Small business loans that bring people home

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Since 2004, Mike McCarron has worked in Alberta, British Columbia, and multiple Middle Eastern countries. He’s worked in oil and gas for most of his life and has become an expert in drilling, fabrication, and repair.

In order to get this experience, Mike needed to pursue employment outside his hometown of Antigonish. Over the past decade, he’s come home to visit as much as possible, but has been searching for a way to come back permanently.

In 2015, Mike managed to make this dream a reality when he decided to take his skills in oil and gas and apply them to the local construction industry.

Today, Mike owns Maritime Directional, a successful Antigonish-based horizontal directional drilling (HDD) business that operates throughout the entire Atlantic region.

By using oil and gas technology, Maritime Directional can drill around, under, or through any obstacle. Mike says horizontal directional drilling saves time, mess, money, and reduces the carbon footprint of many utility installations. Most importantly, Mike is playing an important role in growing the local economy and helping to create industrial projects and subsequent jobs in the region.

The road to starting his own business wasn’t easy and took a lot planning and hard work.

Mike sat down with East Coast Credit Union CEO, Ken Shea, to share his experience:

KS: Why did you want to move back to Antigonish?

MM: Antigonish has always been and will always be home. It’s where I grew up and it’s where my family lives. My current house has been in our family for more than 70 years and it’s important to me that it stays in our family and makes great memories for the next generation of McCarrons. 

KS: Why did you decide to join the credit union?

MM: Well, to be honest, I started with the big national banks. I managed to save and raise a lot of capital on my own, but I needed help to become operational. Unfortunately, the banks didn’t offer that help. They said I needed to be established for at least a couple of years before they’d consider me for a loan. That’s when I went to the credit union. It was pretty easy—I just walked in and we got started. Because Antigonish is a pretty small community, the credit union team knew who I was and I think that definitely helped move the process forward. It wasn’t long before they approved a guaranteed small business loan. That was a great day. 

KS: Besides access to a loan, what were some of the benefits working with the credit union?     

MM: The loan itself has flexible terms which is great when you’re starting a business. In addition to the small business loan, the credit union helped me find and secure a Michelin Development loan and a CBDC NOBL loan. If you don’t know what you’re looking for, these loans can be really hard to find. Getting access to these loans made a huge impact on my company.

The credit union is also very entrepreneur-focused, which I obviously really appreciate as not only a business owner, but as someone who wants to see more entrepreneurs in my community find success.

KS: What does it take to start your own business

MM: It takes a lot of hard work. You have to be willing to work around the clock if necessary. You also need someone to believe in you. My family is always in my corner, but it’s also great to know that you have a financial institution behind you and supporting you each step of the way.

KS: What are the future plans for your business?

MM: I definitely want to keep growing my business and continue to employ more skilled, local hardworking, Atlantic Canadians. The success of one business can have a domino effect in a community like Antigonish and I hope to contribute to this as much as possible.