Responder 101

Responder 101 - first aid training
Responder 101 - first aid training

Marissa Higgins

Owner and Operator of Responder 101

Responder 101 currently delivers public and corporate first aid and CPR training courses and workshops. Certification courses offered are WSIB compliant.




Marissa, why did you think you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

I started my own company with the intention to help people by creating safer communities and workplaces. There was a need in the community for a service that I am knowledgeable and passionate about so I created Responder 101. In addition, I wanted to start my own business to create job opportunities for people in a challenging economy.

When did you register it?

I officially registered Responder 101 as a business in October 2014.

When did you close your first sale?

I offered my first public courses in June 2015.

How many clients do you currently have?

Currently, I am working with my mentor to enter the corporate market and develop a client list.

Do you have/plan to hire employees or subcontract?

My intention is to subcontract Instructors to deliver courses in the coming months.

How did you get started in this business?

Since the age of 7, my parents enrolled me in swimming lessons. I learned about safety subjects including first aid and CPR- it was my favourite topic. I eventually became a Lifeguard and Swimming Instructor. I took further training to become a First Aid and CPR Instructor. I worked with the Lifesaving Society as a Lifeguard and Red Cross as an Instructor for 13 years. In 2014, I applied and was approved to become a Training Partner with the Red Cross.

What do you do to keep abreast of the changes in your business and in your industry?

I keep abreast of the changes in my business by attending Red Cross conferences twice a year; I keep my certifications current; as well, I am always upgrading my skills by completing new courses. I am currently enrolled in the Emergency Medical Dispatcher course – to add to my knowledge of the industry.

How do you promote your business?

I promote my business by developing relationships with the people I meet and train. Word of mouth goes a long way. I also regularly send out flyers; I am on social media: Facebook, LinkedIn, and I Blog; I am planning to create a You Tube Channel as well.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own business?

My advice to someone wanting to start their own business would be, your plans will not unfold overnight- and thats OK! It takes time, hard work and grit to get past the first couple years. In the beginning, you may not make very much money – so plan how you will get by without a stable income.

How did the help you got from the Starter Company Program impact you and your business?

The Starter Company has been invaluable in taking my business to the next level. My mentor has been an excellent sounding board, with brilliant ideas that have helped me achieve what I need to do efficiently. My mentor helps me think in new ways and focus my goals. The grant has helped me tremendously to continue to proceed with the business, as profit in the first year has been unstable.

Whom do you seek advice from for your business?

I seek advice from my business advisors at the BACD, as well as my Starter Company mentor, and from my accountant and lawyer.

What is the future for this type of business?

In the past First Aid was thought to be primarily physical in nature. There is now a shift in thinking that there is a psychological component that requires attention. We will see First Aid Training incorporate mental health as well as specific courses for Mental Health First Aid.