test, put on by SavvyMom, awards the grand-prize
winner with $15,500 worth of cash, publicity,
endorsements and services.
“Since we launched, we’ve always looked for
ways to support mom entrepreneurs,” says Costco
member Sarah Morgenstern, SavvyMom’s co-founder. “To take it to the next level, we came up
with the idea of finding Canada’s top mom entrepreneur through a readers’-choice contest and brought
together a group of prize partners.”
JEFF COOKE PHOTOGRAPHY
When women such as Debbie Cornelius, owner
of Wee Piggies & Paws ( www.weepiggies.com),
which makes cast impressions of children’s feet and
hands, or Holly Reeves, who created Party-in-a-Box
( www.partybug.ca), started out they had no idea
how to write a business plan, find funding, locate
manufacturers or market their products. And there
wasn’t a lot of information available to help deal
with the unique challenges of running a business
and a household simultaneously.
“I didn’t even know how to make a Web site,”
says Reeves, a Costco member in Lacombe, Alberta.
“As far as starting my own business, there was
not a lot of help, nor was there much on how to be a
mompreneur,” says Cornelius.
In the nine years since Cornelius began her
business, which she has franchised to 60 mompreneurs across Canada, the number of Web sites for
women entrepreneurs has grown like wildfire.
“The last four years have been huge,” she says.
Do a Google search for “Canada mompreneur”
and you’ll get about 110,000 choices. Sites such as
Startup Princess ( www.startupprincess.com) and
Calgary-based The Mompreneur magazine (www.
themompreneur.com), which trademarked the term
“Mompreneur” in Canada, are full-blown communities, providing support and creating relationships
while dispensing the kind of advice—business and
work/ life balance—that was so lacking a decade ago.
It used to be that running a business from home
was somehow akin to admitting failure, an inability
to compete in the “real” world. Now, with close to
1 million moms running their own businesses,
entrepreneurial mothers are finally being taken seri-
ously by the traditional work world.
“In the past you had a lot more to prove,” says
Parlapiano. “Now, women are getting more respect.
You’re taken seriously now if you have a work-from-
“I think women-run businesses are receiving
great respect,” says Costco member Shirley Broback,
founder of Vancouver Island Baby Fair ( www.van
couverislandbabyfair.com) and winner of Savvy-
Mom’s 2009 Mompreneur of the Year award.
“Everyone knows that women hold the purchasing
power in families, and so it only makes sense that
women know what kinds of products and services
are needed out there. I think after giving birth some
women feel a sense of fearlessness and are inspired
to just go ahead and put their creativity or entrepre-
neurial ideas into action. It can be very inspiring for
children to see their moms doing what they love,
making an income and being their own boss.”
“If anything, the strongest reaction is one of
envy,” says momcafé co-founder Tasha Richard.
CONTINUED ON PAGE 22
JEFF COOKE PHOTOGRAPHY
“There are definitely more and more places to
turn to for help and advice,” says Hannah Draper,
who started Mom’s the Word to help women network by providing meetings and speakers.
And women share information more readily
than their male counterparts, they assert.
“Women love to support each other,” says
Morgenstern. “They will band together and provide
support and sharing, even if they are quasi competitive [businesses].”
sr r v cv v i h n With MBAs, degrees in com- merce, marketing, entrepre- neurship and human resources, creating an across-the-country network to inspire and connect professionally minded moms was a natural direction for Tasha Richard (pictured, right) and Jill Earthy, co-founders of momcafé ( www.momcafenetwork.com). Earthy, who lives in Vancouver, and Richard, who lives in Halifax, have seen their network of online and hosted events grow to 400 members in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Halifax. “Ask for help,” says Earthy. “Recognize your strengths and weaknesses, and delegate the things you don’t like to do.” Tasha Richard and Jill Earthy Tasha Richards and her son, Nigel. A group of attentive and entrepreneurial moms (and their children) at the launch of momcafé in Halifax.