Today marks 4 amazing years since the very first “Mompreneur Showcase” in Milton, on October 16, 2010 – where have 4 years gone?! In true celebration style during our 4th Anniversary Party, we reminisced while looking at old photos, we laughed, we cried, and we indulged in some pretty amazing dessert in the process!
Many have asked how this whole ‘Mompreneur thing’ began – truly, I call it a journey, and one that I am so proud and fortunate to have been on for 4 years now. Here’s how it all began, and how this crazy journey has led Milton Mompreneurs and our entire Mompreneur network to where we are today:
July 2010: We’d just moved into our new house; the kids were 2 and 3.5 years old, and we were just starting our summer holidays. On our second day in new surroundings, I turned to my husband David and asked him what he thought of an idea I had: to put together a group for women who were in business but who were also mothers. His response: “what’s the worst that could happen?!”. So I put the word out via an online mom’s forum: any women who were moms and also business owners were invited to meet at Starbucks and chat about business casually over a grande latte. 12 women came out to that first event, and it was the start of something new and exciting and full of prospect.
October 16, 2010: Word began to spread of our group – the “Milton Mompreneurs”. The women who were initially taking part in our networking chats expressed an interest in showcasing their products and services – and so was born the first “Milton Mompreneur Showcase”. It was a whirlwind of activity and women and community members – 40 exhibitors, 400 visitors, and amazing excitement all around. For many of the women who exhibited that day, it was the first time they had told the world that they ran a business, and they first time they took part in exhibiting to the public!
February 2011: Milton Mompreneurs connected with another local women’s networking group called Milton Area Female Entrepreneurs (MAFE), organized by Sandy Hatzis. The thought was that by putting our two groups together for networking events, we would be covering all our bases: women in business and women in business who are mothers! On a random Monday morning in February, we had 80 women attend our first joint meetup, and the energy was incredible. Both Sandy and I knew that we were onto something pretty amazing! In that same month, on February 14th to be exact, I filed incorporation papers for what is now our “Mompreneur HQ” – Mompreneur Showcase Group Inc. Though it was initially my ‘5 year plan’ to open up other Mompreneur chapters, so many women were approaching me and asking how they too could start a group in their community – so I made it happen! It was a learning curve for sure, but in the end, by the end of February, we had 3 new Mompreneur chapters in other communities around the GTA.
April 2011: The 2nd Annual Milton Mompreneur Showcase took place – we upgraded to an Arena floor, went from 40 exhibitors to 120 exhibitors, and went from 400 visitors to just over 1,000 visitors. In just 6 months time, things were really picking up speed! Over the next year, we continued to host monthly events in the Milton community, while also opening new Mompreneur chapters and continuing to develop the Mompreneur brand and business platform.
September 2012: Another big stepping stone came into play, via the purchase of the Canadian trademarked word “mompreneur” – this now positioned our ‘little’ Mompreneur company as THE Mompreneur company for all of Canada! By the end of 2012, we had developed Mompreneur events in 15 various communities, all formed using the same model of our very first group in Milton.
March 2013: In 2013 we hosted the “Mompreneurs Conference” with CityLine‘s Tracey Moore, a national event that welcomed 200 business women from across Canada! At this event, we crowned our first winner of the “Mompreneur Award of Excellence” – a $30,000 prize awarded to one talented mom in business. I was also honoured in Milton by being named “Entrepreneur of the Year” through the Milton Chamber of Commerce – an honour that I continue to hold near and dear to my heart!
March 2014: The 2014 Mompreneurs Conference took place, with keynote speaker Arlene Dickinson of Dragon’s Den. To say that this accomplishment was huge for me is an understatement, as Arlene is, in my books (and the books of most women in business!), the quintessential “mompreneur” – it was a weekend that I will never forget.
That Brings Us to TODAY: Over the last 4 years, so much has been accomplished since that very first meeting at Starbucks, and that very first “Mompreneur Showcase” in the little banquet room of our local sports centre. As a collective community between the whole Mompreneur Organization, here is a look at our ‘numbers’:
- Our collective online community consists of over 17,000 amazing women in business across the country
- Social media is HUGE for us, with over 40,000 collective followers on Twitter, and over 33,000 fans collectively on Facebook
- There have been over 500 hosted “Mompreneur” events, both online and in-person, since 2010.
- Collectively, Mompreneurs and its chapters have raised close to $100,000 in charitable donations for our communities
- Milton Mompreneurs has raised over $30,000 through various events both independent and partnered, funding of which has stayed in full within the Milton community. We have been proud to support organizations such as Halton Women’s Place, Milton United Way, and The Sunta Caruana Music Scholarship Fund.
To the early supporters: David, Emily, Patsy, Mom, Kristi and Jonathan Budworth, Kyla Holt, Sheri Medina, Andrea Sadgrove, Lena White, Anna Maria Di Nicolantonio, Adina Ingram, Natasha Pearcy, Piri Darabont, Sandy Hatzis, Bridget and Shawn Saulnier, Deborah Hilton, Theresa Brereton, Angie Wagenaar, Hedi Nowak, Amy Leask, Allycia Uccello, Julie and Shawn Creighton, Michelle Hawco, Dean and Allison De Fazio, Mayor Gord Krantz, Nicole Horn, Sam Kassam-Macfie. Grace Moores, Jennifer Williamson, Pat Cluett, Suzanne Culley, and Lesley Stainkaitis.
Truly, I would not be the person I am today, as a mother or as an entrepreneur, if it wasn’t for the incredible support and network of powerful women I have been blessed to surround myself with – for everyone who has supported Mompreneurs past and present, and for those who continue to support us in future, I truly appreciate all that you have brought into my life. The many many ways in which you have shaped our group has changed the lives of many women across this country, and I’m not sure I will ever be able to fully express my gratitude.
While some businesses have come and gone over the last 4 years, others have flourished and taken off just the same. I have seen members go through so many life-moments: pregnancies, weddings, divorces, first-days of school, going ‘back to work” – through it all, I have found that the support we are able to give each other, no matter which life-moment we happen to be in at any particular time, THAT is what drives us all to success.
Here’s to many more years to come – truly, thank you to everyone!