Down to Earth (DTE) Productions produces powerful and cost-effective videos for various organizations, companies, and First Nation communities. Their popular videos are renowned for being creative and highlighting local brands. They also create lifestyle videos that document their travels from around the world which are very popular with their social media followers.
DTE Productions was founded by Michael Stemm of Eel Ground First Nation and became incorporated after Mike and his business partner, Andrew Martin of Esgenoôpetitj First Nation, completed the JEDI Business Accelerator program. DTE Productions is the only New Brunswick-based video production company that is solely Aboriginal owned and operated.
Growing up, Mike participated in an after-school media program offered by the middle school in his community of Eel Ground First Nation. During the program, he was taught different aspects of videography. This is where he got his first taste of success as some of his videos went on to become award-winning. Videography was his hobby but he never imagined that it would lead to a career path. Mike says, “If you have a hobby, see if there’s a way that you can turn it into a business – you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”
After graduating with a business degree from the University of New Brunswick, Mike says he was at a crossroads in his life, unsure of what he wanted to do. By this point, he had gained a lot of local attention through social media for his video skills. He decided to utilize that attention to create Down to Earth Productions. Quickly, the company began to gain a large clientele. “I had decided that instead of working for someone else, I’d like to work for myself.”
With the intent of creating a sustainable business, Mike enrolled himself into JEDI’s Accelerator Program. He says, “the ten-week course provided hands on business development through mentorship and consultation which guided our company through the proper process of starting a business.” The material also helped him recall many of the concepts he learned in university.
Mike credits Mark Taylor, whom he met through the Accelerator as one of his biggest mentors, and as having a major impact on the success of the company. “Mark has a really strong network and he knew exactly how to use that to help me out. He’s always there whenever I have any questions and he’s always able to direct me to the right people if he doesn’t have the answers I’m looking for. He has truly made a huge impact on my business.”
Mike sees his biggest challenge moving forward as team expansion, “I’d like to hire more people so that I can create bigger projects. I’d rather have someone that loves doing what they do than doing it as a job.”
When asked if he has any advice for Indigenous entrepreneurs, Mike says, “seek out JEDI’s Accelerator Program and ask your community if they’re interested in supporting your business venture. My community of Eel Ground First Nation has supported me by hiring me to create videos of community events for them.”