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How an entrepreneur with disabilities grew her Dog Nerd business in Manitoba

Success Story Info

  • Organization: 

    Dog Nerd

  • Region:  Manitoba
  • Impact: 

    An entrepreneur with disabilities builds and grows her dog training business in Winnipeg.

  • Project: 

    Equal Opportunities West support to Dog Nerd

  • Category:  Women
  • Story Date:  2020-08-13

Lisa Hazelwood is the owner, founder and head trainer at Dog Nerd, a dog sport and training centre that uses positive training techniques. Lisa faced a now-or-never moment. She had dreamed of starting her own business, but faced physical and mental health barriers.

One in 5 Canadians will experience mental health challenges in their lifetime and 22% of Canadians have at least 1 disability. Now running a successful business, Lisa inspires others with disabilities to get the support they need from Equal Opportunities West's Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program (EDP).

Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) supports EDP and helps people with disabilities or health conditions start businesses. People who are planning to start a business or already have a business get one-to-one business consulting. This includes:

  • business advice
  • training workshops
  • help with marketing
  • help with business plans
  • links to relevant resources and contacts
  • access to higher business education courses

Lisa reminds others that their disabilities don’t define them. Get the support you need to make your mark on the world.

How an entrepreneur with disabilities grew her Dog Nerd business in Manitoba (length: 2:31)

Transcript: How an entrepreneur with disabilities grew her Dog Nerd business in Manitoba


(Text on screen: Scenes in this video were produced prior to COVID-19 health restrictions.)

(Various shots of the Dog Nerd facility, including Lisa Hazelwood setting up equipment)

(Text on screen: Lisa Hazelwood Dog Nerd Dog Training Winnipeg, MB)

(LISA HAZELWOOD, OWNER, FOUNDER AND HEAD TRAINER, DOG NERD) I'm Lisa Hazlewood and I'm the owner, founder and head trainer here at Dog Nerd.

Dog Nerd dog training is a positive reinforcement dog training facility. So, we don't use pain, force, or fear to get the behaviours that we want.

(customer bringing her dog in)

(LISA HAZELWOOD) I started Dog Nerd because I felt like there was a need in the community for a centre where they could come and work with their dogs using positive training techniques.

(Dogs going through training, interspersed with Lisa Hazelwood speaking)

(LISA HAZELWOOD) The biggest challenge I faced starting my business was my health problems, mostly. I do have some mental health difficulties, as well as some physical difficulties, and it's just tough to know where to start, who to talk to.

My mindset was my age. I was almost turning 50 and I said, “It's now or never.” I can't leave this off even one more year.

I picked up the phone and called Equal Opportunities West. They run the Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program and during our first meeting I felt more empowered than I have ever felt.

They really did help break down barriers for me and with the people that provided me services, as well. They could go in and speak for me when I couldn't, and come with me and just be there for me when I needed the support of somebody there, as well.

If I could talk to other people about starting a business even if you have a disability, go with your idea. Your disability does not define you.

We don't all have the same start. We don't all have the same education. But we all have dreams, and we need to go to people who can foster those dreams and make them a reality. Don't waste time, don't waste another day, write down their dreams and send EDP an email right now.

Don't feel like you're not good enough. You definitely are good enough. Let others see that and get out there. The world needs more of us.

(Equal Opportunities West logo)

(Twitter logo and text on screen: @WD_Canada)

(Western Economic Diversification Canada wordmark)

(Canada wordmark)

[music stops]

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