Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Robert Hallsworth, Co-Founder of SDS RiskAssist, located in Belleville, ON, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

SDS RiskAssist is software that automatically reads Safety Data Sheets to help organizations tackle the three challenges users of hazardous chemicals face – keeping SDSs up-to-date, understanding the hazards, and training workers to safely use them in their workplace. Our customers are cities, manufacturers, laboratories, and medical organizations.

Tell us about yourself

I have an extensive background in technical and leadership roles in chemical manufacturing. From this, I know how valuable chemicals can be at work and at home. I also know how hazardous they are. The solution regulators have developed (WHMIS/HazCom) is overwhelming for employers and workers. In my experience, you must give people short, clear instructions on the safe handling of hazards. We do that. To date, we have had 300,000 views of this information.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Six years in business, in over 300 workplaces, and just signed our largest contract for a 5-year term.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

You start a business hoping to leverage your strengths and experiences. It is easy to rely on these and miss the gaps in your knowledge. You must recognize these and get the support you need to develop skills and solutions in those areas.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Find people who will pay you for your idea/product - fast.
  2. Watch people use your product and see how you can improve it.
  3. What you want to sell and what people want to buy may not be the same thing. You will need to adjust.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

It will take longer than you think to get your business on its feet. More important than money to get through this phase is passion.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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