Estevan’s Nathan Wilhelm is a finalist for a national award that has a public voting component, and offers a $100,000 prize.
The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has announced that Wilhelm's project, Building Boom, will represent Saskatchewan in the finals of the 2014 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award (YEA).
Wilhelm's project aims to expand his business, Wilhelm Construction Services, into off-site constructed housing to address the local housing shortage.
“The housing shortage is at the heart of a vicious circle,” said Wilhelm. “Businesses can’t retain, hire or send new employees for training because of the housing shortage. Jobs are available here, but this means nothing if people don’t have an affordable place to live.”
Over the past seven years, Wilhelm Construction has grown from two people into a 34-person operation that has the ability to manage trades, resources and project deadlines to deliver what its community needs.
Wilhelm said he wants to use his company’s capabilities to address Estevan’s housing shortage with off-site home construction. In this model, complete single-family homes, townhouses and even multi-unit condos are built offsite in modular sections, transported to the construction site, and assembled for final finishing.
Off-site constructed units can be completed in as little as half the time of traditional stick-built housing, and Wilhelm Construction has already completed a 55-unit condo development with this method. Wilhelm is confident this project will open up new opportunities for his company in other communities that face similar housing shortages.
“Each of this year’s finalists has shared a compelling story about how their business stands at that crucial crossroads where the right mix of vision and action can secure future growth and success,” said BDC senior vice-president of marketing and public affairs Michel Bergeron. “Nathan’s story illustrates how adequate housing investment is fundamental to local economic growth and tried and tested building solutions lead to great business opportunities.”
To claim the $100,000 grand prize, and tackle this project, Wilhelm needs public support.
Voting for the 2014 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest opened May 29, and will continue until June 12. To support a project, please visit the BDC contest’s website at https://www.bdcyoungentrepreneuraward.ca/en/home, and vote once a day.
The BDC Young Entrepreneur Award winner and runner-up will be announced on June 18. The runner-up will receive $25,000 in consulting services offered by BDC.