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Sage experience, vision results in double win for Vernon dental hygienist

Jenna Smith’s Sage Dental Hygiene, a mobile service, topped annual Enterprize Challenge

A dental hygienist for 17 years, Jenna Smith was talking with a patient in her chair when the man told her he couldn’t find a mobile hygienist for his wife who was in long-term care.

The light above the heads of both Smith and the patient was on for the teeth-cleaning work, but that light turned into a proverbial idea light bulb for Smith.

She would go on to dream up Sage Dental Hygiene, a full-service mobile dental company providing care for those that are home-bound or in assisted living and long-term care communities throughout the Okanagan Valley.

Smith’s vision came to fruition with a double win Thursday, May 9, at the Community Futures North Okanagan’s annual Enterprize Challenge event. She won first prize in the competition along with the People’s Choice Award.

“I am passionate about increasing access to preventative oral care for vulnerable populations, as good oral health contributes to overall well-being,” said Smith. “This work reminds me of the times I spent with my own grandma –- being able to connect with clients, provide comfort and improve their oral health feels incredibly fulfilling.”

The Enterprize Challenge is a way for budding entrepreneurs, or owners of a new business, to learn from some of the best as they hone their pitch, polish up the business plan and prepare for an exciting launch.

Enterprize Challengers take part in a ‘business bootcamp,’ where they attend weeks of workshops and enjoy one-to-one mentoring to help make their business pitch stand out.

The Challenge culminates in a Dragon’s Den-style competition, held before a public audience at the Vernon and District Performing Arts Centre.

“I had heard about the Enterprize Challenge, and how it made such an impact on small, local businesses gaining traction in the marketplace,” said Smith. “As a dental hygienist, I don’t have a background in business so I thought I would gain some valuable feedback and support from experienced professionals and mentors. I also enjoy public speaking and making a pitch about my business was right up my alley.”

Smith beat out six other entrepreneurs for the top prize, a package that includes advertising, legal, video marketing, bookkeeping, marketing, tuition, and leasing credits, and membership into the Greater Vernon and Armstrong Spallumcheen Chambers of Commerce, and Accelerate Okanagan.

“I was absolutely thrilled to hear my business called for the People’s Choice Award, and winning first place was the cherry on top of a wonderful night,” said Smith. “I am just so grateful to have been selected by both the judges and the public; being recognized in such a significant way encourages me to continue pursuing my goals and growing Sage Dental Hygiene. The support from the community has been overwhelming in the loveliest of ways.”

Second place went to Precious Gatpandan and RJ San Jose’s Errands and Beyond, a general errand company that will do running around and provide handyman services to those in need the Greater Vernon and neighbouring areas.

Taking home third place was Gaby Flores’ Baking Time. Flores is an executive pastry chef who creates beautiful custom cakes, cookies, and pastries. She specializes in gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan baking.

READ MORE: Seven finalists in the running for North Okanagan Enterprize Challenge

READ MORE: Armstrong Enterprize winners reflect on ‘invaluable’ exposure

Roger Knox

About the Author: Roger Knox

I am a journalist with more than 30 years of experience in the industry. I started my career in radio and have spent the last 21 years working with Black Press Media.
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