Ener said Innovation Guelph’s Rhyze Ventures program appealed to her mainly because it is specifically designed for women and the framework offers traditional training with real support through the project. “IG is a big hero in my book,” she said. “I’ve had training before, but I needed the support to get things done.”
Having completed about half of the program so far, Ener said she has learned to prioritize and has had several aha moments. “It doesn’t all have to get done right away, how to break up projects into smaller pieces and how to tap into the network are things I’ve learned,” she said. “I also learned I wasn’t doing anything wrong!”
Ener said profitability and scaling has been a focus for her during the program and she’s learning that with growth there have been unanticipated associated challenges. She values learning how to prioritize specific jobs, a new focus on goal setting, the hands-on approach to project work and accessing a network of supportive women entrepreneurs. “It’s empowering to network with people who have experienced similar challenges. If at any time I have a need to discuss things, someone will find the resources,” she said. “That’s very powerful as a rural woman entrepreneur.”
One of the challenges Ener has worked on is financial management, which she described as the broccoli on her plate! Working on her financials has been part of her empowerment as a business owner. “I need to do this and I’m not doing too bad,” she said. “I know my numbers pretty well.”
Ener said that when she’s done Rhyze Ventures, she appreciates Innovation Guelph’s continuity of programs she can also consider. A previous participant in the Startup Program, Ener said she received help getting established on Amazon. Within the first month on Amazon, bathintentions made it to the best seller list and then the best seller list in the handmade category! During Rhyze Ventures, bathintentions sales tripled by October 2021 and Ener said they are barely keeping up with demand in November. “The program provided the support, resources, know-how and responsiveness to help us adjust to the demand as we ramp up,” she said.
Ener said that looking forward it’s her dream to develop programs for reintegrating women into the workforce where the work environment is more comfortable. She advises other women entrepreneurs to be aware of their finances because maintaining financial health and paying yourself first is very important. “Running a business is a lot of work and having a great support system is so important,” she said. “Stand back, take a breath, don’t throw in the towel. Focus on a few things and do them really well.”
“We have the option to not do anything or to do something bold. I opted for bold,” Ener said.