Winners of the 2018 PayPal Canada Business Makeover Contest
A new mother with safety on her mind, and twin sisters operating their global business out of an Indigenous reserve are the winners of the 2018 PayPal Canada Business Makeover Contest.
 
The contest, now in its second year, saw nearly 5,000 entries from small business owners across the country.
 
The coveted award includes a $15,000 cash prize along with $2,500 in shipping credits from Canada Post.  The winner can also choose between receiving either a front-end or back-end makeover of their ecommerce businesses and a one-year-subscription to either an e-commerce platform or accounting software Xero.
 
Small and medium business owners were invited to tell us how a makeover would make a difference to their business.
 
Maximizing a Makeover: How two businesses are using their contest winnings to make a difference
 
Our panel of judges narrowed it down to two women entrepreneurs whose success has directly resulted in improving the lives of others in their communities. The contest winners will use the prize money and makeover to expand the good work they’re already doing.
 
Dakota and Jesse Brant, co-founders of Sapling & Flint
Winner in Category: New Business Wanting to Grow
 
Dakota and Jesse Brant, twin sisters and co-founders of jewelry manufacturer Sapling & Flint, say thanks to the contest winnings, their business will now be the first jewelry wholesale manufacturer that is completely Indigenous owned and operated on a reserve.
 
 
Twin sisters Dakota and Jesse Brant, founders of Sapling & Flint
 
“We updated our studio and turned it into a manufacturing space. We hire Indigenous employees and artists. We manufacture, package & ship in an Indigenous community. From A to Z, our brand is creating wealth and distributing it back to Indigenous people. The contest winnings are helping bring job opportunities to our community,” said Dakota.
 
The sisters say PayPal has always been the ideal business partner for their company and has been critical in helping them reach their potential as entrepreneurs, particularly as Indigenous women living on a reserve.
 
“PayPal has not only made us successful, but created an economic opportunity that didn't exist before in our isolated community,” Dakota said. “Simply put, we would not exist without the online market. When our customers from Canada, the US and Western Europe visit our website and see the PayPal logo at checkout—they immediately trust that they can shop from us because their purchase and financial details are protected. The recognition of online shopping security that customers have by seeing the PayPal logo is something I simply can't replace.”
 
Hayley Mullins, inventor of Joeyband,
Winner in Category: Established Business Desiring an Update
 
Hayley Mullins invented Joeyband by Sleepbelt™ – a stretchy band that safely secures a baby to an adult during skin-to-skin – after her newborn daughter slipped from her arms.  
 
“Two weeks to the day she was born, my daughter was asleep on my chest when she startled and fell. I can still hear the sound of her hitting the floor,” Mullins said. “We went to ER and came home determined it would never happen again.”
 
The Joeyband marketing team is using the winnings to redesign the product website so that they can continue to expand into the healthcare market and support new parents in understanding how necessary a fall-prevention product is.
 
A clinical study from a leading hospital in the U.S. found that when the Joeyband was used, there was an improvement of 8.2 per cent in exclusive breastfeeding rates, a seven per cent increase in the number of babies breastfed within the first 60 minutes of birth, and zero infant falls during the course of the study.
 
“The Joeyband was previously only available to hospitals and now families can purchase the product on their own,” says Hayley. “The notes we receive from parents are incredible -- the new mom with a baby in the NICU, who couldn’t hold her baby due to pain in her hands, but now can with the Joeyband, or the grandmother who suffered from ALS, and was able to hold and cuddle her newborn grandchild, despite not having use of her arms.  These stories are why we do what we do.”
 
Hayley Mullins, inventor of Joeyband
 
 
PayPal Canada started the Business Makeover Contest as part of our ongoing effort to empower small business owners by helping them optimize their website and checkout process and therefore positioning them for success.
 
PayPal also works with key industry partners to help deliver business solutions. Special thanks to Lise Cote, GM, Consumer and Small Business Marketing, Canada Post; Will Buckley, Director of Canada, Xero and Michel Bergeron, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Public Affairs, Business Development Bank of Canada for their contributions to being judges for the contest.
 
 
 

Jacob Batist, Small Business Lifecycle Marketing Manager

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