Alvaro Mendes owned his business in Brazil for three years before he moved to Canada. Number One produced seals placed on the stem of wine bottles, and after three successful years, he sold it to a company he supplied his products to.
He now uses this first-hand experience to support new and existing business owners in Southeast Alberta through his position with Community Futures Chinook, by offering and introducing programs, opportunities, advice, and knowledge.
“I’m able to use my business and entrepreneur spirit and mindset at Community Futures to help business owners see out of the box, organize their business plans, and apply for loans,” says Mendes.
Both Mendes’ father and great grandfather were entrepreneurs, so this industry was introduced to him at a very young age. Just before he opened his business in his 20s, he already had a degree in mechanical engineering. But to pursue the venture, he enrolled and completed his business administration degree to gain business management expertise.
“When I started my business, I didn’t experience failure, because my father was my mentor. He was there to support me. He helped me react logically and had educated answers when I came to him. I now play this role with Community Futures, when business owners are willing to share their business ideas and challenges.”
Mendes continued his business journey after he moved to Canada, and 12 years of experience in the industry has prepared him to assist business owners in his position with Community Futures.
“I can empathize with the journey of owning a business, but I also have knowledge of and understand the marketing and how a business works financially. There’s an importance of having a healthy balance of a budget and financial plan, while also properly marketing,” says Mendes. “The financial and marketing work go hand in hand in creating a successful business.”
Mendes explains there is often a gap between the business idea and the willingness to share that idea with someone. But once that gap is filled, there is no other direction to go than forward.
“There are so many available tools that can be used and we are ready to share them. Often, when people want to start a business, they are afraid of failing. We’re here to support entrepreneurs to strengthen their business plan and show a new perspective.”
There is excitement and passion in every business owner that comes to Community Futures Chinook for support. They have the energy and they believe in the success of their business. Mendes is able to bring to light the tools and resources that are created and implemented to help set up those businesses for that success.
A big piece of advice Mendes shares with business owners is to recognize when something is achieved, “It’s important to celebrate. It’s something I always try to apply in my personal and professional life. Otherwise, we just work for the next thing with no reward. Always take the time to recognize the things you’ve achieved and conquered, and then move forward.”