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Girls Mean Business in Antigonish

Girls Mean Business participants Madison MacDonald (left), Nicky Nicholson and Bree MacPherson with program co-ordinator Hannah Chisholm (right). Corey LeBlanc
Girls Mean Business participants Madison MacDonald (left), Nicky Nicholson and Bree MacPherson with program co-ordinator Hannah Chisholm (right). Corey LeBlanc - Corey LeBlanc

Young entrepreneurs launch initiatives

ANTIGONISH, N.S. —

A trio of young women spent part of their summer learning about entrepreneurship.    

Madison MacDonald, Nicky Nicholson and Bree MacPherson participated in the first-time Girls Mean Business program.    

Hannah Chisholm, a Heatherton native and graduate of St. F.X.’s Schwartz School of Business, teamed up with her alma mater’s extension department to provide the eight-week experience.    

“There were weekly workshops on a variety of topics,” she explained, adding several mentors participated and provided guidance.    

Areas of focus included goal setting, creativity, graphic design, accounting and social media.    

Each participant was required to submit an application, resume and business idea.    

“It went really well,” Chisholm said.    

With their business idea, she noted, the participants were, basically, “starting from scratch.”    

During the closing ceremony for the program, the female entrepreneurs “officially launched” their businesses.    

Madison MacDonald, a Grade 12 student, focussed on revamping the well-known Pomquet community cookbook.    

“I am really proud of my Acadian culture,” she said, when asked about her business selection.    

Easy-Peasy Recipes includes culinary delights from past editions, along with new ones.    

“There are also stories about Pomquet,” she noted.    

As of the Sept. 18 conversation, Madison already had 60 orders for the book.    

“There has been a lot of interest,” she said.     

When asked about her favourite part of the Girls Mean Business experience, Madison talked about creating her logo.    

“It was a lot of fun,” she said.    

Chisholm noted one of the mentors focussed on a digital application that photographed each girl’s “hand-designed” logo.    

Bree MacPherson also enjoyed that aspect of the experience.    

“I was making bath products for myself and then my family starting asking for them,” the Grade 9 student said of genesis of her business, which is now called Bree’s Bubbles.    

She noted Girls Mean Business “opened the door for me.”    

“I think I was able to accomplish a lot,” Bree said of her participation.    

Now, her products are for sale.    

Nicky Nicholson, an eighth grader, provided the scoop on planning for her new ice cream business, which will open next summer at Cribbon’s Beach.    

“After the restaurant closed [at the neighbouring wharf], there has been nowhere at the beach to buy one, so I decided to open one,” she said of the newly-minted Happy Cones.    

Nicholson has already purchased a trailer and completed the required food inspection measures.    

“It was great – I learned a lot,” she said of her eight-week experience.    

The trio nodded in agreement, when asked if they would recommend taking part in Girls Mean Business, which Chisholm said will return next summer.    

“It is a great way to inspire and encourage young female entrepreneurs,” she added.    

Noting only 12 per cent of small and medium-size businesses in Canada are owned by females, Chisholm said, that has to change. 

“We need to expose girls – at a young age – to the idea that business is a viable career path,” Chisholm said.    

For more information about Girls Mean Business, email Chisholm at hannah@eggcitables.ca or Paula Brophy with the St. F.X. Extension Department at pbrophy@stfx.ca

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