Our monthly Immigrant Entrepreneurship Newsletter features some of the incredible immigrant entrepreneurs in Alberta that we support, like Kim-Ann Wilson, President of SASS Marketing Agency. We spoke with Kim-Ann about her journey and experience as an immigrant entrepreneur in Alberta.
What is your background?
I was born in Jamaica, went to school in England, and graduated from University with a Bachelors’s in Business Administration: Marketing Major.
Tell us about your business and what it does.
SASS Marketing Agency is a full-service marketing agency. We elevate your brand’s voice with a tailored marketing strategy and beautifully designed marketing materials that deliver phenomenal brand exposure.
What motivated you to start your own business?
The drive to help the businesses within my community gain brand exposure. I was tired of constantly seeing black businesses get overlooked as viable and trustworthy businesses because of poor marketing.
What are you most proud of? What is your biggest success?
I’m very proud of the work we’ve achieved in 1 year. We’ve helped 83 clients elevate their branding, we’ve been featured on CBC radio and local community TV stations, and our designs have been quoted as ‘creative’ from a local news outlet. Our biggest success is being known within the community as an agency that delivers excellence in everything we do. Another big personal success of mine was transitioning from being a full-time corporate employee to a full-time business owner.
What has been your biggest challenge as an immigrant entrepreneur in Alberta?
Like most immigrant entrepreneurs/business owners, for us, it is access to capital/funding. We’ve built this agency without any funding, grants or loans.
What has been your biggest challenge in light of COVID-19? How have you had to pivot your business?
Unlike a lot of other Alberta businesses, COVID-19 had a positive impact on ours. We saw an influx of clients who desperately needed digital marketing help to keep their business in front of their prospective customers/clients. Prior to COVID-19, most businesses had relied heavily on the traditional ways of marketing, but with the need to be digital, these businesses wanted to build an online presence. So for us, the challenge was that we needed to hire more help within the agency to meet the needs of our clients.
“The pandemic taught me that success and failure really start from within, it’s not from any external source. Strategic planning and implementation are key to maintaining a successful business.”
What advice would you share with other immigrant entrepreneurs in Alberta who want to start or grow their own business?
“It always seems impossible until it’s done.” Fear and doubt will ALWAYS be present, but once you push past that fear, you’re unstoppable. Trust your instincts and go for it.
How has Business Link/our Immigrant Entrepreneur Program helped you?
Meeting with some other Immigrant Entrepreneurs helped in realizing that we’re all facing the same challenges, but it is always helpful hearing how each person is tackling the challenges, it opened other avenues to explore.
What’s coming up next for you?
We’ve just launched our first 6-week ‘Marketing Foundations Bootcamp’ for women business owners who are unsure about where their ideal customers/clients are or even how to reach them. It started Monday, July 19th and runs until Monday, August 23rd.
Where can you find SASS Marketing Agency?
SASS Marketing Agency on Facebook
SASS Marketing Agency on Instagram
SASS Marketing Agency on LinkedIn