New St. Stephen group supporting small businesses launches Tuesday

angry snack woman Entrepreneurship isn't for faint of heart — and in a small, economically depressed town like St. Stephen, starting a new business can seem impossibly risky. A group called Startup St. Stephen is aiming to remove some of those fears. The group was founded by Abby Pond, who founded her business, Queen of Cups Lingerie Inc., in May 2016. As Pond was trying to fill a gap she saw in the market for individually-tailored bras, she said, she often didn't know where to direct her questions. "I felt a little bit overwhelmed by the number of resources, steps, and things that needed to be done," Pond said. "Sometimes you just need a listening ear from someone who's been there — who you can ask questions without feeling like a complete idiot."

Tailored to small towns

She started following Startup Canada on Twitter and Facebook, she said, and admired the organization's work bringing together entrepreneurs in other urban centres. Every month, Startup Canada organizes a conference call for small business owners across the country to talk and ask questions. It also organizes Startup Day on the Hill, said Pond, during which business owners have the opportunity to meet with politicians and investors.
St Stephen

The group's first goal is to listen to entrepreneurs and create an ecosystem where they can 'connect, collaborate, communicate and celebrate each other’s stories,' said founder Abby Pond. (Wikipedia)

"They bring entrepreneurs' concerns and cares right to the decision-makers, which is a pretty powerful thing," Pond said. "But I didn't think that St. Stephen qualified to be part of the larger network, so I never pursued it." Then, Pond said the organization let her know about a program targeted specifically toward communities with under 5,000 people.

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