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Local businesswoman taking idea to new limits


Allison Rowe was taking great pride in the work ongoing at the first Startup Weekend in Corner Brook this past weekend.

Held at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University, the event for entrepreneurs to help entrepreneurs was hosted by the Grenfell Office of Engagement’s Navigate Entrepreneurship Centre in partnership with Startup Newfoundland and Labrador.

Rowe has been making a career in the not-for-profit industry thus far, but has a business savvy she is exploring through Navigate. She participated in the weekend’s event with plans to observe with hopes of being more actively engaged in the future.

However, she has been sitting on a unique business idea for some time now, and was convinced to pitch it to the group Friday evening. It was eventually selected from the 14 pitches as one of the seven teams worked on throughout the event.

Rowe has a clothing line concept she calls Pride Line.

She says she always had a love of fashion and clothing design, but admits the way the industry is really didn’t sit well with her. Rowe says she never really bought into the materialistic side that excludes the social and interior side of people.

While working with at-risk and homeless youth at the Community Youth Network, she realized just how over-represented the LGBTQ community is within that demographic. With her focus on social enterprise and inclusion, her business sense kicked in.

Pride Line is a gender-inclusive, wear-it-with-pride clothing line for LGBTQ individuals and those who support them. While its design is simple and basic, it is a recognizable brand that shows that support, but also contributes financially to the hiring and training of people at-risk to social barriers.

Rowe was thrilled to see the support for her idea, and excited to be working on it with other entrepreneurs. She can see her vision becoming a reality now.

“I don’t really see it as a clothing line,” she said. “I see it as a movement, as a statement and an advocacy piece to move things forward, and the clothing line.

“It is something I get to have fun with, while doing good and making a difference in people’s lives.”

Will Martin of Cork, Ireland attended the session as a Startup facilitator who spearheaded these events in Ireland, and later mentored and facilitated the events in the United Kingdom and now Canada.

He was happy to see 35 participants attend the first event here, and that they heard 14 business ideas pitched. He said it was a diverse range of ideas — from clean energy to land rejuvenation to interpretive theatre.

While its goal is to have entrepreneurs network and learn to work together to bring a business idea to fruition, according to Martin, these Startup events have been the springboard for some now established businesses in Ireland.

For Ken Carter, the director of the Grenfell Office of Engagement, bringing the business community together to expand the diversity of the local economy is key to the sustainability of western Newfoundland.

“It is critical that we start to build a stronger culture of entrepreneurship in the region,” he said. “This is a step in that direction, getting people excited and enthusiastic about starting a business.”

Held at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University, the event for entrepreneurs to help entrepreneurs was hosted by the Grenfell Office of Engagement’s Navigate Entrepreneurship Centre in partnership with Startup Newfoundland and Labrador.

Rowe has been making a career in the not-for-profit industry thus far, but has a business savvy she is exploring through Navigate. She participated in the weekend’s event with plans to observe with hopes of being more actively engaged in the future.

However, she has been sitting on a unique business idea for some time now, and was convinced to pitch it to the group Friday evening. It was eventually selected from the 14 pitches as one of the seven teams worked on throughout the event.

Rowe has a clothing line concept she calls Pride Line.

She says she always had a love of fashion and clothing design, but admits the way the industry is really didn’t sit well with her. Rowe says she never really bought into the materialistic side that excludes the social and interior side of people.

While working with at-risk and homeless youth at the Community Youth Network, she realized just how over-represented the LGBTQ community is within that demographic. With her focus on social enterprise and inclusion, her business sense kicked in.

Pride Line is a gender-inclusive, wear-it-with-pride clothing line for LGBTQ individuals and those who support them. While its design is simple and basic, it is a recognizable brand that shows that support, but also contributes financially to the hiring and training of people at-risk to social barriers.

Rowe was thrilled to see the support for her idea, and excited to be working on it with other entrepreneurs. She can see her vision becoming a reality now.

“I don’t really see it as a clothing line,” she said. “I see it as a movement, as a statement and an advocacy piece to move things forward, and the clothing line.

“It is something I get to have fun with, while doing good and making a difference in people’s lives.”

Will Martin of Cork, Ireland attended the session as a Startup facilitator who spearheaded these events in Ireland, and later mentored and facilitated the events in the United Kingdom and now Canada.

He was happy to see 35 participants attend the first event here, and that they heard 14 business ideas pitched. He said it was a diverse range of ideas — from clean energy to land rejuvenation to interpretive theatre.

While its goal is to have entrepreneurs network and learn to work together to bring a business idea to fruition, according to Martin, these Startup events have been the springboard for some now established businesses in Ireland.

For Ken Carter, the director of the Grenfell Office of Engagement, bringing the business community together to expand the diversity of the local economy is key to the sustainability of western Newfoundland.

“It is critical that we start to build a stronger culture of entrepreneurship in the region,” he said. “This is a step in that direction, getting people excited and enthusiastic about starting a business.”

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