Each week, Female CoFounder features a female founder in the community. Follow along each week and learn from different founders and their journeys.
FCF: Tell us about yourself.
Stefany: When I was 10 years old, my parents took a leap of faith and moved us from Venezuela to Canada. I learned resilience and to adapt quickly - from learning a different language, fitting in, to making the most of what life had given me. You could say it is what sparked the entrepreneurial journey I would later embark upon.
Becoming Canadian was an interesting feat but one I conquered with pride. I have become deeply involved within Toronto's entrepreneurial ecosystem through my work with various startups, incubators, and my previous roles with the Ontario government. Through these experiences, I developed a passion for entrepreneurship that has taken me around the world, to develop international social ventures, lead diverse teams, and participate in experiential learning challenges. Soon after graduating from Ted Rogers School of Management, I graduated from MIT's Innovation and Entrepreneurship Bootcamp in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at the top of my class. I also founded numerous social enterprises, however, the project closest to my heart is Green Iglu, the company I began during university that is still my full-time job today. We focus on tackling food insecurity in Canada's most remote communities.
FCF: What is Green Iglu?
Stefany: Green Iglu is a registered Canadian charity whose mission is to offer local food infrastructure, paired with educational programming, to enable remote Canadian communities to grow affordable, nutritious food lowering food insecurity in a sustainable manner. Our vision is to build, grow, and empower a food secure Canada. Currently, our operations expand across nine communities in Nunavut, Manitoba, Ontario, Northwest Territories, and Quebec.
FCF: How did you come up with Green Iglu?
Stefany: My co-founder and I wanted to tackle a problem that was close to both of us, as an immigrant from Venezuela that has seen food insecurity first hand and my co-founder growing up on a farm, we were shocked at the high percentage remote communities across Canada face in regards to food insecurity. We started ideating from there while as students at Ryerson University and the organization took off and skyrocketed since then.
FCF: What were the first 3 steps you took after you knew you wanted to pursue this idea?
Stefany: We ideated solutions, prototyped concepts, and conducted a needs assessment in the Arctic to confirm the problem and the potential adoption of our solution.
FCF: How did you meet your Co-Founder? What do you look for in a Co-Founder?
Stefany: A friend actually set us up to work together thinking we'd be a perfect founder match. Turns out she was right! We ended up having a ton in common from movies, music, to our birthdays which also happen to be Nunavut day. Nunavut is also the territory we launched in!
In a co-founder, I look for someone who balances me out. Someone who dreams big, is resilient, and can hang out for hours without either of us getting bored. Seeing as you end up spending many hours together, that friendship chemistry has to be authentic.
FCF: What advice do you have for other women who have a start-up idea or side project idea?
Stefany: Just start it, today. It doesn't matter what part! A logo, asking for feedback on the idea, setting up a domain... starting small is the best way to get to something big.
FCF: How can the Female CoFounder community help you?
Stefany: I'd love for the community to check out Green Iglu (www.greeniglu.com) and share our mission and impact across their networks! We are always looking for talent to join our team, new sponsors, and for new communities to become Green Iglu partners.
Also, we're going to be adding new products to our offerings and would love to get initial feedback from educators and horticulture enthusiasts (backyard gardens count!) so if you fall into one of those categories, be sure to reach out! I'm over at email@example.com.
FCF: How can people get in touch with you?