Atlantic Canada’s Leading Resource for Women Entrepreneurs Since 1992

Experiencing the Versatility of Business in Rural Nova Scotia

Oct. 3, 2016

Holly Morgan | Business & Communications Assistant at the Centre for Women in Business

HollyMorgan

Even amidst fierce flames—the golden lotus can be planted.

Working at the Centre, it didn’t take very long for me to begin recognizing the plethora of female-owned businesses. Moreover, it took even less time to be impressed by their quiet resilience.

Like a muted hurricane, I was suddenly swimming in a pool of inspiring individuals who I quickly aspired to emulate in my future career. I realized, just because I don’t know about them, doesn’t mean they don’t exist. So, with that mentality, I began a personal pursuit to discover the silent gems being nurtured by female super-forces across the province.

As students, we sometimes lose sight of just how small our world can become. Riding the bus is no walk in the park, and a 10-minute drive can be 40 minutes on that majestic, metal mammoth.

All of a sudden, the grocery store down the road is a once-a-week trek to the outskirts of your microcosm.

So, I was understandably quite excited to visit Truro and Tatamagouche; two towns that I perceived to be sequestered, but recognized their importance as ingredients in the hodge podge that is Nova Scotian culture. I instantly had the epiphany to use my trip as an opportunity to find more female inspiration.

In such a small town (with a population of 2,037), it was no surprise that Tatamagouche had a limited number of local businesses.

I’ve learned over time that “Main Street” can become a very literal expression within small communities. Don’t get me wrong, I am a firm advocate of quality over quantity, but I knew the stats. The ratio of female-to-male business owners is dreadfully disproportioned. Those numbers fueled my pre-conceived notion to anticipate very little diversity amongst the town’s entrepreneurs.

Boy, was I wrong.

Arriving at the Tipperary Bakery & Café, I now restrain myself from describing the experience as, “being transported.” I refrain from that expression because I think that it detracts from the charm of localism.

Owned and operated by Angela and Richard Stirling, the room was filled—not just with customers, but with Nova Scotian magnetism, and –most importantly- a solid business concept. I was surrounded by the smiling faces of locals, tourists, families, freelance workers, and many more.

Served by Angela’s mother, I couldn’t help but to be galvanized. This was a whole family of committed fempreneurs! In the face of a culture dominated by male leaders and dependent on profit generation, these individuals were defying the norms. They were making it work, and they were doing it well.

Following the adage of “solid business skills, sound planning, and a collaborative network,” I realized that a business is like a person. In order for one to tackle the stresses and trials of the volatile world we live in, we have to take care of ourselves first. It starts within. My experience that day was a testament to the versatility of a business certain to succeed, regardless of where it is being fostered.

About Holly: 

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