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Flexibility and losses: 11 per cent of employed women are their own boss


A growing number of women are self-employed, in downtown Fredericton you don't have to go far to find a business operated by a female entrepreneur.

Chess Piece Patisserie, Sweat Club, and Reimagine are all women owned businesses on Queen Street.

"I think that it's a combination of feeling empowered of knowing our worth and our value, and knowing what we can bring to the table,” said Patti Hollenberg, owner of Chess Piece Patisserie.

According to a recent Statistics Canada report, women represent 37 per cent of all Canadians who work independently to operate a business or professional activities or who were unpaid family workers.

"I never grew up wanting to be a business owner it just happened, super naturally and organically,” said Laura Clendenning, the founder of the boutique gym Sweat Club.

That's up an 11 per cent increase from 1976, and four decades later, women are still less likely to be self-employed. But those working for themselves say it's worth the leap.

"Just do as much research on the back end as you can, talk with other business owners in your industry,” said Mallory Lennon, owner of Reimagine Interior Design & Store.

"I would say go for it, make sure it's something you're super passionate about,” said Clendenning.

“Because it is a lonely and tough journey but go for it, you never want to wake up in 10-15 years and say what could have been.”

Laura Clendenning is the founder of Sweat Club in Fredericton. (Alyson Samson/CTV Atlantic)

According to StatsCan In 2022, 11 per cent of employed women were their "own boss,” while 16 per cent of employed men were their “own boss.”

Maritime business women say there are pros and cons to being self-employed.

"I think flexibility being able to make your own schedule,” said Lennon.

“We're open through day time, not evenings, so I can spend time with family through weekends and stuff as well having that flexibility is huge for me.”

Mallory Lennon is the owner of Reimagine Interior Design & Store. (Alyson Samson/CTV Atlantic)

"Everybody likes to think that if you're a business owner it's just win, win, win every day,” said Hollenberg.

“But sometimes there are losses, and you have to take those losses a little bit more on the chin than just your regular employees.”

The report went on to say 80 per cent of self-employed women had no employees in 2022, while 68 per cent of self-employed men had no employees.

"It can be a very lonely journey,” said Clendenning.

“Women are underrepresented in leadership roles, sometimes you don't feel support is always there. With men in majority leadership roles you can get imposter syndrome.”

For these female owned Fredericton businesses it’s important for them to come together and support each other.

"I'd like to think that the tide is changing a little bit,” said Hollenberg.

“But there's still a little bit of a patriarchal ceiling that we have to smash.” Top Stories

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