CONNECTING WHERE IT COUNTS

Courtesy of Margaux Miller

Courtesy of Margaux Miller

We live in a busy and ultra-connected world. Regardless, we still often forget about our neighbors, and about the amazing things happening right around the corner. I’ve been highly engaged in the local community and in volunteerism since I was young, and yet the people I meet daily and their stories of success and failure, still cease to amaze me. I work hard to be a connector, someone who brings great people together. My newest project brings this to center stage as I aim to share stories of local success through a new platform – a startup focused podcast. 

Aptly titled START Podcast, my co-host and sibling Matt Miller and I are focused on promoting entrepreneurship in the Canadian Prairies through interviews with local business founders. We want to help grow Manitoba’s innovation economy and the podcast serves as a great way to promote the wonderful things happening in the prairies that often go unnoticed and under-appreciated. We have truly unique and interesting startups and businesses growing here that many people will never hear about. We wanted to change that.



If you ask me about common themes and advice that founders provide, I would share the sentiment that you simply need to start. Start living your passion, start sharing your ideas, and start taking steps toward doing what makes you happy. Interview after interview, founders tell us that taking the leap was the most important step. They then explain that the local support they received when starting their business here in Manitoba was paramount to their success.  

Photographed by Carissa Burton

Photographed by Carissa Burton

 START Podcast guest Brooke Van Ryssel is a great example of someone looking to make an impact, starting with Manitoba. Brooke is the owner of My Body Fitness + Nutrition, Winnipeg’s first body inclusive group fitness gym and community Space. In many ways, her space challenges the idea of what a traditional “gym” environment looks and acts like. Our podcast interview with Brooke got into the ups and downs of being an industry-challenging business, as well as how important local support can be when getting started. “I am so grateful to be part of such a supportive community here at home. Starting a business comes with many challenges, but when you turn around day after day and always find someone in your corner, it makes it all feel possible.” 

Brooke is not alone in this sentiment either. When we spoke with Kerri Twigg, a LinkedIn Top Voice of 2018, she too gave the advice to start today. To be a thought leader or to be trusted or recognized for a certain service, you need to have a base, and people need to associate you with that item. 

All the women we have had on the show have been working to make a difference in people’s lives and in the community. With the podcast, we are so passionate about shining a light on people like this and on existing local success. We have so much to celebrate, and sometimes we just need to listen and to look for what is happening all around us. You absolutely can start a business here in the Canadian Prairies and be extremely successful. The community here is so strong and wants to support local. So, I encourage you: take a chance on yourself and your passion and ideas. You will get further than you think.  And if for now that isn’t for you, then please look local and support startups so they can thrive here in your community.