Views / Toronto / Mom and Pop Shops

Why women can have it all ... with a little help from online

In today’s world where women “having it all” is now the topic du jour courtesy of Sheryl Sandberg, author of Lean In, there’s no shortage of advice that can be found online for women curious about navigating their own professional careers or starting their own business.

Leigh Mitchell, founder and president of Women in Biz Network has added her voice to the discussion and is familiar with the challenges women face when marrying business with their personal lives and is hoping to connect and inspire other women across the country. The online company (based in Toronto with offices in Vancouver) has 360 members across Canada and 20,000 subscribers — all women hoping to find success online.

“I definitely feel there is room for improvement. As of 2011, there were almost one million self employed women in Canada and yet when you Google resources for Canadian women  there still isn’t a lot of resources available at the federal level,” she says.

“Western Canada definitely has more assistance than Eastern Canada.”

Her first-hand look at the ups and downs of entrepreneurship in her own family helped her with her own business, which she founded in 2011. “Entrepreneurship is in my blood. I came from a family of entrepreneurs and it was through watching my family go through the highs and lows of entrepreneurship that I decided that my future would eventually lead to helping other entrepreneurs. I saw bankruptcy and losing it all,” she says.

When asked for advice the entrepreneur believes owning your own business is akin to being in a relationship. “Business is like marriage. A huge, long-term commitment that requires a lot of love, patience and hard work to last.” For more information, visit

Who: Leigh Mitchell, president and founder of the Women in Biz Network

What: Digital network that offers support and services to women-run businesses, entrepreneurs and members

Where: Based in Toronto with offices in Vancouver

Advice: “Be very careful in your decision to take on a business partner. Again it is like being married — not only to your business but also to your business partner. Date before you get married,” says Leigh Mitchell

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