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Success Stories

Peterborough Economic Development Supports Entrepreneurs over 30 with B.L.A.S.T. Pilot Program

BLAST Top 16 in 2016 Group Shot of the Finalists

Today, Peterborough Economic Development announced the “Top 16 in 2016” finalists from the B.L.A.S.T. (Business Launch Assistance, Support & Training) Pilot Program.

The B.L.A.S.T. Pilot Program, which launched in January, was designed specifically to support entrepreneurs over the age of 30, particularly for professionals in skilled trades, product creation and service provision. Through the program, entrepreneurs were connected with training to complete a business plan for their business start-up or expansion. Peterborough Economic Development’s Business Advisory Centre is one of ten offices in the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs, to receive funding from the Government of Ontario to run an entrepreneurship pilot program.

A total of $80,000 in funding was announced on Monday as the “Top 16 in 2016” each received a $5000 microgrant to assist them with executing their business plans. The following entrepreneurs made up the Top 16:

Entrepreneur Business Name Description
Rochelle Andrew Oak and Fire Fitness Accessible personal training and fitness classes
Erin Bell BIOS Natural Health Specialized nutritional consulting, fitness instruction
Romell Appsell App creation for businesses, public figures and events
Jason Chessar Collective Entertainment Live entertainment booking company
Timothy Dowsett Show Them Motion Graphics Goal-oriented video creation for local small business
Marshall Eckler Chef Marshall Artisanal, naturally fermented food & beverage
Adam Forth Kawartha Original Greens Grower of leafy greens and microgreens
Jennifer Garland The Mane Intent Facilitated equine experiential learning focused on workshops, coaching and development
Dennis Jenkins Northern Designs Heating, Ventilation & Air Conditioning (HVAC) design and planning
Melinda Masters Dream Theme Weddings Unique one-stop shop for brides with theme weddings
Kerry McMaster Revive Hair Lounge Fashion forward, eco-friendly salon
Amber McRae Muddy Girl Contractor specializing
Angela Murphy Pure Dental Dental hygiene care services in a relaxed environment
Diane Rogers Doo Doo’s Bakery Bakery specializing in butter tarts & pies
Rosie Salcido Faces By 2 Makeup artistry studio and boutique
Lee Verner Verner Construction Residential and commercial carpentry.


“We are proud to showcase the talented entrepreneurs of the B.L.A.S.T. Top 16 in 2016. Our team designed this pilot program in order to address a specific need in the market: a program for older entrepreneurs.” said Peterborough Economic Development’s President & CEO Rhonda Keenan. “We look forward to continuing to celebrate the successes of these entrepreneurs, as well as looking to move the program from the pilot phase to a permanent offering of Peterborough Economic Development’s Business Advisory Centre.”