Jamaican-born Dwania Peele wants to help immigrant women in small business
Dwania Peele, founder and executive director of Canadian Small Business Women has the know-how and can connect you with people with the relevant expertise to help you achieve your goals.
“I started this organization because I wanted to be able to provide a platform for all women, but immigrant women specifically, who have a vested interest in learning more about starting a small business, how to take the steps to officially launch a startup, and /or how to take their venture to the next level of success,” says Peele, an immigrant from Jamaica.
Immigrant women entrepreneurs
For the past five years, she has been hosting an annual Immigrant Women’s Small Business Expo, aimed at bringing together mostly immigrant women entrepreneurs. The event also hosts a number of workshops designed to provide information for startup and existing small-business owners.
“There are many immigrant women who face a lot of challenges, who want to find ways to get additional income and what better way than to start their own business, where they can have flexible hours,” Peele says. “I wanted to do something where I can bridge that gap because I do believe we’re an under-served group.”
Peele, who also hosts small networking events and webinars, migrated to Canada in her late teenage years and settled in Windsor, Ontario, with her parents. She attended university to study science, but also had a love for baking, which led to her first business venture, making and selling cupcakes. Tiny Delights became popular and lucrative as she started getting orders.
Start small and build
“[My events and workshops] are my way of letting [other immigrant women] know that you might have a dream of starting a business, but it doesn’t mean you have to give everything up to do it. You can start small and build. A lot of times that’s the advice I give to people. You might need a hundred thousand dollars but do you really need that to start a business, that’s the question I would ask,” Peele, who is a chemist by profession, says. “It cost me zero dollars to start my first website and all that was needed was my time and vision.”
Peele’s advice to someone thinking of starting a business? “You can’t be afraid to step out and ask questions. You have to tap into all your resources,” she says, including libraries which often have business planning tools. “Pick up the phone, go on the internet, go out and meet people, and find the resources. Don’t just say you have an idea and you want to do; just do it!”