Sucess Stories

Success Story – Lorraine Green

“Putting clients first – the business of quality homecare”
 
The beginnings of Green Lafleur Homecare is embedded in their objective to:  “Treat clients with Care, Dignity and Respect”.  Three years ago, a desperate and frustrated friend shared her story of abuse, pain and despair meted out to her aging mother who was under the care of a home service provider.   This was the tick that compelled Lorraine  Green, the founder and CEO of Green LaFleur Homecare to find a solution .   Lorraine’s enterprising spirit was set afire to conduct research and develop a business plan for a service that was professional and responsive to clients’ needs.   She also pursued avenues for business support when she met CAABWA in 2008 and attended it’s business development workshops for immigrant women in Newmarket.

Lorraine’s research confirmed that the need for quality home care of the elderly was widespread and beyond the generic model of providing basic assistance to loved ones.  She established Green Lafleur in February 2009 with one client and   proceeded to build her business based on client referral for service par excellence .   Green LaFleur Homecare now offers a suite of services including a Night-time “Tuck-in” support program; a physical assistance program and a program for the mentally challenged that provides customized services for  clients with Alzheimers, Dementia, ALS and a few other Neurological Disorders.
Prior to starting her business, Lorraine held executive positions in the IT industry as Vice President of Aptitude Software, North America and 10 years in senior management at IBM Canada.   She followed her dream and re-trained as a Homeopathic Doctor.  The transition from the corporate world to community service for Lorraine was challenging but not daunting.  “I combined my skills with my passion”.  

When asked “What will take her business to the next level?”, Lorraine responded: “Mentoring and sharing sessions, an opportunity for business women like myself to share, critique and receive current business experiences; B2B lessons learned sessions”. 

Her advice to women who want to own their own business is to – Have a dream , follow your dream, be willing to work hard.  It pays!

Visit Lorraine’s business at www.greenlafleur.com

 

Success Story – Mariam Luyombo

A Taste of Africa

 Mariam, originally from Uganda, recollects a very warm welcome when she and her family migrated to Canada in 2006.  It was her family’s first experience in the middle of winter when she began a new chapter in her life, she settled in Toronto.  Mariam quickly enrolled her children in school and found work at a local non profit organization.  Just about six months after her arrival, Mariam recalled that “everything had gradually fallen into place and I began to feel at home”.  One thing was missing though – “the food that I was accustomed to”.   This longing for African food was the beginning of Mariam’s business pursuits.  In 2008, Mariam attended CAABWA’s Import and Export training sessions held in the Peel region.   Mariam combined the information gained there with her own expertise to launch her business later that year.  She named her business Chakula Tamu, a Swahili phrase meaning very delicious food. Mariam’s thriving business imports and retails East African food specialties.  

In 2010 the Chakula Tamu met the needs of customers in The Greater Toronto Area. Customers also sometimes come from as far as , Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec and the US. Chakula Tamu supports the livelihoods of Ugandan women farmers and traders. Mariam was able to break even on investments in 2010; she plans to continue her Toronto based business in 2011 and to replicate her business model in Boston USA.

Mariam is willing to share her business experience in CAABWA’s mentoring groups.
Read more about this remarkable African Canadian business woman at http://www.chakula-tamu.ca

Success Story- Bridging the cultural gap with African Art - Onuwa Victoria Ogbolu

Canada Mi Dream Holdings, a business where culture and heritage is promoted through art, is the brainchild of an enterprising and talented woman, Onuwa Victoria Ogbolu.   Onuwa came to Canada in 1989 with the dream of sharing her love and professional training in Fine Arts.  She traveled many paths including retraining as a Computer Engineer, becoming a single parent and overcoming a life threatening impairment.  For Onuwa, these experiences only propelled her to continue to look for opportunities where she could realize her dream to generate income, balance her time and express her talent at its best.  Her vision is to one  day establish the first woman run African Art Museum in Ontario.
In 2008, Onuwa received training in Import and Export by CAABWA.  She continued to use the CAABWA trainers as a sounding board for business expansion and attended mentoring sessions in Maple in 2009.   In 2010, Onuwa converted her living room into an Arts Studio, the launching ground for her art sales, inspirational sessions and educational forums.
CAABWA visited Onuwa’s innovative Art Studio in December 2010 when she expressed, “I need a supportive group and look forward to mentoring from CAABWA”.   Onuwa has established buyers in the USA and Nigeria. She sells her work on consignment to American Art dealers and is in the process of selling educational packages on the Appreciation of African Art to schools in Toronto.
Onuwa is the recipient of the Microskills Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2009; she holds a Masters Degree in Fine Arts and a Graduate Diploma in Computer Engineering.