Ana Stevens Pepper North Booth

Ana Stevens

Pepper North Artisan Foods
Oshawa, Ontario

My company, Pepper North Artisan Foods, is in its sixth year of business, and is growing rapidly. Although this is all very exciting, there are significant obstacles that you encounter when scaling your business for national distribution and building brand awareness. The need for capital to fund large purchase orders and pay for ingredients and services ahead of time is challenging. One of the pillars of The Scotiabank Womens Initiative is to provide capital to women-led businesses to get them to the next level of growth. With the help of my Scotiabank business consultant, I got the funding I needed to fill large purchase orders.

As we continue to grow and increase our market share within the grocery space, staying true to our core values is of the utmost importance: for example, ensuring that every hot sauce that is hand bottled comes from locally-sourced ingredients. Our peppers are 100% grown in Ontario by our farmer/partner, and supporting communities to grow with us has been an instrumental part of our company vision. While having goals like these are great, making sure we have the funds in place to execute our growth is key. Not only that, but I am a strong believer that continuous learning is so important, as there are always new ways to increase efficiencies. The second and third pillars of the program is to offer ongoing education and mentorship, which is a huge asset across all industries. Having the opportunity to meet other women entrepreneurs and empowering one another brings a tremendous value in itself.  I am looking forward to participating in workshops that will be taking place all over, and that more and more women are experiencing a high level of success while having Scotiabank as a supporter.

Helen Milic at Bayview Sheppard Practice

Helen Milic

Bayview Sheppard RMT
Toronto, Ontario

What an inspiring initiative! Things have come a long way! My business partner and I went to our bank over thirteen years ago with a business plan and a dream of opening our own clinic. 

Sadly, our bank representative did not even look at our plan, she threw it back at us and said, “We don’t know you or what you’re capable of, we would never lend you money”.... 

Like most women, the rejection and lack of support became our driving force to prove this woman and many other doubters wrong. 

It has been over thirteen years, we have grown every year as a business and entrepreneurs, we had to do it the hard way

Thank you Scotiabank for offering this opportunity to women. We wish our fellow entrepreneurs much success!

Helen Milic, RMT
Co-Owner Bayview Sheppard RMT

Helen Milic at Bayview Sheppard Practice

Pina Romolo

Piccola Cucina Inc
Winnipeg, MB

Pina, have you ever faced a dead end?  Any opportunities that showed promise at first but then went nowhere?  How did you overcome this?

Absolutely, I have faced dead ends, however, if you don’t try, sometimes you never know.  I use these dead ends or set backs as opportunities to evaluate what I’ve learned.  Nothing by accident, and sometimes these dead ends provide forums for teaching - a set up for a future big win.

What advice would you give to other women entrepreneurs?

If you are doing something you believe in, then continue to persevere and push forward. Do seek external validation for your business and surround yourself with mentors and advisers that can lift you up and understand your vision and can relay it back to you when you go astray. 

Helen Milic at Bayview Sheppard Practice

Leisa Hirtz

Women’s Global Health Innovations Corp and the Path to Impact
Toronto, ON

Less than a fifth of businesses in Canada are owned by Women.  Leisa, how can we inspire more?

It will take very conscious, concerted and women-focused programs like The Scotiabank Women Initiative for us to see more women running their own businesses. I believe Canadian society is heading in a progressive direction.

With programs like this, more women will be inspired to become entrepreneurs. Women learning that they will be the catalyst needed to advance the national economy and drive progressive societal change is an inspiring incentive.

The Scotiabank Women Initiative is positioned to deliver the support more women need to guide them in starting and growing their business

What advice would you give to other women entrepreneurs?

The advice I would give is to clearly define the ‘why’ of your company, then start telling that ‘why’ as you grow your network. I advise growing your network early to build your web of supporters beyond your family and friends.

Listening is key. Listen a lot. Listen to learn and there is so much to learn. This is not something to be daunted by but to engage your curiosity. It’s easy to become overwhelmed but pace yourself and right from the start build a relationship with your small business advisor at your bank. He or she is there to offer valuable information, guidance, and strategy.  I would advise learning about The Scotiabank Women Initiative. The tools, advice, and opportunities to participate, learn and network through this initiative is creating a groundswell of positive change for Canadian women in business.

I believe it is the best time ever to be a woman entrepreneur in this country, and with endeavors like The Scotiabank Women Initiative, things are on a trajectory to get even better.

Helen Milic at Bayview Sheppard Practice

Karen Rudolph

Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba, Cloverdale Forge
Winnipeg, MB

Winnipeg Boot Camp in January 2020 - Today was excellent! Thank you for the invitation to join the event at Manitoba Start. I pulled nuggets of ‘awesomeness’ from each of the speakers and was inspired hearing from the women entrepreneurs excelling at their businesses! 

You're in Good Company 

You’ve committed to making your business succeed — and you’re not alone. Get inspired by like-minded business women here!

Ranchelle VanBryce

Stiletto Enterprises Inc.

Red Deer, AB

Leisa Hirtz

Women’s Global Health Innovations Corp and the Path to Impact

Toronto, ON

Helen Milic
 

Bayview Sheppard RMT

Toronto, Ontario

Karen Rudolph

Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba, Cloverdale Forge

Winnipeg, MB

Launch Event Wrap Video

 On December 5, 2018, the initiative took off!

Toronto, Ontario

Pina Romolo 

Piccola Cucina Inc.

Winnipeg, MB

Ana Stevens
 

Pepper North Artisan Foods

Oshawa, Ontario