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  • 01 Mar 2021 2:59 PM | Kelly Mullaly (Administrator)


    Join us Monday, March 8th from 11:00 am - 12:00 Noon for a unique online event in celebration of International Women’s Day 2021.

    Choosing to Challenge will feature guests Senator Diane Griffin and Sweta Daboo, two prominent PEI figures who have pursued careers in groundbreaking public service, each one in a different stage of her professional journey.   

    These women, representing two different generations of change-makers, will discuss the similarities and disparities of their professional paths and share insights on how they believe women have succeeded or continue to struggle to obtain equality in public service.

    Everyone is welcome to join this free online event, which will be moderated by PEIBWA Executive Director Margaret Magner. 

    CLICK HERE to register and we look forward to seeing you there!


  • 01 Mar 2021 10:49 AM | Kelly Mullaly (Administrator)


    Respecting the modified Red-level Alert COVID-19 restrictions announced by the PEI Office of Public Health, the PEIBWA office in Charlottetown and Rural Women's Business Centre in Central Bedeque (including our co-working and Work and Study Hub space) will be closed from Monday, March 1st to Wednesday, March 3rd.

    Our team will be working remotely and may be reached via email. Please refer to our website (peibwa.org/Staff) for our individual email addresses. You may also leave a voicemail message for us at 902-892-6040 (Charlottetown) and 902-887-3171 (Bedeque) and we'll return your call as soon as possible. Thank you for your understanding.

  • 01 Feb 2021 6:26 PM | Kelly Mullaly (Administrator)

    Like her name, Faith LeClair is a believer in taking chances when it comes to pursing her business goals.

    When the fabric shop where she had worked for eight years closed, she was “devasted”, not only at the loss of a job she loved, but also at the prospect of being 57 and starting a new job search.

    Not wanting to give up her passion for sewing and quilting and knowing from experience there was a demand for product and expertise in central and western PEI, she took the leap into self-employment, establishing Sew Blessed Quilters in the renovated garage of her home.  The business was such a success, by 2019 it had expanded into the sewing room of her house as well as the basement of the Senior Centre in Kensington, where she held sewing classes.

    Up until that time, Faith had primarily used Facebook to promote her business, which sold quilting fabric and supplies, Island made quilts, quilt kits, and small textile home décor items like table runners and pillows. 

    When the COVID-19 pandemic forced tight restrictions on most retail operations, Faith realized she needed to expand her online presence to ensure the business remained viable, visible and accessible to existing and potential new customers.

    During the summer of 2020, the Atlantic Canadian Women in Growth Partnership (ACWGP) developed the Moving Women Online program. It sought submissions of interest from women entrepreneurs across Atlantic Canada to move their current business operations to an online eCommerce platform so they could continue to grow business opportunities throughout and beyond COVID-19. ACWGP is a collaborative partnership between the four Atlantic Provincial Women’s Business Organizations (WBO’s) including: PEIBWA, the Nova Scotia Centre for Women in BusinessWomen in Business New Brunswick, and (NLOWE) The Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women’s Entrepreneurs.

    As the pandemic continued to impact her business, and despite the fact she had very little previous online experience, Faith decided to take a chance and apply for the program with the goal of creating a website that enabled online sales and additional promotional opportunities for the business.

    By attending online training and working directly with Project Web Developer AOR Web Solutions (a PEI-based and PEIBWA member company), Faith was able to achieve her goal of launching a website for her company, with ecommerce capabilities. “Moving Women Online was the first program I have taken with the PEIWA and I found it very informative.  It was a very welcoming place,” she says. “I am still figuring out the web world but am looking forward to having another option to meet my customers. Sewing gives people so much peace and  comfort. It's so amazing to see them with their finished projects.”

    For more information about Sew Blessed Quilters:

    Email: sewblessed2017@gmail.com or call: 902-836-4110

    For more information about the Atlantic Canadian Women in Growth Partnership (ACWGP) please contact PEI Program Coordinator Rose Fitzpatrick at 902-393-0306 or rose@peibwa.org

  • 13 Jan 2021 3:12 PM | Kelly Mullaly (Administrator)

    MAPS Program Helps Treetop Haven Branch Out

    A seasoned traveller who's visited over forty countries across six continents, Sheila Arsenault took inspiration from those adventures to create Treetop Haven, a unique all-season wellness destination.  The Haven is open year-round. Guests stay in a collection of various-sized TreePODS, five fully-equipped geodesic domes that are built on raised decks, nestled within fifty acres of woodland in Mount Tryon, PEI.

