Introducing: Toni Desrosiers from Abeego, SheEO Activator and Venture

September 20, 2018

“There is a vast amount of talent within the network, if you use it.”

– Toni Desrosiers, Abeego

 

Toni Desrosiers, Founder and CEO of Abeego Designs Inc., is both a Venture and an Activator in the SheEO network. Abeego Designs creates a beeswax wrap. This invention eliminates the need for plastic wrap, is an all natural, sustainable and zero waste product.

Part of the original 2015 Cohort, Toni returned to her native British Columbia following her experience at the Venture retreat and inaugural SheEO Summit, which immediately led her to become an Activator.

“The experience – the venture retreat, how they prepared us for dividing up the money, and offering the support and the network – it was such a well crafted experience that at the end of it, I wanted to support the next Venture,” she recalls. “It’s a line item in my budget now.”

Toni not only wholeheartedly believes in SheEO’s vision; she wants to be someone who is “In” from the beginning to make it happen. “I believe we can get a $1 B fund. We are witnessing a powerful shift. I want to support it all the way through.”

As an Activator, Toni finds particular value in being a member of the SheEO network.

 

“The SheEO network is a confidence builder. In traditional networks, you often don’t get past other people’s wins, or heroic things, past the surface of what it means to be an entrepreneur. In the SheEO network, there are just more people to reach out to and you get introductions very easily… because I have a commitment to SheEO, if someone reaches out to me from SheEO, I respond. I am part of this organization and I care about its success. If someone reaches out to me from SheEO, I’ll always do it. And I know it’s the same for me.”

In fact, she has the story to prove it. When Toni asked the network for help with negotiating a lease, four hours later, thanks to another Activator in the network, she found herself on the phone with a broker who had plenty of experience and who assisted her in conversations with the lawyer and broker she was working with.

“There is a vast amount of talent within the network, if you use it.”

Toni making an apperance on Dragon’s Den

Toni, who invented Abeego beeswax wrap, is an innovator at heart. She has always had an entrepreneurial bent, even during her childhood when she ran multiple businesses. Ironically, there was time when she found the day-to-day world of running a business squashed her innovative side. “You just don’t have the time to execute on the new and growing ideas,” she explains. Working with SheEO Development Guide MJ Ryan helped her not only rediscover and value that side of herself, she also learned how to put systems in place to better support the day-to-day operations. “Through SheEO I figured out who I am. I’ve learned that I’m an innovative thinker.

SheEO has also helped give Toni boldness and greater confidence in herself and her product.  “By virtue of winning, it means a good percentage of [the Activators who vote] are interested. It is a little like market research. Just by being selected by 500 women gives you confidence.”

Like many women entrepreneurs, Toni has been exposed to bias against women. “I’ve been in a number of industries where women experience not being taken seriously, people commenting, ‘How can you do this when you’re going to have children?’, all those things us women face in business. What I love about SheEO is that it’s not about always fighting for our rights. There is no more fighting. We realize we’re really smart. We realize we’re really innovative. Now we’re just doing it ourselves. To me it just feels like a no-brainer.”

Toni is currently one of the 2018 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Finalists, up for the TELUS Trailblazer Award for Abeego.

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