Cobo Electric and Été en affaires

October 09, 2018

Cobo Electric is expanding

With a decade of experience as an electrician under his belt, Colin Boisjoli decided it was time to spread his wings. Today, his company, Cobo Electric, is growing and has just hired a second employee. It also boasts new equipment, thanks to the Été en affaires business start-up program.  

After graduating from Red River College, Colin Boisjoli worked for ten years in his father's business. When the latter retired, customers suggested that Colin start his own company. "They had a good relationship with my dad and then with me," says Colin. "They wanted to maintain a good relationship with their electrician, so they told me they would give me work if I started my own business."

In April 2017, Colin Boisjoli founded Cobo Electric. The moniker "Cobo" comes from the first syllables of the owner's first and last names. "I already had my first customers, which made things easier. It takes a lot of time to build a client base in the beginning."

Through word of mouth, Cobo Electric began attracting more customers, including a big one. "One of my customers referred me to another company that is actually a supermarket chain. They gave and continue to give me a lot of work. I go up North for them, doing maintenance on the reserves."

The recent forest fires in Northern Manitoba required Colin Boisjoli to step up his efforts.  It was too much work for just one man. "With the fires, I often received urgent calls to install temporary generators in the stores so that they could continue to sell their products, given that the hydro generators were shut down. I had to be available 24 hours a day." That was when Boisjoli decided to hire another electrician, Paul Dubois, in April 2018.

The two divvy up the work, which gives the 29-year-old entrepreneur more time in the office to hone new techniques. "The construction industry is changing a lot. I'm currently developing my "prefabbing" technique, which consists in designing and installing prefabricated electrical circuits. It means I can be quicker in the field. That's what I like most about my job: finding what doesn't work in an electrical circuit and solving the problem. There are often many people depending on me, and I feel useful."

In May 2018, Colin Boisjoli took part in CDEM's Été en affaires program which, since its launch in 2006, has had more than 130 participants. The program coordinator, Joel Martine, who is also responsible for CDEM's youth economic education sector, explains: "This initiative is for young people aged 15 to 30 years who want to start or have already started their own business. It provides personalized advice and mentoring, along with $1,000 in financial assistance."

Joel Martine actually participated in the program when he launched a window cleaning franchise business. "Five years later, I began managing the same program. Quite the coincidence! My previous experience with the program allows me to more effectively help new participants." The Été en affaires program has become so popular that it now operates year-round.  

Colin Boisjoli used the $1,000 he received from the program to purchase a circuit tracer, an essential device for locating faulty circuit breakers in an electrical panel. "Thanks to the services provided by CDEM, I can work more effectively and safely," he concludes. (204) 918-2297