My Experience with the Her Own Boss! Program
When moving to a new country most of us are somewhat aware of the diverse scenarios that will be present to us such as different weather, language and culture. We arrive in our new home country and start to slowly adapt to the new ways but since our embedded support system is no longer present, certain activities – like opening a new business – might become harder to engage in. In our home countries, we know how things work and we know where to go to receive support. In our new home country we start making new friends with people we meet at school or work but they don’t always extend their help or support in more meaningful ways. This can leave some of us, newcomers, with a feeling of not belonging.
In December of last year, I had come to the decision to quit my day job after experiencing burnout. I was missing a sense of direction in my professional life and did not know where to reach for guidance. One day I received a message from a friend of mine, who knew what I was going through, and she asked me if I had given any thought to entrepreneurship. I told her I had in the past but I really did not know where to start and that it was a very scary situation for me. She told me about Her Own Boss, a new program from the Women’s Economic Council, tailored for women who were newcomers to Canada. This program would teach women about different resources in the community, how to create a new business, how to apply for loans, create pricing and work out taxes, etc. This sounded like the perfect opportunity for me to learn everything I needed to launch a business selling my artwork. I decided immediately to enroll and I could not be happier with my decision.
In a very short amount of time a new community has been created where women, from different age groups and cultural backgrounds, are engaged in participating with all of their questions about different aspects of business development. Our group has members who are in different stages of entrepreneurship journey: from women who are not sure of what their business will look like to members who are ready to open their storefront in a few months.
I have been volunteering since January 2020 with the computer literacy aspect of the program. I have seen women excited to learn about computers and lose the fear of using them. I can see a boost in their confidence after they learned how to create a business card or how to create a free page online to promote their business. I have also witnessed women sharing their experiences to help other members. The program is helping women start regaining confidence in their knowledge and skills and how they can apply them towards a business of their own.
Ana Perez Rico is an artist from Mexico. She runs her business Colouring Sun Studio making and selling her art in St. John’s, Newfoundland.