Every successful business owner started somewhere.
For Moyna Matheson, the owner of Samuel’s Coffee House in Summerside, it took tenacity to face the challenges head on, including passion and hard work to start and run a healthy business.
However, access to resources, knowledge and support were a crucial first step.
“A lot of people ask me, ‘do you become an entrepreneur or are you born that way?’ But I can’t think of a time in my life where I didn’t have that feeling of running my own business. However, I never took the reins until I was 40,” said Matheson, who built a thriving and fulfilling business in 2011.
She said her inspiration came from her grandmother – a strong and empowering woman.
“My grandfather passed before I was born, so I knew my grandmother as this independent and resilient woman. She ran the Clifton Hotel at the intersection of Water, Queen and Central streets. It wasn’t until I was in my late-30s and 40s that I realized this strong woman was not the norm at the time."
Matheson said her grandfather owned several businesses.
"But, like many people at that time, there were strong women behind them. My grandmother was never called Helen, she was ‘Mrs. Dalton,’ and that was the way things were back then," she said. "It’s heartwarming for me to be known in my business by my first name.”
To mark International Women’s Day, Matheson announced on March 8 through her business social media page the launch of the Brewing for Better Balance fund.
“It’s celebrating women, but really it’s a celebration for all because a balanced world is a better world,” she said. “We will grant $500 to a woman wanting to start a business.”
Matheson acknowledged over the years many individuals approached her with questions on how to run a business, but she was too busy behind the counter or cooking in the kitchen to explain in depth.
“I often wonder what happened to their idea and why they didn’t start,” she said. “It made me think about the several organizations on the Island that can offer assistance, and they are wonderful. Although, spending time with a business owner and hearing their advice can help with the right path.”
Matheson, who hopes to see a better balance in business and equal opportunities, said the fund has already quadrupled since she made the announcement.
“We have yet to decide if we will honour one candidate through the application process with these funds or if we will have enough to help out two,” said Matheson. “But I would love to see those empty buildings in downtown filled, and when it comes to business ventures, I’m completely open to ideas.”
In addition to financial resources, Matheson has aligned with business owners to offer mentorship to the successful candidate(s).
Bev Blanchard, the manager at Samuel’s Coffee House, said she believes small businesses are the heart of communities.
“The entrepreneurs who start these businesses are very passionate about what they do, and by supporting them, we are helping our communities thrive and grow,” Blanchard said.