At an age when most youths are trying to figure out what they’d like to major in at college, Amanda Pope, 16, launched her first business Biblicare, a service for the elderly.
Amanda is definitely wise beyond her years, but more than that she has a certain gusto that one can spend a lifetime trying to muster.
After witnessing her grandfather, who has been her role model and inspiration, experience five cardiac arrests that left him paralyzed, she was heartbroken.
During his months of recovery, she saw how this once youthful and independent man she’d known, now required a companion to help him daily. It’s at that pivotal time that she became determined to not only help her grandfather but the many thousands of elderly individuals who are in a similar situation.
“I’ve always been very passionate about the elderly because I’ve always had a connection with them like no other,” says Amanda.
With incredible support from her grandfather and her family, she decided to start a service to help improve the lives of those in their golden years – but she had no idea where to begin in launching a business.
As luck would have it, during her weeks of research and brainstorming, her high-school introduced Mighty Entrepreneurship, a program geared at educating young, aspiring entrepreneurs. Over a six-month period, students would learn the foundations of launching a business and receive mentorship and hands-on experience.
Amanda pounced at the opportunity.
At the end of the program, students were given the chance to present their businesses in the form of a two-minute pitch. Along with her peers, Amanda pitched Biblicare at the McMaster Innovation Park in front of a panel of judges. On that night, she won tremendous support receiving the People’s Choice Award, the Accomplished Person Award and the Recognition Award. These accolades not only solidified her vision for the business but identified her as a budding talent in the community with an impressive drive to improve the lives of a demographic many times ignored.
Over the next year, still juggling school commitments, Amanda kept pursuing her dreams. The following summer, her commitment paid off and she was granted $3000 and business mentorship through the Ontario Summer Company Program.
It’s been two years since the launch of Biblicare, and business is in full swing with 45 clients and counting, and five main service offerings: house cleaning, companionship, public escorting, grocery shopping and group bible studies/activities. Amanda has also built a team of three employees: Silvia who she calls “absolutely phenomenal,” Beverley, a former nurse who has always been passionate about helping the elderly and Carolina who conducts the bible studies/activities and is dedicated to helping the elderly retain a sense of community.
Although the business model isn’t new and similar services are available, Amanda says what makes Blibicare different are their competitive rates and the fact that the people who work with Biblicare are all very genuinely passionate about what they do.
The biggest lesson Amanda has learned as a young entrepreneur:
“Age is really just a number, and often times people are holding back and they don’t want to follow their dreams because they think right now isn’t the time. ‘I’m too young. I can wait until I go to university, I’ll be older so people will take me seriously.’ But I have to tell you, if you have that calling on your heart and you’re really passionate about it, just go for it and always remember that no great thing comes from your comfort zone,” says Amanda.
Biblicare hopes to continue expanding throughout the GTA, eventually to the US and internationally.
Look out for Amanda as host of Generation Z on Hamilton’s Cable 14 where she’ll be interviewing young entrepreneurs like herself and business experts starting this October 2016.