    In operation since 2017, the business had been enjoying steady growth with a particular focus as a wedding destination.  The initial COVID-19 lockdown and subsequent Public Health restrictions throughout 2020 resulted in the cancellation of many of the wedding bookings in place for the 2020 tourism season.  Realizing the impact this pattern could have on the sustainability of the business, Sheila, a solopreneur, took the opportunity to apply to the Momentum Advisory Professional Services (MAPS) program.  The program was a collaboration between PEIBWA and the Women's Entrepreneurship Strategy Fund (WES) and was supported by the Government of Canada through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).   It was designed to provide customized and necessary supports to help participating companies pivot and adapt and to develop new ways to succeed through services, mentoring, tools, and training.


    Sheila's MAPS program goals were to obtain professional help to restructure and develop the content and functionality of her website in order to pivot away from weddings and toward an expanded clientele of couples and families. 

    Working with the staff at PEIBWA and TechnoMedia PEI (the company that designed the original Treetop Haven website), Sheila was able to upgrade the site with booking and payment functionality it hadn't previously offered.  The site was also updated with new photographs and content specifically targeted to attract families and couples, with a new emphasis on the cabins, trails and amenities available on-site and in the area.


    Now completed, Sheila believes these rebranding and marketing efforts will have a "huge impact" on the sustainability and future success of her business. With her continued determination and focus and these new tools to strengthen the roots of her business, we look forward to hearing more about the growth of Treetop Haven in the coming year.

    For more information about Treetop Haven visit: treetophaven.ca, email info@treetophaven.ca or call 902-439-0267

    For more information about programs and services offered by PEIBWA email: office@peibwa.org or call 902-892-6040.

    (photo credits: Heather Ogg)

  • 06 Jan 2021 10:50 AM | Kelly Mullaly (Administrator)

    Register to attend this panel discussion at this link.



  • 18 Dec 2020 2:50 PM | Kelly Mullaly (Administrator)

    We hope you enjoy this video greeting card on behalf of the entire PEIBWA team.

    Our offices will be closed from Wednesday, December 23rd to Friday, January 1st (inclusive) and will reopen on Monday, January 4th. 

    All the best for a safe and happy holiday season.  

     

  • 09 Dec 2020 10:37 AM | Kelly Mullaly (Administrator)

    As a reminder, masking and hand sanitizing is required when entering, using, and leaving PEIBWA offices in Charlottetown and Central Bedeque, including public washrooms. Masks are available for those who need them, physical distancing is required, and all visitors must sign in.

    Hours of Operation

    The Rural Women's Business Centre in Central Bedeque is open Monday-Friday from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, operating with strict protocols regarding the wearing of masks, hand sanitization and social distancing. Workshops and events will only be taking place online, but the co-working space will be available for those needing internet access and business support. If you'd like to learn more about the Centre, its programs and services, please contact Shelley Jessop, Manager of our Rural Women's Business Centre at shelley@peibwa.org or 902-213-7902.  

    PEIBWA staff in the Charlottetown Office are currently working remotely and/or by appointment in the office on a rotating basis, operating with strict protocols regarding the wearing of masks, hand sanitization and social distancing. We invite you to email us at:office@peibwa.org or to call us at 902-892-6040, and we will contact you as soon as possible to assist you.


  • 02 Dec 2020 1:32 PM | Kelly Mullaly (Administrator)


    1. What product/services does your business provide?

    RESET:breathe provides online fitness classes, wellness coaching and community support via membership.


    2. How long have you owned your business?

    I started my business in September 2017.


    3. What inspired you to start your own business?

    After I had my fourth child in 2016, I knew I had to make a change in my life to accommodate my family. I joke that to make my life easier I decided to start my own business. Hahaha!  I never thought I would be a business owner until this time in my life when all of a sudden I just knew that it was time to write the next chapter of my life the way that I wanted to. I also lost a close friend to cancer several years ago and this has given me a whole new appreciation for making life count.


    4. Have you experienced any unexpected surprises since starting your business?

    I think the biggest thing was how emotionally connected I have become to my business. When it's your own you just care so much and sometimes it can be really difficult to separate yourself from it; it becomes a big part of your identity in a way. I never imagined that it would feel like this but I also never imagined I could love it so much.


    5. How has COVID-19 affected your business? How has it changed the way you do business? What has it taught you?

    Since my business was already online, I didn't need to change how I operated. I found it very challenging to work when my kids were home from school for six months so that was a different kind of challenge and I had to really try and be easy on myself. There is no guidebook for pandemics!!!! It also definitely has taught me how vulnerable we can be as entrepreneurs and no matter how strong our businesses may seem, there are things that can happen that are just not within our control.


