A self-described tree hugging environmentalist follows her passions and grows her business across Manitoba and beyond
Lorena Mitchell began her business, Evolve Green 11 years ago in Manitoba with the idea it could make an impact on her life, the community and across the province. From humble beginnings the business has grown into an industry leader in solar energy production and represents the values of the founder.
The Early Years
Mitchell was injured in a chemical accident 11 years ago which limited her mobility and confined her to bed. It was during this time plans for the business were developed. With time for reflection, Mitchell realized she wanted to live true to a leaner, greener self and share her ideology at a larger scale.
Evolve Green started with LED and wind solutions and later became more focused on solar technology, allowing people and businesses to harvest energy from the sun.
Curiosity and a drive to live more sustainably are at the heart of this company. “Everything that I do is implemented on my own home first. It gives me a chance to do the research and development, to make sure products work and that we understand them,” Mitchell explained.
The company grew rapidly in the first few years changing from a sole proprietorship to a corporation, then moving from her home into a brick and mortar location.
EvolveGreen in 2019
While driving across the prairies, Manitobans may see some of the solar install projects completed by the Evolve Green team. From a roof-mounted solar system or a ground-mounted bank of panels, Evolve Green’s projects are usually facing south and quietly generating energy that is fed back into the grid.
The Rural Advantage
Evolve Green is a small Franco-Manitoban establishment proudly located in Marchand, Manitoba, in the forest, at the southwest of the province.
Many rural business owners find staffing quality is often better outside major cities, Mitchell noted, as employees appreciate the employment and the cost of living is typically less than urban centres, plus commercial real estate is generally more sensibly priced.
The Just Watch ME! Video Contest
Mitchell and her company Evolve Green were the 2017-18 winners of the Just Watch ME! Video contest, after she submitted a short video about her company and why entrepreneurship works for her. “I made a video, not because I wanted so much to highlight my company, I wanted to show others out there that they shouldn’t give up on their dreams. It’s good to see others with disabilities succeeding in entrepreneurship,” Mitchell said.
Her video resonated and was sent to the top through public voting, which helped her message reach a greater audience.
Lorena’s Marketing Tips
Mitchell urges entrepreneurs to know their market. “Females and males are different and you need to consider who your key decision-maker is and how they are best communicated to,” she said.
There are plenty of free advertising opportunities out there, she said, and entrepreneurs just have to learn how to use it. “Understand Google, Facebook and how they actually work, to maximize your potential. Don’t forget about eBay, Kijiji and Facebook Marketplace,” Mitchell said. “If you’re not computer savvy, challenge yourself to knuckle in and gain experience.”
She also reminds entrepreneurs to not forget about traditional mailers, as they can be an economical way to target a rural community or a specific demographic.
Mitchell’s keys for 11 years of success
Mitchell believes passion is critical to a successful business. “Find something you love that will drive you, if you ever get down. A driving force needs to be there, or you will eventually lose steam,” she said.
Research is key, she said, as it is important for an entrepreneur to know their industry and price points. “It may seem like an elephant, but you have to dive in and learn everything you need to know about your industry,” Mitchell added. “Don’t listen to the naysayers. Know it in your heart and go for it.”
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