CALGARY, March 8, 2019 /CNW/ - A Calgary entrepreneur is one step closer to expanding fashion choices through her business Curvy Collective after winning ATB Financial's Build Her Business crowdfunding competition.
Aymie Rondeau raised just over $9,000 in her winning campaign to create an online shopping platform that offers inclusive designer fashion not otherwise available in Canada. The chartered accountant came up with the idea after becoming frustrated with the lack of fashionable, high-quality designs available for plus-sized, professional women.
"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," Rondeau said. "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."
Curtis Stange, President and CEO of ATB Financial, congratulated Rondeau and all the entrepreneurs who participated in the competition.
"We are thrilled to have been part of so many success stories," Stange said. "Local businesses are vital to the health of our economy and ATB prides itself on helping entrepreneurs like these get started."
ATB's Build Her Business competition was a campaign to encourage more women to use crowdfunding as a way to start and grow their business. People contributed to the campaigns in exchange for a reward which varied depending on the size of the contribution.
Participants launched their campaigns February 1, 2019 and were supported and mentored throughout by ATB.
Rondeau was one of seven semi-finalists whose campaigns were judged by some of the biggest names in business including Angela Brown, CEO of Moneris, Marcela Mandeville, CEO of Alberta Women Entrepreneurs and ATB vice-president Ed Straw.
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 recognizes women entrepreneurs face unique challenges when it comes to accessing capital and connecting with the right networks," Stange said. "We are committed to supporting women in overcoming those barriers and helping remove them when it comes to innovative banking solutions."
All 19 participants who met their goals will be able to keep the money raised through crowdfunding.
As the winner, 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," said Minhas, who has been part of the campaign since its launch. "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."
Other finalists include:
- 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)
Winner Aymie Rondeau will be at ATB's Deerfoot Meadows branch in Calgary (33 Heritage Meadows Way SE #1200) today at 10:15 - 11:00 a.m. for interviews.
For more information or additional interview requests, please contact:
About ATB Financial
With $54.9 billion in assets, ATB Financial is an Alberta-built financial institution. But don't let that fool you—we're so much more than a bank. We got started in 1938 to help Albertans through tough economic times, and today we have 176 branches, 143 agencies, a Client Care Centre, four entrepreneur centres, and mobile and online banking. And did you know we're fast becoming the digital bank and the bank for entrepreneurs? We're already the place to work for our more than 5,500 team members who love to serve our 760,000-plus customers in 247 Alberta communities. To find out more, visit us at atb.com.
SOURCE ATB Financial