Michael Hebert

A Start Up Story: Michael Hebert’s Path to Entrepreneurship in Tech

“I started using computers back before most people even knew what a computer was and so it was a natural progression,” entrepreneur Michael Hebert shares, reflecting on his career in technology. is from Saddle Lake Cree Nation and grew up in the Edmonton area. He lives in Halifax now and has been working in tech after stumbling into it over two decades ago. 

Before he got his start in tech, he had been working in the funeral and cemetery industry but found it depressing. When he had the chance to sell photocopiers and printers in an entry level opportunity he jumped at it, leaping towards the financial opportunity that was available in the industry. Now that he’s in his forties, he’s founded a technology solutions and services company. 

“Tech continues to innovate and so there's always an opportunity to look after yourself and look after your family financially.”

In school, Hebert excelled, enjoying his studies and learning new things. He didn’t take technology courses because he felt he could learn about that on his own. In university, he studied political science and international relations. “I was wide eyed and thought that I would change the world at one point… which maybe I still can, we’ll see,” he recalls. 

As far as his current work goes, Hebert finds much of it is sales-related and based on reputation. He’s found people will give you an opportunity if you have something they value and that often you can make a career from that chance. That’s what happened for him, after successfully doing something technology related and gaining repeat business and referrals from the results. Over the years, he’s built his reputation and network on his results. 

When asked for his advice for any students who might be thinking about leaving their community to go either learn abroad or travel, Hebert suggests they follow their heart, staying home close to family and friends if that’s what matters to them, or setting off on an adventure if that feels more aligned. He encourages travellers to stay connected to home and the people who know them to stay remain grounded and centered.

Growing up, Hebert struggled with mental health and addictions challenges that he worked hard to overcome, taking each problem one step at a time to avoid overwhelm. “I looked at the moment and dealt with the challenge and overcame it, and then moved on,” he reminisces. “When you look behind you, you see all that and you know that you've accomplished what you've accomplished. It's the greatest feeling in the world,” he continues.

Illustration by Shaikara David

He still works hard to maintain his mental health and avoid slipping into what was easy in the past. Every day, he makes a decision to do the right thing that day, saying a prayer to know what that is and setting an intention. He’s learned to ask for help when things aren’t going well, whether that’s counsellors or other support people to help him through hard times. 

As a young, single father, he struggled to feed his family, but the food bank was there for him. Broken and full of disbelief this is what life had come to, he was grateful for how he was able to get the support he needed to stay alive. That experience helps remind him to be grateful for all he has now. 

When he needs inspiration, he looks to good stories and good people. “There are good people out there. And they do hard, hard work without, they're not asking for anybody to pat them on the back. They're just out there working hard every day. Those people are inspiring to me,” he explains. He gives back to the community and is part of some fundraising boards so he can do his best at being a good person, too. 

In hopes of inspiring Indigenous youth, Hebert says, “You have an opportunity in front of you. There is a movement out there for Indigenous people to rally behind right now. We can help each other and prop each other up, and just be there. Don't forget that. That's an important part of all of this is that you don't just look to climb on the ladder and get up there on your own. Make sure that you put a hand down and help each other out. Now that I live in a coastal area, they always have a saying and that's “a rising tide raises all boats” and it can be said for our communities. Just help each other out and in the end, the more you do that, the more success you'll have personally.”

“You have an opportunity in front of you. There is a movement out there for Indigenous people to rally behind right now.”

He started using computers back before most people even knew what a computer was and so creating a career around innovation was a natural progression for Michael Hebert. Moving out of the funeral industry to come alive to a new business in technology, he is making a name for himself and making a difference in his community whenever he can.

Thanks to Alison Tedford Seaweed for authoring this article.

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Key Parts

  • Career
  • Identity
    First Nations
    ,
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  • Province/Territory
    Prince Edward Island
  • Date
    April 2, 2024
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  • Discussion Guide
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