Determination: Not a Dirty Word
Ayumi & Jessica
The IWMS Mentorship Program offers a short eight-week mentorship experience, bringing together members of the community, and artists and makers who are engaged in entrepreneurial activities. IWMS is proud to partner with the CWB Business Incubator for Women Entrepreneurs program, supported by DIVERSEcity and funded by Canadian Western Bank, to support women to courageously move their creative and entrepreneurial pursuits forward in new directions.
CWB Business Incubator for Women Entrepreneurs, a 20-week program, develops the entrepreneurial skills of women with creative skills and ideas, building peer networks among women entrepreneurs. To further build these peer networks, DIVERSEcity’s CWB Business Incubator for Women Entrepreneurs created a business community called Infinity Womenpreneurs, a website and collective where participants of the program showcase and promote their products. These programs create a network of support for women entrepreneurs to grow and develop their businesses, and to participate in mentorships to expand connections and confidence.
The IWMS Mentorship Program matched Ayumi Hiyami and Jessica Kruger in the first round of our mentorship program in the summer of 2021. Both women are passionate bakers who share three traits: curiosity, a desire to deliver joy through deliciousness, and strong determination.
Mentor, Jessica has been running her baking business since 2019: “People often ask, ‘Why ‘The Stubborn Baker‘?, and the answer is this: When I was 15 years old, I fainted and fell two storeys off of a ladder while painting a house. The accident left me a quadriplegic and the years since have involved a lot of re-learning how to do things that I previously did on a daily basis, growing confident in my new body, facing challenges, and loving opportunities to prove people wrong.”
Mentee, Ayumi, moved to Vancouver with her husband and two young children after the earthquake in Tokyo. Ayumi’s family has also exercised deep determination: learning customs of their new surroundings, working while parenting–all in a new language.
Ayumi was grateful to participate in the CWB Business Incubator for Women Entrepreneurs where she developed a business plan for “Lapin et Bon Bon.” This program teaches Canadian business basics, and offers workshops and marketing support to better formalize a participant’s concept. “I am happy with my logo, and what I learned with Florence and my group.” As Ayumi was baking for her friends and family, she recognized that the next step in her business development meant accessing a professional kitchen. In mentorship, Jessica was happy to share her technical, work, and life experiences and to offer Ayumi an insider’s view on running a baking business in Vancouver. Ayumi found value in learning more about commissary kitchens, and also observed Jessica’s drive: she had had to fight for her health, education, and later, for kitchen accommodations to work from her wheelchair. Valuable conversations during mentorship can help to explore challenges and obstacles while exploring solutions, options, and possibilities.
In Ayumi’s case, she completed her match, deciding not to “launch” Lapin et BonBon at this particular time. She is busy with her family and continues to explore what the right entrepreneurial fit is for her. She is grateful for the training and support she has received and thanks Jessica for her openness about both her business and personal development. Jessica is excited to continue as an IWMS mentor and wishes Ayumi the best on her continued business explorations. “Ayumi was great to work with. I would have liked to hire her if she were looking for a permanent job at this time!”
Running a business takes technical expertise, passion, and determination. We thank Ayumi Hiyama and Jessica Kruger for participating in the IWMS Mentorship Program, and for giving and sharing of themselves in this unique experience.
You can find Ayumi Hiyama and Jessica Kruger in the following social media spaces.
Lapin et Bonbon
The Stubborn Baker