From Saskatchewan to Silicon Valley, a Saskatoon woman talks about building her business

Katherine Regnier began her company, Coconut Calendar, in Saskatoon five years ago. She was three months pregnant at the time and left behind a stable job to do it. Now, she is one of four people who were selected to attend an elite mentorship program in the Silicon Valley.

Katherine Regnier was one of four people selected to attend a mentorship program

Katherine Regnier is from Saskatoon and is the only woman and North American that was selected to attend a month long mentorship program in the Silicon Valley. (Submitted by Katherine Regnier)

What does it take to begin a business? 

For Katherine Regnier, it meant quitting her job while three months pregnant to begin building her own company.

She started Coconut Calendar in 2011. The Saskatoon company gives clients a platform to connect with other businesses to book appointments. 

Regnier said she was scared to jumpstart her business with no outside investors.

"But it's also half the fun," Regnier said.

It was her determination and commitment to growing her business that led her to become one of four people from across the world to be selected to attend an elite mentorship program in San Francisco, CA. 

"Being from Saskatoon, I think what is really important is to have the ability to benchmark yourself," Regnier said.

"As an entrepreneur when you're kind of alone and isolated you wonder 'Am I doing this right? Do companies survive when they come up against this?' You can learn really fast from people who have been there and done that."

The program includes a month stay in Silicon Valley with Neal Dempsey. Not only was Regnier the only North American selected to attend, but she was also the only woman. 

"We are talking to the celebrities in our industry," Regnier said.

"We are getting advice that people would pay to have and we get one-on-one mentorship with these people and it has really been eye-opening."

Regnier said the mentorship has really driven her to expand her company and she plans on setting up an office in Toronto.

"I think that people think really big here in the valley and it's important if I want to grow my company I need to start thinking bigger."

With files from CBC Radio's Afternoon Edition