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Celebrating Success: Shawn Cote

  • March 14, 2017
  • Written by Community Futures Manitoba

When Shawn Cote’s grandmother bought her a computer in 1990, she had no idea that she was putting Shawn on a path toward owning a design, print, and media company 20 years down the road… but that’s exactly what happened!

“I have always loved all things related to the creative—music, art, design—as well as technology,” says Shawn. “When my grandmother gifted me a computer a few decades ago, it was a lightbulb moment. I realized that I could combine my love for design and technology into a career. We still joke about how that first computer system started me on my way to becoming an entrepreneur.”

Today, Shawn owns Blue Raven Design & Print, which specializes in design services, wedding and event products, business cards, and DVD slideshows. Her company also publishes a fun and informational weekly paper called The Around Town, which reaches 4,000 homes and businesses across Manitoba. 

She couldn’t imagine doing anything else, anywhere else. “Home is where the heart is!I’ve lived in big cities but was always drawn back to my small hometown area. I love being friends with my local post office workers and bankers, so I am more than happy to have started my company here with the help of Community Futures.”

Community Futures provided the information Shawn needed to delve into the world of entrepreneurship, such as how to maneuver through common challenges like financial planning and understanding business taxes. In fact, Community Futures has spent more than 30 years providing entrepreneurs like Shawn the financial and educational help they need (there are 16 local offices serving the Manitoba area).

Shawn recommends that aspiring business owners take advantage of these services so they can understand what to expect of entrepreneurship and decide whether the lifestyle fits. “Do your research beforehand. Use the resources at Community Futures, like the events and newsletters; Community Futures always has information readily available for all aspects of business ownership, which can point you down the right path.”

Speaking of the right path, Shawn never had any doubts that owning a small business was the direction for her. “Building a company is incredibly exciting. I can’t wait to get to the print shop every day, or create things in my relaxing home office. Every morning I wake up excited and grateful for making it to where I am today.”

She admits that she couldn’t have arrived here on her own. Aside from Community Futures, Shawn’s family and friends have been invaluable in supporting her dreams. “My husband and daughter put up with my crazy ideas (which isn’t easy sometimes!), and my grandmother—a former small business owner herself—has supported me from the moment that she bought me that first computer years ago. Plus, I have so many wonderful friends who encourage me and are always there to remind me how great life is.”

Not that Shawn really needs the reminders; she never forgets how much she enjoys the entrepreneur life. She just hopes that more people can experience it, too. “I love what I do every day! My advice for everyone considering starting a business:do it. Go after what you want, don’t wait for permission to move forward. Trust yourself! Things will fall into place.” 

We are so glad that they did, Shawn. Congratulations on your success!