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VANCOUVER
AGREEMENT

Bill’s Story:

Genesis Creations

By Marcia Nozick, Executive Director, EMBERS

Reprinted with permission from EMBERS Success Stories

photoA skilled journeyman carpenter, Bill’s life and future were torn apart and near destroyed by an addiction to cocaine. Then one day, in the dank alleys of the Downtown Eastside, he hit his edge and made a decision to get help from a recovery program. And it worked! One day at a time, Bill began to piece his life back together. Like many of EMBERS clients who have undergone serious life crises, Bill was in the process of rebuilding his life when he walked through our doors.

Bill was working as a carpenter for a number of construction companies when he came to EMBERS in June 2004, for advice on how to start his own company. Bill was a first class tradesman but had no idea how to operate a business of his own.

His ambitions were modest: do a business plan, get bank financing to buy a truck and tools and set up his own contracting company. He had tried to get a bank loan through the usual route but, having a bad credit rating dating back to his life as an addict, he was turned away.

Seeing his determination, commitment to sobriety, and positive energy, we knew Bill had the ingredients for success. Working with a business coach, he completed a business plan and with EMBERS’ support formed a business relationship with VanCity where he eventually applied and was approved for a character-based loan from the local branch.

His hard work paid off. Genesis Creations was launched. The next time I saw Bill was six months later. “How is it going?” I asked. Bill answered, “It couldn’t be better. I could never have imagined all I have in my life. Business is booming, I’m employing six people. And I’m engaged to be married.” Not only that, but Bill had bought a condo with a mortgage he received through VanCity based on his own repaired credit rating. What a turn around!! And success continues to follow Bill. When I talked to him five months later, he had sold his condo for a tidy profit and traded up for a new house in Langley where he now lives.

EMBERS provided support at a pivotal time in Bill’s life and opened the opportunities for him to grow and flourish as a business owner. EMBERS is proud of the work it does because it not only supports the individual but adds economic value through increasing business earnings and by reducing the collateral damage created by someone that is in the cycle of addiction. People with active addictions need to get the money to support their habits and usually this involves illegal activities.

Now Bill lives a meaning-filled life. Besides seeing business success and his personal life blossoming, Bill also fulfilled a social dream to give back to the recovery community that helped him. He employed people from the recovery program who, like himself, are working hard to start a new life for themselves, clean and sober.

Update, July 2009

Bill continues to be resilient and do well. He adjusted to the economic downturn by finding work in the film industry building sets.

Since 2004, the Vancouver Agreement has provided funding to EMBERS for business development support, entrepreneurship training and the Micro-enterprise Development Program.

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