Necessity is the mother of invention
WINNIPEG, Manitoba – How do you go from being a stay-at-home mother of three children to being ranked as one of your country’s top female entrepreneurs?
If you’re Lee Meagher, founder and CEO of Winnipeg, Canada-based Scootaround, a company that provides scooter and wheelchair rentals throughout North America, you set out to solve a problem for an entire population.
In 1997, Meagher went on a family vacation to Hawaii with her father, who was a stroke patient and who used a scooter to get around. After experiencing considerable trouble renting a temporary replacement for his scooter—they ended up having to buy one and sell it back at the end of the vacation—Meagher returned home and founded Scootaround with the goal of creating a national network of mobility equipment providers.
“It was just the beginning of the Internet,” said Meager, who was recently ranked No. 39 on the 18th annual W100 list of Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneurs by PROFIT and Canadian Business magazine. “There was no national presence of scooter or mobility equipment. So we were able to take an idea that was still ‘hidden’ and turn it into a network that allows people to find mobility equipment anywhere they go.”
And “anywhere” is no exaggeration. Last year, Scootaround had 26,000 pieces of equipment available across North America, equipment that the company either owns outright or has available for rent from a database of 1,500 rental outlets.
Scootaround now has three call centers that field up to 500 queries a day for equipment or information. It supplies mobility rentals for cruise ships around the world, and it has gotten exclusive rights for mobility rentals at convention centers across North America.
“I think we’ve changed the way a person can perceive moving about,” Meagher said. “I want to help people with mobility issues get on their way again.” hme