    6. What have your challenges been? How did you overcome them?

    One of my biggest challenges has been that I live in rural PEI and we have very poor internet. I live-stream my classes from home every morning at 5:30 am and sometimes as I was about to start, my internet would just stop working. I joke that I'm the crazy lady that drives around with a tripod in the dark trying to find good internet connections. There was even a day I did my class in a lobby of a church!! Haha! It's been hard, but we are weeks away from getting fibre op and I could not be more excited about it. Honestly, the biggest hurdle any entrepreneur can ever face is their own mind. If you can figure that out, you can figure out any obstacle.


    7. What have your successes been?

    I'm really the most proud of the community I have created. They are amazing people and I feel like they are a part of my family. Four years ago I was an incredibly stressed out mom that was overwhelmed beyond imagine. I was dreaming about how I could make a living from home. Now I am, I'm really proud of that. I think as women we need to be less afraid to say what we are proud of.


    8. How can people contact you?

    They can visit my website at resetbreathe.com or find me on Instagram - @resetbreathe or on Facebook at RESET:breathe Fitness.


  • 16 Sep 2020 12:17 PM | Kelly Mullaly (Administrator)


    Meet Janet Qian, Co-owner/Operator of Golden Fox Home Decor!

    What product/services does your business provide?

    My husband, Scot Mo, and I run a small home decor store based in the Confederation Court Mall, in Charlottetown.

    One of our featured items is a great variety of cushion covers. We try to promote the idea that people don’t have to throw away their cushions just because they are slightly worn. Put on a new cover, and they are brand new again! Plus you can change your cover from season to season.  

    Another popular item is our selection of uniquely designed ceramic planters. They all have drainage holes in them, so they are not only a lovely decor item but a sweet home for plant lovers.

    Another big part of our business is balloon and party solutions. From a single “Happy Birthday” balloon to a garland of balloons for a wedding party, we offer a big collection of balloon products to serve different moments, big or small.

    A new category we are introducing is various kinds of fairy lights.  Indoor or outdoor, there is always something to lighten up your life :-)

    How long have you owned your business?

    Not long, only a bit over a year. My husband, me and our Golden Retriever boy moved to PEI in April 2018, and we like it here very much. We were both employees at multi-national companies, but had zero experience in running a retail business.

    What inspired you to start your own business?

    Since we moved here, I was trying to find a great selection of home décor items that were also affordable. Unfortunately, there were not many retail options so I thought - why not open one myself?

    Have you experienced any unexpected surprises since starting your business?

    To be honest, I find the business environment here is very friendly - especially to a small business like us.  Even our customers are very friendly to a new business like us. Some even try to offer advice and feedback to help us grow, which we really appreciate.

    How has COVID 19 affected your business? How has it changed the way you do business? What has it taught you?

    This was the most unexpected part! We closed for two months during the lockdown. We still had to pay rent and other unavoidable fixed expenses, which was a devasting hit to a retail store that was not online yet. But any challenge will make people think creatively to try to survive.  We noticed online business were booming during the pandemic like never before. That pushed us to think we should not only limit our business to local store and an online business might even become necessary for the post-pandemic time.

    Now my husband and I are spending most of our time learning about running an online business. This challenge forced us not to stay in our comfort zone.  I didn’t want to use the pandemic as an excuse to close my business, it is my baby.

    What have your other challenges been? How did you overcome them?

    About a month before the Mall told us it was reopening in late May, I was bored staying home all day so we tried running our business on Facebook. We started to offer delivery or touch-free pick-up and it helped on our sales. Now we are exploring other online options like Instagram, Shopify, and Amazon. As a new business person, we found it hard to figure out which one is more suitable for us, and we do not know which resource we should rely on to learn more relevant information. This is one important reason I joined the PEI Business Women’s Association.  I am expecting to meet more talented people in this network that can help us build our online business.

    What have your successes been?

    As a new business person, I don’t think I have succeeded yet. I’m trying to give myself more time, especially with this very special pandemic situation.

    But one thing I find rewarding is that as a person who have never lived in North America before, I have imported items that local people like and appreciate, which has helped us forge friendships with local communities, this is awesome!

     How can people contact you?

    They can visit us at the Main Level of the Confederation Court Mall in Charlottetown or message us at https://www.facebook.com/Goldenfoxhomedecorinc, where we usually respond within one hour.