“I got to a place where I said: ‘I don’t want this kind of life anymore.'”

By enrolling in a self-employment program funded by the Canadian Women’s Foundation, Nicole developed the skills she needed to realize her dream of starting a business.

EVERYBODY HAS A STORY. I grew up with poverty. I grew up with abuse. I grew up in what a lot of people would call a hopeless situation.

My mom was left on her own to raise two kids. I remember times when there was butter and no bread, and then bread and no butter. Christmas dinner was macaroni and cheese.

I got into trouble as a teenager and dropped out of high school. Later on, I saw my own family fall into the same poverty that I had grown up in.

But then things changed. I got to a place where I said: “I don’t want this kind of life anymore.”

I started fighting for my life. I had a different motivation. I saw myself owning my own business. I saw myself employing my neighbours. I saw myself in a different place, with a different level of confidence, with a different boldness.

By enrolling in a self-employment program funded by the Canadian Women’s Foundation, I developed the skills to realize my dream of starting a cleaning business.

The economic development programs funded by the Canadian Women’s Foundation provide life-changing opportunities to women who are living on a low income to start their own businesses, learn a skilled trade, or gain work experience.

It started with one financial program and it grew … And because of that program, I’m a business owner now. This generational poverty that has been in my family—it stops here.

Our family’s journey out of poverty is still a journey. But, despite the challenges, we’re in a better place than we used to be.

Watch Nicole tell her story: