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Putting the focus on area’s women entrepreneurs

In a portfolio that includes promoting female entrepreneurship, Associate Minister of Children and Women’s Issues Jill Dunlop’s stop in Elmira Wednesday morning featured just such an enterprise. Joined by Kitchener-Conestoga MPP Mike Harris, she visited Maggie’s Mudroom to chat with owner Leslie Brown and hear her story.

The visit to Elmira was also a chance for Dunlop to see how local businesses are coping with the coronavirus pandemic and making use of relief programs.

“Today we’re visiting at Maggie’s and talking with women entrepreneurs, and I think it’s so important that women can see themselves in roles like this and know that they can take something that they have a passion for, like Leslie with crafts and with pottery, and to turn into a business that they love,” said Dunlop.

“I’m also from a small community, too. I live just outside of Orillia, and we have the same thing –  many smaller women led businesses – and I think it’s just so important to see women like this empower other women to be able to open a business and really look at your passion, how you can take that into the business world is important.”

In addition to her encouragement of women-led enterprises, Dunlop also called on residents to support their local businesses through the pandemic and beyond.

In addition to visiting Elmira, Dunlop made stops in the region alongside Harris and Kitchener South-Hespeler MPP Amy Fee.

Harris says her visit was a great way for her to not only see our community, but also to check in on businesses and see how COVID relief is working for them.

“It’s really exciting to have … Jill Dunlop in Elmira, and also touring around other parts of the region, including Wilmot Township and also in Kitchener and Cambridge. It’s great for her to see firsthand some of the fantastic things that are going on, not only in our townships but obviously in our population centres throughout the region that pertain to her ministry,” said Harris.

“[We are also] getting a bit of a feel of some of the things that we’ve done as a government in regards to COVID-19 relief. There’s been some programs that have been rolled out to her ministry, or from her ministry to some of our social services agencies here in the region, and we’ll be getting a little bit of a sense of what that’s meant to them today.”

He says it is great to see women led businesses in a community like Woolwich Township and Elmira because they are the backbone of the community. He noted how the community has been wonderful rallying around businesses such as Maggie’s Mudroom during such a difficult time.

For her part, Brown said she is happy to be one of many women who own and operate a business in Elmira. Working with her daughter Rebekah to run not just the Mudroom, but the Local Renaissance Espresso Bar has been a real treat, as well. She says she was inspired by all of the other businesses run by women.

“I’m extremely proud, actually – this town is mostly led by women in business, so I sort of got that encouragement from Kitchen Kuttings and the hair salons and Never Enough Thyme. All those people are women. Busy Bee Quilts is a woman,” said Brown. I feel proud to be able to pull that off, especially as a mother-daughter [combination] – that’s kind of been a fun adventure for me. I’ve enjoyed teaching her about business guiding her. And she teaches me lots, too.”

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