SARNIA OBSERVER: Work-at-home moms in Sarnia in the running for national business awards
By Paul Morden, Sarnia Observer
Photo: Adaleah Lacey Photography
A pair of Sarnia businesses are in the running for the 2016 Mompreneurs Awards.
Laura Batista, owner of Handmade For You Love Lu, and Candice Bell, owner of Bitty Boots, are finalists for this year’s awards given by the Mompreneur Showcase Group and ParentsCanada Magazine.
Batista is a finalist for a Momentum Award, and Bell is a finalist in the Startup category, for the awards set to be announced in Toronto in early March.
The two Sarnia home businesses are among 20 finalists in four categories, with the winners to be selected by expert panel of judges, based on a set of criteria that includes innovation, commitment to community, sales growth and leadership.
Female entrepreneurs were nominated, or registered, with the contest online where voters helped determine the finalists.
Winners set to be announced at a Mompreneurs conference March 4 and 5 will be eligible for a total of more than $30,000 in cash and business services.
Batista started her home business, Homemade For You Love Lu, in 2011.
It began with a scarf Batista designed and sold to raise money for a mission trip she was taking to Cuba.
“I really didn’t have any intention to start a business,” she said.
But, Batista said she posted a photo on Facebook, and it grew from there.
Since 2014, she has hired five independent crocheters to help with production.
“It has grown quite a bit since the beginning,” Batista said.
“I’m so excited to be nominated, because it’s a national, prestigious award, something that I never thought I’d be up for.”
The business gives 15 per cent of proceeds from sales to mission projects in Cuba. Batista met her husband, Manuel, who now lives with her in Canada, on one of her trips there.
The mission projects to Cuba have include bringing musical instruments to a small church, gifts for children in orphanages, baby supplies for new mothers, rebuilding part of a home destroyed in Hurricane Sandy, and building a brick home on a small farm for a family.
Batista sells her handmade crocheted winter accessories at craft and trade sales, as well as on a website that has attracted a large number of customers in Western Canada.
Batista said winning the award would help her expand her business, and hire more women as independent crocheters.
“In the beginning, the focus was on missions to Cuba,” she said.
“Now, it’s more focused on providing jobs for these local mothers.”
Batista said she also heard about the awards on social media, from other mothers with home businesses.
“There’s a huge trend now to purchase online, and to purchase from work-at-home moms,” she said.
“You kind of have to search for it on social media, but once you find a few, it’s just a big network.”
See original article here: http://www.theobserver.ca/2016/01/25/work-at-home-moms-in-sarnia-in-the-running-for-national-business-awards
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