Winners of business contest bringing osteopathy to Sarnia

From left: Shannon Shurgold and Laura Rideout of Culture Shock Kombucha, SLBDC General Manager Don Anderson, Meghan Duncan and Roxanne Corvers of The River Osteopathy & Wellness Centre, and David Vanos of Libro Credit Unit. Cathy Dobson

Cathy Dobson

Drum roll please!

The winners of this year’s Win This Space competition were announced recently at a Dragon’s Den-like event involving six finalists and a panel of judges.

Meghan Duncan and Roxanne Corvers won free rent for a year for the new business they plan to launch this fall in Sarnia.

The two women are studying osteopathic therapy at the Canadian Academy of Osteopathy and intend to open the first local clinic of its kind.

Apart from their extensive education, they say the most costly aspect of opening the clinic is the lease. Now they’ve got that covered for their entire first year.

“That’s going to let us focus more on educating people about osteopathy,” says Duncan. “We would have opened regardless, but this is a bonus.”

Osteopathy is a non-invasive treatment that’s been around since the 1800s and addresses pain in the body by treating it with soft tissue manipulation, stretching and counter strain measures.

It’s alternative health care used for everything from backaches to headaches and carpal tunnel. The women say it’s natural medicine that’s gaining popularity in Canada although there are still only a handful of schools and practitioners.

“We believe that if we can get the blood there, then your body will fix itself,” said Corvers. “There are times we see instantaneous results.”

Duncan, 25, has a science degree in human kinetics from the University of Guelph and will graduate from the Canadian Academy of Osteopathy in Hamilton this fall.

Corvers, 42, has 18 years of clinical experience in speech and language. She was also a Doula for five years. When she began suffering from Crohn’s disease in 2015, she sought multiple treatments and found only osteopathy treatments made a dramatic difference.

“I’m in remission,” she said. “Osteopathy has taught me that if your body isn’t structurally what it should be, it won’t heal itself.”

She will graduate in the spring of 2020.

However, both women are already able to get malpractice insurance and accept patients.

In order to win the contest held annually by the Sarnia-Lambton Business Development Corporation (SLBDC), they had to participate in an intense application process, attend a series of workshops, write a business plan, make financial projections and, finally, make the cut to be judged before a panel at Lambton College.

“It was nerve racking,” admitted Corvers.  “But it was also a fun night. Everyone was so supportive.”

After their 15-minute presentation, she and Duncan were chosen from a group of six entrepreneurs to get free rent in Sarnia.

SLBDC officials call the contest a “game changing opportunity” supported by sponsors that include Libro Credit Union and Bluewater Power.

Now the work of finding a storefront location begins for Corvers and Duncan.

The WIN this Space competition awards free rent for a year to one business venture in Sarnia and a second in rural Lambton.

Shannon Shurgold and Laura Rideout of Culture Shock Kombucha won the second free storefront for a year in Grand Bend.

Got a good idea for a business story?  Contact cathy.dobson@thesarniajournal.ca.