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Innovation Award Winner

What is WESK? 

Women Entrepreneurs in Saskatchewan. They provide business advising, funding, training, networking, and resources for starting and growing business in Saskatchewan.

They have recently announced a new rural ambassador program to address gender entrepreneurship gap and empower women entrepreneurs across Saskatchewan. The goal is to ensure rural women have access to a comprehensive support network. This will help rural businesses thrive, which contributes to a strong and diversified Canadian Economy. 

How I got started with WESK: 

I reached out to WESK about the possibility of starting my business in 2020. My husband had just started a job in Esterhazy two-hours away from our home town, Regina. I had a 3 year old, 2 year old and a baby and was on maternity leave from my dream job as a public health Audiologist. I had zero background in business. I wanted to do more than create a job for myself. I wanted to do more than sell hearing aids. But I did have a vision. There are very few audiology clinics located rurally, so I spent several months completing a thorough business plan, researching, and connecting with people and organizations in the area to determine if there was a need for hearing services.

I reached out to WESK and began working with a business advisor. I shared my vision to open an audiology clinic that was based on a care-focused business model with a focus on people over profit. Where the goal was to build connections rather than sales. 

Entrepreneur Awards: 

There were over 100 applicants for five entrepreneur award- Community Involvement, Indigenous Entrepreneur, Innovation, Growth and Expansion, and Resilience. As well, one woman hand-selected for the Celebration of Achievement Award. 3 Finalists were selected for each category and one recipient was announced at the 2024 WESK Gala in Saskatoon on May 15, 2024.

House of Hearing was selected as the recipient for the Innovation Award among 3 finalists. The Innovation Award is presented to the Saskatchewan woman entrepreneur who is pushing conventional boundaries. She is disrupting and reshaping her industry through ground-breaking achievements in bringing innovation to market. The selected recipient has shown successful innovation, demonstrated vision in the development of new technologies, products, and/or services, and has demonstrated the ability to take risks. 

The Innovation of House of Hearing: 

House of Hearing is owned and operated by Chelsea Stewart, audiologist, since January 2022. As an audiologist in public health for most of my career, I never planned on opening my own clinic. I loved my job and was passionate about helping people and assessing, diagnosing, and treating hearing concerns in a medical setting. When my husband relocated for work, it posed challenges for our family. As a mother to 3 young kids, and a husband on shift work, a long commute was not an option. Opening House of Hearing allowed me to continue to do what I love and have the flexibility to spend time with my family. Chelsea is passionate about taking time for her patients, providing thorough and accurate audiology services, educating, and providing honest recommendations.

Strategies used to innovate House of Hearing: 

Several strategies were utilized in the innovation of my business model and service-delivery. The first strategy was to connect to individuals and businesses in the community to determine the needs for hearing services in the area. This included connecting with local medical offices, occupational health and safety, industrial companies, and people from the community. This allowed me to identify the gaps in services that I could address and challenges that I could solve with my business. Some of the identified needs included the inability for individuals to access services in rural locations, needs for individuals in care homes or individuals unable to travel, and needs for on-site employee hearing programs and hearing conservation programs. Many individuals reported difficulty in finding a hearing professional that they could trust. Many patients had purchased hearing devices from clinics that travelled to Esterhazy; however, did not receive follow-up service and support. I created a thorough business plan identifying a clear vision of what services weren’t offered in the community and identifying how my business could address those needs. 


I differentiated my business by studying the competition to identify how my service delivery would be different. Many competitor clinics focus on sales and products (hearing devices); however, the goal of House of Hearing was to take the principles of working in a healthcare setting into private practice where the focus is on the service and experience as a top priority rather than the product. I created my business model around reducing or eliminating the struggles that I consistently saw patients endure when I worked in private practice. For example, providing a thorough and accurate assessment, allowing patients time to make a decision, patient-centered and family-centered care, educating patients so they understand the results of their assessment and recommendations, providing written materials and counselling tools, and focusing on building relationships with my patients and their families. I want all patients to have access to hearing devices and offer in-house payment plans at zero-interest.

I was able to identify my target market and make my services accessible. Audiology and hearing clinics located rurally are limited. I knew I wanted to make services accessible, so offering services in other locations around the province (currently: Rocanville, Broadview, and Ochapowace) as well as providing home visits for patients that are in care homes or unable to travel and on-site employee hearing programs. 

Specific Innovation: 

I innovated a business model and service-delivery based on my experience as an audiologist and extensive research and planning prior to starting my business. 
This began with the space I chose for my business. I renovated a small home on main street in Esterhazy, into ‘House of Hearing’ because I wanted to ensure patients felt at home and comfortable while receiving hearing services. 
It was evident that in rural communities, building trust and having a strong reputation were very important. The product or the device is only as good as it is fit by the hearing care professional. Of course, the technology of the hearing devices is important, but the education, the support, the counselling, the accuracy of the hearing assessment, the fitting and programming of the hearing device is a significantly larger contributor in a patient’s success. Almost all hearing clinics have similar products, but people choose House of Hearing because it is accessible or because they are choosing to work with me. They have seen first-hand, heard from a friend, or sense from my marketing materials that House of Hearing is focused on providing high-quality and honest hearing care. 
The above goes hand-in-hand with the care-based approach I chose vs. sales based. I created a service delivery based on simplifying the hearing care experience and creating positive relationships with my patients and their families. This includes allowing time for appointments, providing clear explanations and education, listening to the patients needs and working with them to generate the appropriate treatment plan and recommendations, long-term support. I innovated a business that addressed the specific needs in the community and differentiated my business from other businesses offering similar services and products. 

It is really an honour to have been able to build a business in rural Saskatchewan.