North Central Development has been instrumental in helping Lionel and Freda Lepine achieve their dream. The Wabowden couple owns Mescanow Autograde and Contracting, a company dealing in heavy construction including base-laying for preparatory road bed work, road construction, snow plowing, water and log hauling.
The business was started in 1998 and North Central provided assistance with business planning as well as financing. A sizable loan, used toward the purchase of a grader, was paid off in less than three years. Owing to their great track record, the Lepines were also able to secure a second loan in 2001 to purchase additional equipment for contracts received. Since opening for business Mescanow Autograde and Contracting has grown to employ three full-time and up to 15 part-time employees as required.
As Lionel has learned, being an entrepreneur takes a lot of dedication, hard work and skill. "Be prepared to have way less money than when you're working for someone else," he advises prospective entrepreneurs. "In summer you put in at least sixteen hours a day and in winter it's basically twenty-four. If someone phones in the middle of the night, you've gotta go."
But then there is the satisfaction of seeing your efforts pay off – and for Lepine, they certainly are. His base-laying expertise is recognized as top notch across Manitoba, and has helped him win the contract as the exclusive supplier of base-laying services to Smook Brothers (Thompson) Ltd, a contracting and excavation firm.