Calgary entrepreneur Aymie Rondeau has captured ATB Financial’s Build Her Business crowdfunding competition, raising just over $9,000 to create an online shopping platform that offers inclusive designer fashion for plus-sized women not available in Canada.
“We believe that plus-sized women deserve safe, non-judgmental spaces to shop in, and the same quality of service and design, and quantity of fashion that is available to straight-sized women,” said Rondeau, a chartered accountant, who is owner of Curvy Collective, in a news release. “Curvy Collective’s goal is to change the conversation around how the world views and accepts people in larger bodies, and how plus-sized women view themselves: as confident, capable and worthy.”
The crowdfunding campaigns, launched Feb. 1, were supported and mentored throughout by ATB.
“We are thrilled to have been part of so many success stories,” said Curtis Stange, president and CEO of ATB Financial. “Local businesses are vital to the health of our economy and ATB prides itself on helping entrepreneurs like these get started.
“ATB recognizes women entrepreneurs face unique challenges when it comes to accessing capital and connecting with the right networks. We are committed to supporting women in overcoming those barriers and helping remove them when it comes to innovative banking solutions.”
Rondeau, a chartered accountant, came up with her business after becoming frustrated with the lack of fashionable, high-quality designs available for plus-sized, professional women.
Of the 22 participants in the competition, 19 met their crowdfunding goal. The competition raised close to $230,000, an average of over $12,000 per crowdfunding campaign.
ATB said Rondeau will also receive a personal mentorship session with Manjit Minhas, ATB board member, venture capitalist and dragon on CBC’s Dragon’s Den. She will also receive a $5,000 MasterCard from Moneris and ATB and a three-month coaching program with Anita Kemp, of The Purposeful Entrepreneur, valued at $1,500.
“Alberta is a province full of remarkable entrepreneurs and this competition proved it once again. These women are creative, tenacious and embody the true entrepreneurial spirit. As someone who has seen thousands of sofas pitches, I can honestly say these are the cream of the crop! I look forward to watching and hopefully investing in their journey to change the world,” said Minhas.
Other finalists in the crowdfunding campaign included:
- Designer Jolanda Slagmolen-Flores – Sencillo Cabinets (Calgary)
- Artist Stephanie Hoogveld – Women of Wonder (Calgary)
- Herbalist Aga Wajda-Plytta – Herbologie (Edmonton)
- Health-care professional Kathleen Cesarin – AOS (Edmonton)
- Workwear designer Jess Black – Jess Black Inc. (Edmonton)
- Baker Ashley Prince – More Fun! Gourmet Sweets (Leduc)
Mario Toneguzzi is a Troy Media business reporter based in Calgary. He writes for Calgary’s Business.