By RASHIDA POWANKUMAR
Amanda Munday is aware of the systemic barriers of being a woman in business, and that’s why she emailed women who own and operate businesses in the Danforth community to join her on Monday, April 15, to talk about entrepreneurial experiences and opportunities.
They gathered at The Workaround space at 2080 Danforth Ave. and were joined by Canada’s Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion Mary Ng, Toronto-Danforth MP Julie Dabrusin and Beaches-East York MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith.
Munday is the Founder and CEO of The Workaround, which hosted the event to celebrate women in business. The Workaround offers a parent-friendly workspace, providing support and space to working parents who need flexibility. Members can purchase daily, monthly and unlimited memberships that will give them access to childcare at the space while they work.
“I noticed along Coxwell and Main on the Danforth, that there are a high number of women- owned business,” Munday said. “I noticed that women run this town. I thought we should celebrate this! I connected with the MPs and business owners through email about this event.”
Ng spoke about doubling the number of female entrepreneurs in Canada by 2025. One way to do this is by modernizing parental leave; a change that will encourage the sharing of domestic labour.
“A woman can grow in her business, excel in her profession and excel in what she chooses to be, while being a mom,” said Ng.
Ann Poochareon was also a spotlight of the afternoon as she received a $100,000 investment from the Ministry of Small Business and Export Promotion’s Women Entrepreneurship Fund for her start up, Little Robot Friends at 1832 Danforth Ave.
Two women who once worked for large multi-national corporations but decided to step out of their corporate jobs and begin business ventures also spoke at Monday’s event. Both women gave their advice to the aspiring business owners gathered at The Workaround.
Jennifer Thompson, Founder and CEO of Create Art Studio, at 1801 Danforth Ave., started a community based art school for children, teenagers and adults. The services include pottery, drawings, painting and an array of other art forms.
“The key to starting out is to do as much research as possible. Speak to a lot of business owners, to really get a sense of challenges that they faced when they started,” Thompson said.
Natalie Borch is the creator of Pink Studio, at 2053 Danforth Ave., which offers fitness and dance classes with the aim of creating body positivity.
“You will need twice as much money than you think you will,” she explained at Monday’s event. “Do a lot of research into funding; find out what you qualify for, and what the requirements are for starting.”