Helping you start, expand or purchase an early-stage, non-tech business

Jesse Pyne

Jesse Pyne, Purpose Fuel Founder

What is your business?

Purpose Fuel helps older entrepreneurs launch their passion projects through providing services including e-commerce, online presence, multimedia design, consulting, training, and sourcing supplies. We strive to foster meaningful community connections through our clients projects.

Why did you start your business?

My time as a Personal Care Professional inspired Purpose Fuel’s focus on the older Canadian market. The older clients I worked with had a wealth of skills, passion and creativity but struggled with finding activities that provided a sense of purpose. Purpose Fuel addresses this gap through providing an option between working and a listless retirement where older individuals can find purpose through their new businesses or projects.

Tell us about yourself as an entrepreneur.

My entrepreneurial journey began with Salon Tao, a Centretown hair salon which I co-founded that celebrates gender-diversity, empowerment, and freedom from societal expectations. Entrepreneurship allows me, as a trans, neurodiverse and multicultural professional, to create my own opportunities and make my contributions to the world.

When did you launch your business?

Our soft launch was in October 2020 with an official launch coming up in August 2021.

Where do you see your business in 3 to 5 years?

I see Purpose Fuel having a physical presence in many Ontario cities, while marketing our virtual services across Canada. With an expansive network of partnerships spanning a wide range of industries, we will be able to empower our clients and lift their projects to incredible heights.

What did you learn from the Starter Company Plus program?

Before the Starter Company Plus program, as a solopreneur, I saw entrepreneurship as a very solitary way of life, where I had to prove myself and my independence. I have come out of this program understanding how powerful it can be to welcome help, guidance, opportunity and lean into a community.

What advice would you give other entrepreneurs who are starting their businesses?

Don’t take critiques personally and be open to continuous learning and growth. If you don’t have some degree of separation between yourself and your business, you may read a detour sign as ‘dead end’, miss the construction signs on the road of criticism, miss the exit for opportunity and run out of gas on the side of the road.

Also, don’t go it alone!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why did Invest Ottawa choose to support
BIPOC as Starter Company Plus’ 2020 priority?

At Invest Ottawa, we know that diversity, inclusion and belonging are critical success factors for globally competitive organizations and are required to drive sustainable wealth creation and prosperity across our region. As an organization that doesn’t simply accept differences, but celebrates and supports it, we prioritize the creation of an inclusive culture and infuse diversity into our programs, operations and governance. As has been widely identified, racialized people face significant barriers in accessing resources necessary for starting and growing successful businesses. In a 2017 survey on ownership demographics of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in Canada, data shows that only 13.6% of businesses are majority-owned by BIPOC. Of this 13.6%, only 3% of businesses are majority owned by BIPOC women. We at Invest Ottawa have recognized this gap, and as such are delivering Starter Company Plus 2020 to specifically help address the needs of racialized people and help close the equity gap in our local entrepreneurial landscape

What is 2SLGBTQ+?

2SLGBTQ+ is an acronym used to refer to people, as a group, who identify as Two Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Pansexual, Trans, Gender Independent, Queer and Questioning. The plus sign acknowledges the many sexual and gender minority people who don't see themselves in the umbrella acronym and prefer other identity terms such as pansexual, gender-free, or intersex.

Why “womxn”?

The word "womxn" is an alternative term to the English language word "women." We use this term to explicitly include those who identify as women, transgender women, women of colour and non-binary individuals. This choice supports our concerted effort to create a culture of belonging.

This program is made possible through funding from the Government of Ontario.

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