Community Futures Sunshine Coast is committed to inspiring and advancing an ecosystem of local entrepreneurship, social enterprise and impact investing..


Sechelt Iron

On a rainy winter day in 2016 Joe Curry dropped by Dieter Rumba’s welding shop, Sechelt Iron, looking for steel to repair his truck. “I just hit it off with Dieter, and we chatted. “At the end of the hour Dieter looked at me and said, ‘you should buy this place’.

Owning a shop was a lifelong dream, but I had a new young family and I’d just moved here. A loan from Community Futures is what made it possible for me to buy the business.”

Joe is young, experienced Red Seal welder and fabricator new to the Sunshine Coast. He always wanted to buy a welding shop, so he could provide more security for his young family. After owning Sechelt Iron for 27 years, Dieter was ready to sell his business and retire. The challenge keeping the successful sale at bay, was that Joe couldn’t get a loan approved from his bank. “The head bank office in Vancouver didn’t think it was a good enough loan. They wouldn’t lend me the money. I almost gave up, but then the bank manager sent me to Community Futures.”

Joe met with Community Futures’ business advisor Mark Yellowley. Mark helped him revise his business plan, and apply for his Community Futures loan to buy the business. “Mark was great. He helped me review and improve my business plan, and prepare for my presentation to the investment committee. He was essential to making it happen,” said Joe. “Mark was a realistic, genuine, nice guy. I couldn’t have done this without him.”

Taking on an established welding shop is a big task. “It’s more than a full-time job. I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about it.” said Joe.“It’s also really rewarding. I get a rush every time I drive by projects I have built, like the railing in front of the Trail Bay mall in Sechelt. It’s a great feeling!  And we are starting to get into some cool jobs.”

Sechelt Iron is growing under Joe’s new ownership. “I just hired two new staff. This way, I can book stuff, and I have one guy to help me keep producing jobs, and another guy to help do the little stuff like deliver our finished material and pick up parts. It just makes more sense. I’ve got great people that I trust, and that’s important.”

The Coast is really starting to grow. When I drive around, all I can see is potential. I know there lots of people who would come from the mainland to work with me. It’s beautiful here, and everyone wants to live here.

Joe Curry, Sechelt Iron, Sechelt BC

Sunshine Coast Lavender Farm

Mike and Allyson always wanted to start their own business and were on the lookout for the right opportunity. Allyson grew into the idea that a lavender farm would be a valuable addition to the Sunshine Coast. Mike and Allyson presented their idea to a Community Futures’ business team for feedback and insight. “Our advisor asked us hard questions, but reaffirmed our plan,” said Mike. “He also pointed out certain things we hadn’t considered, like how to structure a home-based business so it wouldn’t intrude on the balance between family and business.”

It was through Community Futures that Allyson learned about the Local Entrepreneur Accelerator Program (LEAP!) and decided to apply.

“The LEAP! Program was the friendly push we needed to get out of the nest and start a business” said Allyson. “We were in danger of ‘analysis paralysis’ and getting stuck in thinking about it all the time. We wanted to get started, but we needed encouragement to get out the door. LEAP! helped us get the skills to analyze, assess, and move.”

The Sunshine Coast Lavender Farm is thrilled with community support behind the small local business. Tourists are stopping by the farm, and the local business community is jumping on board and adding lavender to Sunshine Coast local products sections in retail shops. Cheeky Monkey Cakes, Secret Cove Marina and Oh My Goodness cold pressed juices are all featuring Sunshine Coast lavender products.

What advice to Allyson and Mike have to anyone wanting to start a business on the Sunshine Coast? “Your first stop needs to be Community Futures. They are completely approachable. They will ask tough questions, and help you uncover the answers. It’s the right first step!”

Allyson and Mike Fawcus, Owners of the Sunshine Coast Lavender Farm

The Sunshine Coast Lavender Farm can be found in West Sechelt where Mike and Allyson Fawcus are busy selling lavender plants, and producing homemade soap and body care products from the latest crop of lavender growing on their working farm. With more than 800 plants in the ground, three growing children, along with goats and chickens, the Fawcus’ farm is a busy place.


Cheeky Monkey Cakes

Victoria Pauls has always loved to bake and decorate cakes. In 2016, she took the plunge and, with advice and a loan from Community Futures, started Cheeky Monkey Cakes retail shop in Sechelt. Her side street cake studio is bustling, and growing faster than she could have imagined.

“When I was ready to move into a storefront, acquiring a loan from Community Futures helped me start out on the right foot!”

Victoria Pauls, Cheeky Monkey Cakes, Sechelt BC

Cheeky Monkey Cakes is a unique wedding and celebration cake studio in downtown Sechelt, started by Victoria Pauls in 2016. Victoria came to Community Futures for a business consultation because, although she was an expert baker, she hadn’t operated a storefront before.

She knew she needed a little advice to get started, and a loan to purchase several modern professional display cases and authentic wooden work tables. “Our cake creations are based on beauty, quality ingredients, sophistication, and a little fun,” said Victoria. “It was very important to me that our storefront reflected those qualities. The studio had to be as fabulous as our work!”

Community Futures helped Victoria start her business with more than just a loan. “I’m so grateful to Community Futures for their faith in my business.  I had to take six months off work when my last child was born (the last three months of my pregnancy and the first three months after she was born), and being self-employed there is no maternity leave pay, so financially my family was not in a place where any bank would even consider giving us a business loan.  I cried when I read the email informing me that our loan had been approved, not because of the loan itself, but because I was so touched that they had faith in our business’ future success.”