Spotlight Series: From Entrepreneur to Advisor - Cara Cote
Before Cara Cote became a business advisor for the Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan Inc. (WESK), she was an entrepreneur her entire working life.
“I started my first business when I was in my senior year of high school, because I won a business planning contest through WESK,” says Cote. “It came full circle.”
When Cote started her tech company in 2006, she went to WESK for business advising and became familiar with the role of the business advisor.
“I started the company on my own, and as it grew, it became a full marketing agency and software development company,” says Cote. “Seven years later, I had my son and decided to sell my business.”
In 2010, Cote started her current company ZED Engineering Inc., and at that time, Cote was also looking to become an advisor. WESK did not have any job openings, so, she started volunteering as a business mentor for Futurpreneur Canada.
“In June 2020, I found myself out of work because COVID-19 suspended all the contracts for my engineering consulting company,” says Cote. “At the same time, WESK was hiring a business advisor, and I ended up getting the job. It was perfect timing.”
Cote loves helping women entrepreneurs because she wants to help them understand what they need to do and how to do it efficiently.
“Although entrepreneurship is exciting, there are difficult times,” says Cote. “I understand what they are going through because I have been in their shoes, and from my experiences, I can help them problem solve.”
Cote says one of the most exciting parts of business advising is when someone shares a success with her, and they are excited to share it.
“As an entrepreneur, I understand how important those milestones are,” says Cote. “Those are my favourite phone calls.”
Jocelyn Poock, founder, and owner of The Prairie Centre for Child Development has been a client of Cote since June 2021.
“Having Cara as my cheerleader and instil confidence in me and my ideas means so much to me,” says Poock. “The way she has helped me so far is beyond anything I would have ever expected.”
As a clinical psychologist, Poock fully understands the clinical side of her business, but is not a businessperson, so, to have someone who is trustworthy and knowledgeable is invaluable.
“I had my business idea for years, and Cara was able to help me bring it to life,” says Poock. “I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for her.”