Media Release

WE-CAN Project at Queen’s University and Kingston Economic Development Corporation Announce First LEAD Program Cohort for Women Entrepreneurs

From Queen’s University 

Queen’s University and Kingston Economic Development Corporation announces the names of the 21 women-led businesses that will make up the first cohort of the LEAD program. 


News release 
(September 1, 2020) Today, Queen’s University and Kingston Economic Development Corporation announced the names of the 21 women-led businesses that will make up the first cohort of the LEAD program. 

The 14-week LEAD program is  part of the WE-CAN Project at Queen’s University, supported with over $3-million in funding from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES). The program will be delivered by Kingston Economic Development Corporation and led by Judith Pineault, retired CEO of Eastern Power Fluid Inc. in Kingston. 

Designed to engage C-suite women executives and women in senior leadership positions within the Kingston Region, the program will encourage business growth and development through expertise and shared experience. The goal is to create a network of creative, professional women focused on improving opportunities for women in business through networking, new connections, educational workshops, and most importantly promote the advancement and success of women-led businesses.



“Queen’s is delighted to see the enthusiastic response to and diverse enrollment in the LEAD program. LEAD has attracted women entrepreneurs from Kingston and several neighbouring rural communities who are leading sole proprietorships as well as those who are leading large companies. Participating companies include startups and established ventures representing many different sectors including technology, engineering, architecture, health and wellness, education, consulting, retail, marketing, lifestyle and hospitality.” Janice Mady, Director, Research and Innovation Partnerships, Queen’s University

“Supporting women entrepreneurs and business leaders is ever more important as we adapt and rebuild our economy. The Kingston Economic Development Corporation is proud to be a part of the WE-CAN LEAD program, helping to advance gender equality and women's participation in Kingston’s economy. The goal is to create a network of creative, professional women focused on improving opportunities for women in business through networking, new connections, educational workshops, but most importantly, setting the agenda to raise the bar.” Donna Gillespie, Chief Executive Officer, Kingston Economic Development Corporation 

“The WE-CAN LEAD program is designed by women entrepreneurs and leaders for women entrepreneurs and leaders: a forum where like-minded women can network, share asks and gives and access educational and funding programs. More importantly, the program provides an opportunity to develop ideas that can transform the business community into the ultimate success eco-system for women in business.  Let’s all make a difference together!” Judith Pineault, Executive Mentor & Entrepreneur 

“We know women-led businesses have been hit hard by the pandemic. We also know that women are vital to the success of our society and our economy and that they have the strength and ability to pivot their businesses in response. We are proud to support projects such as the WE-CAN initiative at Queen’s University through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, which is working to create a strong network of women business leaders in the region. Congratulations to this cohort of local businesses. I look forward to learning of your continued success!”  The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

Participating companies:  

ACE Nutrition (Kingston) - provides tailor-made nutrition plans for weight loss and therapeutic needs.

Bark’n up the Green Tree (Kingston)- creates environmentally friendly collars, leashes and other products for pets and their humans from sustainable and up-cycled textiles.

Benefits by Design (BBD) Inc. (Kingston) – provides employee benefit plans to small- and medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) across Canada.

Chewmarks (Kingston) - meets the branding needs of tenacious entrepreneurs who need clarity and direction in their business.

Cold Plasma Group (Kingston) – developing and commercializing a new, patent-pending process for the sterilization of dry cannabis based on the use of cold plasma treatments.

Diamond Fitness Mixed Martial Arts (Napanee) – provides martial arts and fitness to local families in a safe environment where they can develop skills to last a lifetime.

Emporium Marketing Consultants (Mallorytown) – coaches and consults small business owners to develop a marketing system that brings them more clients, more sales and more confidence.

ESG Solutions (Kingston) – develops and markets micro-seismic and related solutions for mining and energy industries.

Evolution Group (Gananoque) - provides executive coaching and training to support leaders and teams to build winning organizations. 

Handy Fairies (Amherst Island) - provides comprehensive, high-quality and reliable cleaning solutions in the Kingston region. 

Haymaker’s Coffee Co. (Wolfe Island) - roasts single origin, microlot coffee in their barn on Wolfe Island.

Health for All (Kingston) – provides health education to newcomers to Canada allowing them to better integrate into the community.

House of Three (Inverary) - provides a full range of architectural design services for custom homes, small commercial buildings, tenant fit-ups and renovations.

Costron + Co. (Kingston) – provides one-on-one coaching, workshops and Sistermind groups to help women fan the flames and connect their purpose with their cash flow.

Popped Closet Organizing (Kingston) – helps busy women transform their homes by creating organizing systems that are easy to maintain.

The Power Collective (Kingston) - designs, develops, and manufactures renewable energy solutions, including the RidgeBlade Wind Turbine, an innovative, unique, affordable, simple and effective way of harnessing the wind's power to produce electricity. 

Skipper’s Take-out and Catering (Kingston) - provides food services for takeout, delivery and catering.

Spirit Medicine (Kingston) – facilitates yoga and meditation, movement and expressive arts through a somatic, sensorimotor and trauma-informed lens, to integrate the mind-body connection.

Stone City Digital Inc. (Kingston) – partners with client to help them thrive in a digital space, leading with digital marketing and often leading into a total digital transformation including modernizing their business processes, systematizing their sales processes and introducing the right tools at the right time.

Travel Health Experts (Kingston) – provides a range of travel health clinic services, including an advice hotline, travel health planning, online educational resources, mobile vaccination services and more.

Vimy Officer’s Mess (Kingston) – provides messing, bar and recreational facilities to over 350 officers stationed at various units of CFB Kingston, as well as hosting weddings and conferences for the general public.



Kingston Economic Development Corporation
Queen’s University Partnerships and Innovation
FedDev Ontario

Social: Follow the WE-CAN Project at @WECANQueensU on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn. 


Anne Craig, Media Relations Officer
Queen’s University
[email protected] 

Nour Mazloum, Communications & Events Officer
Kingston Economic Development Corporation
[email protected]