Originally written by Kevin Flemming for CTV News Calgary in September 2020.
CALGARY — Catherine Bell has spent much of her career among men in boardrooms of corporate Calgary as the only woman.
That fuelled an anger in her to do something about it and that’s how she came up with the Awakened Project.
“It’s about awakening female entrepreneurs to their potential,” said Bell. “It’s about helping women get out of poverty.”
Bell partnered with Shakti Jewelry by Sarah Bowker in Edmonton. Bowker has created an Awakened Project collection where half the profits go to a fund to help women launch their businesses.
“On each piece of jewellery, there’s a little symbol,” said Bell. “The symbol means awakening ourselves, awakening our relationships, awakening our teams, awakening our communities to awaken a better world where everybody feels included and everybody is part of it.”
The other partner in the Awakened Project is Momentum. Jeff Loomis, the executive director of Momentum, says it works with people on low incomes and helps them move forward in their lives with getting better jobs or helping them start their own businesses along with managing and saving their money.
“Most of the entrepreneurs we work with are living on a lower income so they don’t have a lot of capital,” said Loomis. “The idea is we’re trying to ensure that anyone with a good business idea that is passionate about their business idea and has a good business plan that we helped them develop that they can get that capital to get their business going.”
Momentum is providing women with micro-loans to help them turn their entrepreneurial dreams into reality.
Adedoyin Omotara started her small business in 2017 after a training program through Momentum and funds from the Awakened Project. Omotara used the $7,500 loan to set up her incorporation and purchase her opening inventory.
“The idea behind Adoniaa Beauty and me starting a beauty company is really to empower women,” said Omotara. “To help women step into their power, to make women not only look beautiful, but feel beautiful.”
The Awakened Project has raised close to $100,000 for women entrepreneurs with a goal of raising one million dollars.
Adoniaa Beauty business owner Adedoyin Omotara benefited from the Awakening Project.