The opioid epidemic crisis is prevalent in Canada and is directly affecting social and economic welfare across the nation. While there is a need for opioids, misuse of these substances can lead to addiction and devastating consequences. The Government of Canada has been actively responding to this health crisis in many ways and are continuing to find solutions to counter this issue. With such a widespread and invasive problem, help is always appreciated.
As this national crisis unfolded right before his eyes, Jeff Hardy founded Lifeguard Health in 2017 to commemorate his friend who passed away and to aid those with substance abuse addiction.
“I started when I was in treatment for alcohol and that was three and a half years ago. Got a friend of mine, while I was in treatment passed away from fentanyl overdose, and that got me started and motivated me to do something and to build something that could help people.”
Jeff has a marketing background and had worked in numerous Fortune 500 companies while also starting some businesses on his own. When it came to Lifeguard Health, it was personal and it meant more. This business was meaningful to him and he knew he needed to succeed.
What is Lifeguard Health?
The Lifeguard Health App brings emergency responders to people who overdose on drugs while alone through a built-in GPS tracking system on mobile devices.
“It asks a couple of important pieces of information. Then it starts a countdown which leads to an alarm. If the countdown device is not turned off, the alarm goes off if it predicts that there’s an overdose or somebody’s in trouble. It sends that information with GPS to direct emergency responders; they can find you through the GPS location. We’ll save you in time.”
Lifeguard Health was Jeff’s first time launching a business in the tech industry and he realized a business plan was needed to solidify his goals and principles. He found Small Business BC’s services online and registered for help. The Business Planning review was offered by Aveledo, Business Planning Advisor at Small Business BC, it provided guidance for Jeff and is a great foundation to build the business on.
“Laura has been awesome in terms of support. She helped us with the plan, ripped it apart put it back together, including our numbers and our forecasts. They continually change, so updating those and reviewing them all the time even by myself keeps me on track and keep things real.
“So initially my draw to Small Business BC was the program which is going to lead us through the development of business plan, but that plan has been a go-to plan. I continually update it and I keep in contact with you guys.”
“We saved 15 lives. And we continue to save more lives.”
Lifeguard Health has the potential to continue to save more lives and even lives beyond substance abuse. Jeff is looking to expand his app to areas such as senior home care and single room occupancy environments. Possible partnerships with technology professionals and other organizations will provide more funding and opportunities. However, their primary focus will not be changed and will always be helping people with mental health addiction.
Believe in Yourself
Jeff left this one advice for those aspiring to become entrepreneurs, something that kept him motivated even when no one had faith in him.
“Don’t give up, believe in your idea. You’re going to get failure after failure after failure. People are going to tell you that you can’t do it. Your friends, your family are going to think you’re crazy. If you believe it in your heart don’t give up. It’s that simple.”