Entrepreneurial Inside Stories from Think-tank for Changemakers

On March 5 around 80 value-driven entrepreneurs gathered at ubizo organized by Lisa Princic to tackle pressing business challenges, learn from each other and lay out plans to continue making an impact in our community.

Lauren Bacon opened the event by sharing a story of her entrepreneurial journey: how she started a web design studio with her partner Emira Mears from a corner of her bedroom, how she got to a point of being enormously busy with the workload and then how she had to transform herself in order to bring new people into the business.

Key take-aways from her story for those who are at the point of being overwhelmed in their businesses:

  • Lauren had to give herself permission to change her mind about her business when things that worked well in the first two years stopped serving her later.
  • She had to move out of her comfort zone by taking responsibility for hiring employees and letting go of control.
  • Lauren also had to make peace with being in a position of power (being a boss) – if you want to know more, read Lauren’s blog post I found this morning on her website.


{Thanks to Zack Embree for the beautiful picture!}

Then 9 businesses (case studies) presented their challenges to a group of peers and experienced business mentors. It was a real pleasure to participate in Earnest Ice Cream’s case study. Ben and Erica, co-founders, attended ubizo last year before launching their venture. They’ve been doing great in their business and now planning to continue growing with the focus on sustainability which is one of their core values.


{Photo by Zack Embree}

In the second half of the event RozeMerie Cuevas (Jacqueline Conoir) took the stage to share her “inside my business” story.

Listening to RozeMerie gave me shivers. Oh my! How she managed to survive in a fashion industry in Vancouver. In the late 80’s she had to face significant challenges because at that time people didn’t want to buy local (they wanted German, French or Italian.) She also didn’t have enough resources here – everything had to be brought from other countries.

Customer service, branding, media coverage, prices – they did everything they thought was right. But people still weren’t buying.

In their 7th year in business, they decided to educate people on why to buy local. Then a couple of years later began creating events to engage customers and rebranded to build the right perception in the minds of people.

Bumpy road! But RozeMerie loves fashion and didn’t mind working even during the weekends. She persevered no matter what.

Here is her advice to young folks wanting to succeed in a fashion industry:

  • Do it if you love it
  • Get some business knowledge
  • Make sure to have a lot of stamina

As a final note to the event, the main message flowing in the room of passionate entrepreneurs was “stay connected to your DNA (values, vision, mission); reach out for help; don’t forget to treat your business as a business.”


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