Women supporting women — that is the idea behind SheEO, a venture capital business that has women investors supporting women entrepreneurs.
SheEO launched in 2015 and called for 500 female "activators" to invest a thousand dollars each to create a pool of capital of $500,000. That money was given as zero interest loans to five women for their business ideas. Right now, 25 SheEO participants are in the semi-finals phase for the next round of funding.
One of those participants is Patrice Mousseau, an Ojibway from Fort William First Nation, Ont., now living in Vancouver.
Her company, Satya Organic Skin Care, was born out of the need to treat her baby daughter's eczema. Mousseau did not want to treat her daughter's condition with steroid cortisone cream.
"I wasn't willing to put that on my child," said Mousseau, a former broadcaster.
"So I used my research skills and looked at traditional medicine and academic studies from different universities and then created something in my crock-pot in my kitchen."
Mousseau submitted her product to Health Canada with her research and had the department approve her medicinal balm. She also had her product certified organic by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
"For my daughter, her eczema was cleared up in a couple of days. It does come back because there is no such thing as a cure for eczema but this is how I manage it without using any steroids," said Mousseau.
People on her mother's Facebook page asked for samples, and the product just took off from there. Now, her Satya Organic Eczema Relief balm is in over 400 stores across Canada.
If she is successful, Mousseau has two more products that she wants to bring out to market. But perhaps her biggest ambition is to bring the production of her product back in-house.
Currently her product is made by a co-packing company but Mousseau said she wants to set the production on a First Nation and hire Indigenous moms who need childcare.
"The ideal scenario is hire a kokum who can take care of the kids and the moms can work. And I can bring my manufacturing back into the community which would be amazing."