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Local entrepreneur wins big as Farmbucks continues to grow

Lynn Dargis applied her knowledge of the agriculture world to fill a need.

The St. Vincent entrepreneur was dusting off confetti after claiming first place in the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE) Pitch for the Purse program.

After months of gruelling work and pitching her agriculture-based app, Farmbucks, Dargis has pocketed $25,000.

All of her hard work was on the line on Feb. 20, when she hit the stage for the finals at the The Odlum Brown FWE Gala in Vancouver, BC.

“It feels amazing. Anytime you’re recognized for the work that you’re doing it’s a good achievement and it confirms that you’re on the right track and people believe and support what you’re doing,” Dargis told the Nouvelle.

Dargis' journey toward the finale started when she came across the program completely by accident.

Scrolling online, the entrepreneur stumbled upon the pitch-style competition the night before the deadline.

She wasn't expecting the call that came sometime after, notifying her that Farmbucks had been selected for the semi-finals.

Despite never pitching a business on this platform before, Dargis "gave it her all."

"I was up against some that I thought were really incredible businesses,” she expressed, adding she was nervous about the small window of time contestants had to sell their business and what it represents to a panel of judges.

“I wasn’t sure what to expect... Just the amount of pressure on you in three-minutes to get it right, and then there was the five-minute question and answers with the judges afterwards. From that, the judges picked two from the west and one from the east to carry-on into the finals.”

Judge Manny Padda liked what he heard and decided to take Dargis under his wing as a mentor.

Between the semi-finals and the main event, he offered advice on the best way to pitch her business, explained what the judges were looking for in the finals, and how to "shine the brightest light on your business and get the message that you want to get across."

Last week, Dargis stepped onto the stage feeling even more prepared than the first time, despite the crowd of over 750 people.

“It was so much fun and it was so exciting. Just the energy in the room was so high,” exclaimed Dargis. “Looking back, it’s been an eye-opening experience and it has really helped me nail down my strategy going forward and how to really make this a viable business and a successful one."

Now that she has the $25,000 cheque in-hand, she intends to put the money towards growing her business' programming.

"We’re always looking to improve what I’ve built in terms of functions and features, but it’s also going to be used for expanding the sales team and marketing,” she detailed.

Since starting Farmbucks in 2019, Dargis has watched it blossom into a thriving business helping farmers collect and share valuable information about the industry.

“Every day we keep making progress and we keep trying to break down some of these barriers and keep trying to get the information that farmers need to them in an easier and more accessible way. That’s the whole focus, getting what farmers need in their hands and that connection that they nee to make in order to be profitable and make their decisions more efficiently and timely."

Dargis described the Pitch for the Purse program as less of a competition and more of an opportunity to meet other female entrepreneurs.

She described it as "women supporting women and men supporting women."

"It’s about mentoring, supporting, and educating women for them to be more successful in the business world and help them access investment capital."

She continued, “It’s a great environment to learn from one another, not so much compete because were all doing such great things and are going after our own dreams, it’s a lot of great energy and a lot of fun."

Dargis plans to share her story of success as the guest speaker for this year's Cold Lake Women of Influence Awards on March 6.

“If I can be of help to anyone else, I would be more than glad to help them. It’s just all about supporting each other in whatever journey we’re on."

Meagan MacEachern, Bonnyville Nouvelle