CANOE Network

The Toronto Sun CareerConnection


Home-based women entrepreneurs

By Roger Pierce

An increasing number of Canadian women are becoming entrepreneurs. There are more than 821,000 women entrepreneurs in this country, with half operating from a home-based business.
Half of all women entrepreneurs in Canada operate a home-based business. Anne Stone supports them through her organization, Women in a Home Office.

That's great news for entrepreneur Anne Stone. She founded Women in a Home Office (, a national networking organization designed to support women running home-based ventures.

"I discovered a desire for women entrepreneurs to band together in my own community in the Beaches area of Toronto and decided to make a business out of it," Stone says. For the past six years, Stone's organization has connected home-based women entrepreneurs on a community and national level through monthly face-to-face meetings, tele-meetings, newsletters and a website.

Unique challenges

Women face some unique challenges when starting a small business. Those challenges may include childcare, coping without a paid maternity leave, access to financing and how to balance family responsibilities with business deadlines.

"Women tend to approach business differently than men," Stone says. "We believe that business is about relationships, not business cards."

Appropriately, her WHO members meet in small community groups so women can get to know each other better.

"One of the biggest issues confronting home-based women entrepreneurs is isolation," Stone says.

"If you've worked your whole life in an office environment, working alone in your home business can be quite a shock. That's why it's so important to connect with women in similar situations."

With our huge Baby Boomer population, women in Canada make up a larger share of the self-employed than in any other country. According to Statistics Canada, most women

entrepreneurs are between the ages of 35 and 54 and operate a retail or service-based small business.

That doesn't surprise Stone, who says she enjoys the freedom and flexibility of her service business.

"I'm passionate about helping others through my business, but controlling my own schedule is very important, so I can be a mom too!"

-- Entrepreneurship expert Roger Pierce trains people on how to start a small business in the Up & Running Biz Launch Program.

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