depression, prevent suicides, slow age-related cognitive decline, and lessen the suffering of other chronic medical conditions such as cancer.”

Bundles Of Hope – Socially Conscious Baby Products

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“Our team is most excited about extra publicity not only for our business, but our cause. We want to bring as much awareness as we can to the needs of low-income mothers in our city, and a chance to stand on the BoostR Stage is a chance to tell 300 or more people why we do what we do.”

The Alberta Impact Fund (AIF)

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“It’s hard to narrow down what I am MOST excited about, because I am excited about a lot! But if I had to, I am most excited about getting to tell our story. We have been working on this fund for nearly 3 years now, and it has been a journey – we have had times where absolutely everything lined up, and we have had other times where everything seemed like it was falling apart. We’re to a point now where I feel like we have been through a road of trials and come out the other side and ready to see what the next stage is. I think that getting on the Boostr stage will be an incredible catalyst for us – a moment that we can look back on to see when things really changed and became that much more real. I think the whole concept is brilliant, I am so excited that it exists, and the potential opportunity to be involved is incredibly exciting!!”

BoostR Success Story – Shaunio Radio

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Priscilla Cherry owns online radio station Shaunio Radio. When Priscilla first inherited the station, she decided to dedicate it to independent artists, in order to honour one of her family members who had passed away. She saw it as an opportunity to share his music around the world, and to share the music of other independent artists.
So she decided to use the Alberta BoostR platform to crowdfund and re-launch the station. And she knew marketing would be key to running a successful crowdfunding campaign: she created videos for social media, cold-called strangers, you name it. And it worked! Here are her thoughts on how her marketing efforts made the difference.

Q: What different marketing channels did you use?
Priscilla: Obviously social media, because in our information age, it’s huge. At the beginning, I was really consistent in keeping people updated and engaged, and posted almost every day. But for me, I know people get bored fast and they like to be entertained. So besides social media and the videos, I thought, well, let me go back to traditional marketing. And I actually went business to business and was telling them about my campaign. So, like actually going door to door saying, ‘hi, nice to meet you!’ kind of thing. And actually cold calling as well. So I took it back a couple years and added some traditional marketing.

Q: Did you find that cold calling people was a successful strategy? Were people interested?
Priscilla: A little bit. You call people out of the blue and you give your little pitch, but they have no idea who you are. So they’re like, ‘what does this girl want?’ So I did that first, and then people would say ‘oh, I’ll get back to you’ or, ‘oh, send me an e-mail.’ If anything, I’d get a share of my video, a post, a retweet or something, but not necessarily any contributions. So that’s when I was like, for my personality, I have to be talking to people face to face, person to person. And that ended up being perfect, I got contributions when I went door to door.
Q: I was actually wondering how that went after seeing your video! (To see Priscilla’s video on door to door marketing, click here)
Priscilla: Yeah, it was interesting. Some people…you just don’t know what to expect. And honestly, some people, how I re-enacted it was not even an exaggeration. Literally people are just like, ‘no not interested,’ and I hadn’t even said anything yet! But other people, who are entrepreneurs themselves, they respect the hustle kind of thing, so they support right back, which is really nice. It’s hit or miss, definitely.

Q: What kind of marketing advice would you have for someone who’s just trying to start a campaign?
Priscilla: Honestly, I would just suggest completely stepping outside of the box. If it feels uncomfortable, then do it, because you never know what kind of results you’re going to get. Like door to door marketing. Just try different things outside of your box. Like I said, I never did that before, but I tried it, and it worked! So you never know what kind of results you’re going to get.

BoostR Question: Would you rather be a dragon, or own a dragon?
Priscilla: I think I’d rather be a dragon? Is this a trick question? Because dragons are cool, I want to blow fire out of my mouth, that’s pretty cool. And not scare people, but a dragon is a fierce thing. And if I am a dragon then I own myself, so there you go!

BoostR Success Story – FREDsense

FREDsense Technologies lands coveted spot at Silicon Valley startup accelerator

A startup in Calgary is making waves—by testing waves.

FREDsense Technologies is a new Alberta-based business that engineers organisms to test water quality. The founders came up with a “bio-sensor” technology to engineer bacteria and put them in containers, much like USB sticks, which can be submerged into water to test for a wide variety of contaminants.

This technology will be useful for the oil and gas industry, as well as the agriculture industry. Its founders are all students or recent alumni of the University of Calgary.

Because this new technology has the potential to have a big impact, FREDsense was one of seven startups selected from a pool of 400 applicants from around the world to participate in an accelerator program for new businesses in Mountain View, California.

Co-founders David Lloyd, Chief Operating Officer, and Emily Hicks, CEO, are at Singularity University, which runs this program specifically for startups coming up with disruptive technology to solve big world problems.

“It’s pretty fantastic. I’m still realizing that we’re here, this is happening, right in the heart of Silicon Valley,” Lloyd said.

“We’re suffering from huge impostor syndrome. Looking around seeing the talent and huge ideas in other teams is unreal. We’re also the only Canadians here, and Emily is the only woman here.”

Lloyd and Hicks participated in ATB’s Alberta BoostR program, a rewards-based crowdfunding platform, to help raise some money for their startup. After they did this, they realized they needed to accelerate even more. That’s where the program they’re now participating in came in.

“It’s a 10 week experience, you get $100,000 for your company, and every week we’re learning rapidly how to run our business better. We’re being introduced to potential customers and investors. It’s been an awesome experience,” Lloyd said.

Alberta BoostR was important for Lloyd and Hicks because they needed a way to fund prototypes of their product. They needed to show potential customers and investors that their technology really works, and Alberta BoostR helped to provide them with some funding to do that.

“When I heard about Alberta BoostR, I thought it was an incredibly cool way we could have impact and get people involved in what we’re doing at the same time. We decided to give it a go, even though in some ways, we’re really not the ideal fit when it came to rewards-based crowd funding,” Lloyd said.

“It’s one of the big reasons we’re here today in California and having this opportunity.”

Since Alberta BoostR is a rewards-based crowdfunding initiative, Lloyd and Hicks had to come up with, well, rewards. They ended up giving out water bottles, Lloyd said, since it fit the theme of “testing what’s in your water.” They also gave out t-shirts and hoodies. Finally, they gave away experiences. First, the put on a biology art day, where kids painted pictures with bacteria that glowed in the dark. Then they hosted a “be a synthetic biologist for a day” experience.

Once they’re back in Alberta, Lloyd and Hicks plan to really get the business up and running by getting their products to market.

“And we want to do that in Alberta. We believe in the province and the people and the amazing talents we have, and that we can make an impact from there on the rest of the world,” Lloyd said.

The company’s first product, FRED (Field-Ready Electrochemical Detector), uses a genetically modified bacteria to detect multiple water-borne contaminants in two simple steps. A cartridge holding the ‘sensing’ bacteria and chemicals needed to run the test is placed in a detector with the water being tested. After one to two minutes the detector sends the results via Wi-Fi, 3G, or USB connection, to your device.

Video Source: http://singularityhub.com/2015/10/02/taking-flight-meet-the-startups-of-the-2015-inaugural-su-labs-accelerator/