Loan Clients

Women's Enterprise Centre has assisted over 50,000 B.C. women start, grow and succeed in their small businesses! Here are some examples of the women we've worked with, and their stories of start-up and growth.

Kristine Theurer, Java Music Club, White Rock

What can be better than doing good while doing business! When Kristine Theurer was working in a long-term care home, she found that loneliness was a serious issue among the elderly and they needed to emotionally connect with others. She...

Nicole Bridger, Nicole Bridger Designs, Vancouver

A passion for creating a line of socially conscious clothing inspired Nicole Bridger to launch her business, Nicole Bridger Designs in Vancouver, BC. Her company creates clothing made from sustainable fabrics and ethical manufacturing. The majority of...

Tracy Sparks, CheckHouse Home Inspections, Kamloops

Tracy Sparks has ventured into a business mostly dominated by men. Along with her husband, she has launched CheckHouse Home Inspections and is the first female home inspector in Kamloops, BC. Trained and certified with ASTTBC (Applied Science...

Teresa Polson, Black 2 Blond Salonspa, Vancouver

The opening of Black 2 Blond Salonspa in 2003 in Vancouver was a dream come true for entrepreneur Teresa Polson. Passionate about providing eco friendly products to her clients, in 2012 she decided to carry La Biosthetique , a high quality...

JoAnn Fowler, Sappho Organics, Vancouver

As a professional makeup artist for twenty years, JoAnn Fowler had the inside scoop on chemicals and other ingredients used in cosmetics. Unhappy with the available products, she wanted to offer a safe and organic make up line to her clients. With...

Cupcake Girls Share Stories of their Sweet Success

Sunshine yellow and fiery red. In an article about Heather White and Lori Joyce, aka The Cupcake Girls, you might assume these to be icing colours on their premier cupcake offerings. But you would be wrong.
Each were assigned...

Lisa Will, Stonz, Vancouver

“Stonz” is a Vancouver based company born out of necessity. When Lisa Will was looking for warm infant footwear for her young son, she couldn’t find any! This inspired her to create warm infant footwear that stayed on. Stonz...

Liz Caruso, Soles of whistler, Whistler

A desire to be her own boss and control her work schedule motivated Liz Caruso to become an entrepreneur. She started Soles of Whistler, a fashion footwear store in Whistler, BC. Her store carries a wide range of footwear for women, workplace...

Penny Kuenle, Got Juiced, Trail & Rossland

They sell more than just smoothies. Penny Kuenle’s business “Got Juiced” also promotes a healthy lifestyle. The focus is on whole fruit drinks, using local products as much as possible. Got Juiced is a Smoothie shop using vegan...

Cristen DiCarolis Dallas, Pizzeria Prima Strada, Victoria

What’s a food item both parents and kids can agree on? For Cristen DiCarolis Dallas’s family, it was pizza. When she moved with her family to Victoria from California in 2005, she wanted to create a pizzeria that would serve pizza to...

Trish Mandewo, Vancouver Tumblebus, Port Coquitlam

Trish Mandewo’s business “Vancouver Tumblebus” is fun experience for kids, offering gymnastic training for ages 2 to 10. Based in Port Coquitlam, the Tumblebus provides services to young kids in pre-school and elementary schools in the...

Kyla Ray and Michelle Miazga, Port+Quarter, Vancouver

Port + Quarter began as a venture by two women in the world of men’s home decor. Before starting their business, Kyla Ray and Michelle Miazga made sure that they had researched their market and planned their business well. In 2012, they launched...

Falyn Lynch, Breann Tresoor, WrapZone, Duncan

A passion for delicious food and a keen business sense encouraged Falyn Lynch and her sister, and business partner Breann Tresoor, to become entrepreneurs. When they started looking at business options, they found WrapZone, a BC based healthy wrap and...

Dr. Agnieszka Matusik and Dr. Jolene Kennett, CareMed, Vancouver

Dr. Agnieszka Matusik and Dr. Jolene Kennett graduated school together as Naturopathic Physicians and were great friends. They shared the same vision of creating an integrative health centre that focused on health promotion and disease prevention....

Shelly Plaxton, Draught WISE, Victoria

When Shelly Plaxton came to BC in 1997 after a visit to vineyards in Australia, her deep interest in the wine and beer industry led her to the Okanagan. It was an exciting time for the industry as several brewpubs were coming up in the region. In 2000,...

Joanne Muirhead, JoJo’s Café, Osoyoos

With a degree in wildlife biology, Joanne Muirhead could have easily stayed in a secure job at a non-profit conservation group. Though she had always wanted to open a coffee shop, she was hesitant to take that first step. In July, 2010 she made the decision to...

Carolyn Williams, The Bar Method, Vancouver

Carolyn Williams has always enjoyed staying fit. When she was living in California she discovered “The Bar Method“and fell in love with the exercise program. She missed it after her move to Vancouver and decided to bring the workout...

Lisa Cham,The Fixx Café, Kelowna

The Fixx Café is the latest successful chapter in Lisa Cham’s entrepreneurial journey. She previously owned the Allegro Cafe in Vancouver and the Ocean Allegro in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Her plan was to run the front of the The Fixx Caf...

Kalpna Solanki, FX-Foods Inc., Burnaby

Kalpna Solanki launched the first frozen organic baby meals company BOBOBABY in North America in 2005. When the economic downturn impacted her business and new opportunities presented themselves, she sold the BOBOBABY brand and started working on Martin...

