KEYS is proud to support local entrepreneurs as they start or grow their businesses. Whether they work with us through our Self-Employment Hub, Rise Small Business Lending Program for entrepreneurs with a history of mental health or addiction challenges, or Your Way program for women entrepreneurs who are racialized, newcomers, or have a disability, we are honoured to join them on their entrepreneurial journey.
Here are some of the exciting local businesses that have recently been supported by KEYS self-employment programs:
Owner Ray Anaya is a visionary entrepreneur with several years of experience in the E-learning industry, teaching English and other languages online.
E-languages Canada has been in business since 2020, launched once the pandemic made remote work and online training more accessible. The Rise Small Business Lending Program supported E-Languages with a loan to reinforce marketing, promotion and to complete the setup of the Learning Management System. Rise also matched Ray with a mentor who has assisted with some great ideas.
Mr and Mrs Tees
Mr & Mrs Tees is a local Napanee business owned and operated by Dave Simpson. The business started in 2019 with the opportunity to create bespoke items for customers. Mr and Mrs Tees creates custom masks (toddlers, kids, adult masks), t-shirts, hoodies, mugs and tumblers, photo blankets and pillows and currently have a selection of 25 items that can be customized.
Helen Baker, owner of H.B.B. Art, is a Canadian abstract painter living in Kingston, Ontario. Helen started her business when COVID broke out, as she found that painting has helped her cope with the stress of the pandemic. Rise and KEYS helped Helen to launch her business by connecting her with a highly knowledgeable, professional mentor who always answers her questions when she needs help. The financial aid Helen has received from the Rise Small Business Lending Program has helped her to gain confidence as both a business owner and mental health awareness advocate. 10% of all H.B.B. Art sales of paintings are donated to the Kingston Defeat Depression campaign.
T's Bookkeeping Solutions & Tax Preparation
Melissa Fanjoy owns and operates T’s Bookeeping & Tax Preparation, providing bookkeeping, administrative and tax services for entrepreneurs. Melissa’s business meets the needs of a niche market and offers affordable pricing to those who benefit from such an approach: students, social services recipients, and people recently released from correctional facilities who are building small businesses. Melissa’s Rise Mentor has been a huge support, listening and lending much-needed advice any time she needed it.
Zingha is a social business seeking to increase inclusiveness and combat sexism and anti-Black racism through positive self-education; and to empower those of African descent and their allies. Owners Cheryl Edwards and Charmaine Magumbe create and sell Black-positive products, including t-shirts, mugs, journals, masks and tote bags. The Rise Small Business Lending Program helped them get their business off the ground by providing financial aid as well as a lot of wisdom!
Katt's Kritters was officially registered in Sept 2016 and is growing still. It was started with two male crested geckos and the goal to explore the more unexpected pet options of reptiles, and has expanded to an extensive collection of high quality crested geckos raised and care for with love. The Rise Small Business Lending Program Program was a major help in this venture as they recognized the potential of this business concept when so many others did not. With a loan from Rise, Katt’s Kritters has maintained and carried on through the years, and even through COVID when so many other small business were folding.
Trinity C Link
Trinity C Link builds IT platforms for small businesses, including Touchless (touchless delivery system) and GoGoKar (intra-city rideshare platform). “KEYS helped at a 'key point' when they ran out of budget for marketing activities, by supporting us financially through the Rise program. The money came in at the right time and has helped to launch the services in the midst of COVID crisis.”
Foot Truck Advanced Mobile Clinic
Helena & Amanda Pieroni. We are a mobile clinic specialized in foot care. Treatments for calluses, corns, ingrown toe nails, and dry heels made by an advanced nurse registered by the Canadian Association of Foot Care Nurses. High quality service in the comfort of your own home!
Coreen Creative Cool Crafts
Your Way participant Coreen Covert started crafting at age ten. As a grown woman, she now does knitting, crochet, bead and leather work as well as moccasins and some regalia, plastic canvas, cross stitch and other hand-made crafts. If it has a needle attached to it, she has tried it!
Over the TopP Catering
Over the TopP Catering was brought to life in 2020 by Head Chef and Owner Henry Francis, who aims to give the customer exactly what they ask for from start to finish, on time, on budget and no mess. Henry draws on 15+ years of experience in the food industry and growing vegetables to share his love of food and planning events with the Kingston community.