2005 - 2006
Aimée Epp has the travel bug and Africa was on her list of places to see. With a little money saved up after working in snowboard manufacturing, she researched the net to discover an inexpensive way to travel there. Serendipity played a part and she landed a volunteer position with Gambia Tourist Support (GTS) They needed help in developing a performing arts program to educate tourists in African history and Aimée just happened to have studied performing arts. She met Kocassalé Dioubaté, a traditional drummer, and storyteller while scouting for musicians.
The seeds for BéréSanké Percussion were sown as she and Koca made and sold instruments as part of the GTS cultural project, and they were married before Aimée returned to Canada. During the summer here she worked as a supervisor in skimboard manufacturing and she also attended an SE Information session at the advise of a friend. While in the Gambia the next winter to be with Koca and continue working on the GTS project, their daughter was conceived.
Once the new family was established back in Canada Aimée enrolled in the Toward Excellence Self Employment Program. "The program gave us realistic preparation tools and the ability to look at the big picture, " says Aimée. "The business would be totally different without it. Invaluable."
With the business plan developed in the program, financing was attained to launch an on-line retail site and import inventory. BéréSanké Percussion 'Cultivates the Roots of Rhythm' by selling traditional African instruments in addition to promoting Koca's performances and drumming workshops and of course, cultural drumming excursions to Africa. The site also educates users about the history of the instruments and African culture.
Skills learned in the SE Program such as time management and recognizing priorities - like marketing and distinguishing their roles in the business continue to serve the partnership as they move forward. Watch for exciting new developments as Aimée continues to develop her passion for entrepreneurship and her interests in sustainable travel!
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