Elise Savard, Peak Performance, Whistler

Elise Savard was planning to be a ski instructor in Whistler for only one season but she fell in love with the Whistler life style. Her passion for outdoors brought her back to Whistler and she decided to realise her dream of opening a ski shop in the area. She started...

Cindy Hamilton, Mom’s Grilled Cheese Truck, Vancouver

Cindy Hamilton was looking for a change after being in the movie catering business for twelve years. Her decision was timely as she found that street food was emerging as an exciting , new business opportunity in Vancouver in 2011. The City of Vancouver had...

Toni Desrosiers, Abeego Designs Inc., Victoria

Toni Desrosiers started her business as an experiment in her kitchen. Her strong belief in creating more sustainable and environment friendly products motivated her to design a healthy alternative to plastic food storage wrap. Her experience as a nutritional...

Amanda Wamsteeker, momcafé Prince George

momcafé is a membership based networking organization for working mothers. The momcafé network brand and franchise business opportunity were created in 2007 in Vancouver and there are momcafé franchises operating across Canada. Amanda Wamsteeker...

Peggy Thompson, Okanagan Poultry Processing, Kelowna

Steady demand in a niche market has guaranteed the opportunity for Peggy Thompson’s business, Okanagan Poultry Processing. Rural and semi-rural farmers in the Okanagan Valley with small backyard flocks of chickens and turkeys needed help to process...

Patricia Beam, Central Signs and Services, Golden

There is a business opportunity in every community in British Columbia. Central Signs and Services in Golden started small and steady, experienced early exponential growth and is still adding...

Crystal Lowe, Hyde Restaurant, Vancouver

Hyde Restaurant in the Main and 14th neighborhood of Vancouver is a former bagel shop transformed into a friendly, hip watering hole that stays close to its community. Hyde owner, Crystal Lowe, had dreamed of opening a restaurant for five years.

...

Tara Black & Marion Neuhauser, Origin Gluten-Free Bakery, Victoria

Two years ago, Tara Black and Marion Neuhauser saw a niche in the food industry when friends of theirs with dietary restrictions had a tough time finding tasty wheat-free baked goods. Passionate about food and about helping their friends, the duo...

Aida Aranda, Kumon Math & Reading Centre of Surrey - Cloverdale

After receiving an MBA in her home country of Mexico, Aida Aranda knew self-employment was somewhere in her future, but with a move to Canada and a new lifestyle to adjust to, that dream had to put on hold for a while.

“When we came to Canada I took a job as a sales...

Alison Verrier and Marie Meeks, Glo Apparel, Vancouver

When Alison Verrier, a dental assistant, and Marie Meeks, a fashion designer, were both studying for their prospective careers, they had a moment of genius. One day, the mother and daughter were out shopping for Alison’s scrubs and all they...

Sonja Sandberg, Stanley BARK on the Park Inc., Doggie Daycare & Spaw, Vancouver

When asked what made her step away from a successful corporate career and take a risk on entrepreneurship, Sonja Sandberg admits that Oprah Winfrey had a big influence on her decision.

"I was watching Oprah on TV and she...

Cathie Gagnon, Teddy Bear’s Playhouse, 108 Mile Ranch

After working for many years as a professional nanny and taking care of other people’s children, Cathie Gagnon realized that she was missing out on her own son’s childhood. She needed to find a new career that would allow her to spend time with her child and make a...

Krista Marchand-Spinoy, Wanawafel, Victoria

Krista Marchand-Spinoy and her husband Renaat Marchand just wanted to bring a little piece of home to Victoria when they started their business, WannaWafel, last year. Having moved to Canada from Belgium in 2000, Krista was having a hard time finding a job that she was...

Kate Mukasa, Dow Imagery’s, Okanagan

From her childhood growing up in the suburbs of Johannesburg, South Africa to her work with HIV positive women and former child soldiers in Uganda, it’s Kate Mukasa’s life experiences that make her business, Dow Imagery, stand out from the competition.

Mukasa...

Michelle Howey, Owner Little Ceasars Pizza, Victoria

Michelle-Howey.jpgThese days Michele Howey can be found in the back of her pizza place in Victoria tossing dough in the air like a seasoned professional. Having opened her own Little Caesars franchise just two months ago, her pizza-making skills must be exceptional because the...

Victoria Carr, Breathe Spa, Vancouver

VictoriaCarr.jpgVictoria Carr, owner of Breathe Spa in Vancouver reaps the rewards of her hard work everyday when she sees her clients with glowing skin and big smiles. Being able to observe the direct effect that her business has on her clients is what keeps her driven in a very...

Theresa Siochowicz, The Welder Chic, Victoria

As a single mom, Siochowicz figured that running her own business would give her the flexibility to raise her child. “I was drawn to self-employment because I would have my freedom, my own hours, and control over all my decisions,” says Siochowicz. “I...

Shushma Datt, i.t. Productions Ltd., Vancouver

Datt was awarded the Influential Women in Business award, in 2007, for being the founder, president and CEO of i.t. Productions Ltd. and its subsidiaries Radio Rim Jhim and AM radio station RJ1200. Multicultural programming being her focus, she produces nine multilingual TV programs on...

Tracy Gray, Suzanne Mick, Discover Wines, Kelowna

Combine passion for BC-made wines with savvy business sense and you get Discover Wines, Suzanne Mick and Tracy Gray’s perfectly distilled retail creation.

Mick and Gray have been sweeping up awards since they started their business only three years ago. Their most...