Kingston The Community of Choice for Women Business Leaders

Kingston has the distinction of being the No. 1 place in Canada to be a woman.

Kingston has the distinction of being the No. 1 place in Canada to be a woman by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. The survey bases its findings on access to economic security, personal security, education, health, and leadership positions. Other noteworthy distinctions include the No. 1 small city for foreign direct investment by Financial Times UK, and the top place to live in Canada (Money Sense Magazine). Supplied

Rebecca Dinelle always knew that Kingston was the perfect place for her and her husband to build their own environmental consulting business. She grew to know the city well during her time at Queen’s University.

“Those roots eventually pulled me back when we wanted to start our own business,” says the co-cofounder of Environmentall Contracting Services Inc. “There is nowhere else I would want to be managing a business.”

Dinelle is also among many women in the city who are actively involved in supporting other businesses and networking with female professionals.

“I find that women are very eager to support and help each other. It’s a wonderful environment for us to flourish.”

Rebecca Dinelle is among many women in Kingston who are actively involved in supporting other businesses and networking with female professionals. (pic supplied)

The city has the distinction of being the No. 1 place in Canada to be a woman by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. The survey bases its findings on access to economic security, personal security, education, health, and leadership positions.

“This is an impressive accolade that is easily reflected within the entire community,” says Shelley Hirstwood, business development officer, Kingston Economic Development Corporation. “Women currently head up a number of crucial industries and services, such as the Chamber of Commerce, United Way, Kingston Police, City of Kingston, economic development, tourism, school board and Providence Care Hospital, not to mention many owner-operated businesses.”

There are many benefits to operating a business in Kingston — an important one being the chance to work within a more tightly knit and supportive business community, Dinelle says.  “My career has been more successful here because I have a network. Being a big fish in a smaller pond has allowed us to establish stronger relationships.”

Another is the abundance of educational institutions and research facilities, including Queen’s University, St. Lawrence College, and the Royal Military College, where there is plenty of skilled talent to be found. Statistics Canada reports that Kingston has the smartest workforce in Canada with the most PhD graduates

Other noteworthy distinctions include the No. 1 small city for foreign direct investment by Financial Times UK, and the top place to live in Canada (Money Sense Magazine).

Peng-Sang Cau, president and CEO of Transformix Engineering Inc., a developer of automated assembly systems, has been a prominent voice in the Kingston business community for over two decades. “Founding a company here was the best decision I ever made,” she says.

Peng-Sang Cau, president and CEO of Transformix Engineering Inc., says founding a business in Kingston was one of the best decisions she’s ever made. (Pic Supplied)

While she is looked upon by many as a role model for women in business, Cau makes a point of championing the efforts of all entrepreneurs that have established themselves in the city.

The one advantage she will acknowledge for a woman in business is the lifestyle Kingston offers. “The size is perfect for families and professionals. It’s big enough to offer the culture and infrastructure of a larger city, but also has easy access to any location within the city in under 20 minutes so you’re not spending hours of your time on the road.”

The universities and colleges also provide a broad range of highly skilled engineering talent. And because 95 per cent of her company’s business is exports, the proximity to U.S. markets is an extremely important benefit.

“We stay in Kingston not because our customers are here, but because it is central to everything we need. Being strategically located between Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Syracuse has been critical to our success over the years.”

Melissa Eapen and her business partner relocated to Kingston from the Kitchener-Waterloo area to found Improbable Escapes Inc. in 2015. Unlike Dinelle and Cau, she says they had never been to Kingston before.

“All we knew at the time was that Queen’s University was there. But when we visited, we realized it was the perfect place to open our first location.”

Melissa Eapen says Kingston offered a number of key advantages when deciding to start up a business, including affordable real estate in the downtown area and a large and diverse student population. Supplied
Kingston offered a number of key advantages, including affordable real estate in the downtown area and a large and diverse student population. “Students represent a significant customer base for our business, so we mainly looked at cities that had a strong university or college presence. Kingston was ideal because the military college added another level of potential customers.”

They now have two permanent locations within the city. “The small business climate in Kingston has allowed me to make great connections,” Eapen says. “We’ve developed some really great relationships with the Department of National Defense, Parks Canada, St. Lawrence Parks Commission, and several museums.”

Even though they will be looking to set up other locations in other cities, Eapen says, “Kingston will always be our headquarters because it’s such a fantastic and welcoming city.”

Kingston Economic Development Corporation: https://www.kingstonecdev.com

This article is sponsored by Kingston Economic Development Corporation and this story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of the Kingston Economic Development Corporation.

https://nationalpost.com/sponsored/business-sponsored/kingston-the-community-of-choice-for-women-business-leaders

About the Author

This article is sponsored by Kingston Economic Development Corporation and this story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of the Kingston Economic Development Corporation.

https://nationalpost.com/sponsored/business-sponsored/kingston-the-community-of-choice-for-women-business-leaders

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