When you think of entrepreneurs, what comes to mind? Perhaps someone with a lot of passion? Someone with great ideas? Someone with a strong work ethic? By all accounts, these are very accurate. What comes to mind first for us is someone who creates opportunities. This is the pivotal connection between entrepreneurship and poverty.

Creating opportunities is a key component to breaking the cycle of poverty for children and families.

Whether that is a Canadian entrepreneur making a way to raise funds to support a special project, or caregivers around the world starting their own businesses to generate income and provide jobs for others in their community, the impact of entrepreneurship is impossible to ignore.

Entrepreneurship is a key element to many of our Gifts of Compassion. This is because it’s becoming more essential to combine job skills and education opportunities with entrepreneurial training, so youth and caregivers are equipped to create their own work. Not only does this give the best outcomes for youth and caregivers, but it also has a ripple effect in their communities as they can provide work for others.

Come meet six entrepreneurs who are breaking the cycle of poverty and inspiring us!



Arnold stands in a shop with colourful hanging clothes surrounding him.

Arnold stands in his clothing shop.

Arnold has always been a big dreamer. When he was younger, he told his grandmother that he wanted to build homes. But as he got older, he began exploring his unique gifts and talents at his Compassion centre.

Seeing Arnold’s passion, the Compassion staff encouraged him to join their entrepreneurship classes. With each lesson, his confidence grew, and he began to see the world through the lens of possibility.

With determination and a mere 11 dollars from his grandmother, Arnold embarked on his entrepreneurial journey. He noticed that the people in his community had to travel quite a distance to buy new clothes, so starting with just ten t-shirts, he poured his passion into his small business of selling clothes.

Inspired by his entrepreneurship training and the encouragement of his Compassion centre and grandmother, Arnold expanded his offerings, adding sweaters, pants and even a barbershop to his stall (another skill he learned at his Compassion centre!). Arnold’s business grew to support him and brought another dream to life: he was able to build his very own home—a testament to the boundless possibilities that entrepreneurship can bring.

Elias, Eowyn and Aerial

Vancouver, B.C.

Three siblings sit together at a table with their bookmark product infront of them on the table.

Stuck at home during the pandemic, the creative trio of Elias (14), Eowyn (12) and Aerial (11) from Vancouver found themselves unable to pursue their usual adventures. Determined to beat the boredom, Eowyn picked up her favourite book and found the emotional bookmark prototype she had drawn tucked inside: a bookmark with various emotions to help her reflect on and label how she is feeling at a given time This sparked an idea in their father, Eric. Together, they conceived a new family business: Emotional Bookmarks.

These bookmarks, adorned with hand-drawn emojis expressing various emotions helping others name their feelings, became a hit.

As orders poured in, the family found themselves not only engaging in their passion for creativity, but also giving back. A portion of the profits from each bookmark went towards Compassion’s COVID-19 relief efforts for children in poverty. From lemonade stands to bookmarks, their journey exemplifies how innovation, hard work and a desire to help others can transform challenges into opportunities.



Boy in a turquiouse shirt and woman in a blue and white shirt pose at a table showing handmade jewelry to the camera.

Patricia, a mother in Cartagena, Colombia, initially overlooked the hidden potential of recycling until her son, Jose, was registered with the local Compassion centre. Recognizing the opportunity for caregivers to create income streams, the centre orchestrated an entrepreneurial workshop, teaching mothers to make beautiful jewelry from recycled materials. Patricia eagerly signed up and swiftly mastered the craft. She even went on to teach her skills to other community members.

With newfound entrepreneurial zeal, Patricia’s recycled jewelry enterprise flourished. Now, Patricia plans to extend her expertise to children at the Compassion centre, emphasizing the twin values of environmental stewardship and economic self-sufficiency.

Through entrepreneurship training and a commitment to sustainability, Patricia’s story underscores how being empowered to create opportunities for her family and community can open doors to a future free from poverty.

Aimee Augustine

Grimsby, ON

A portrait of Aimee in an office boardroom. She is standing, wearing a black blazer and has her arms crossed.

Aimee at the Augustine Team’s office in Grimsby, Ontario.

After having her fifth daughter, Aimee Augustine seized an unexpected opportunity to go into real estate alongside her husband Steve. Together, they founded The Augustine Team and have found great joy in using it to put other people first—clients, employees, partners and those in their community.

Aimee’s transition into real estate showcased her ability to create opportunities amidst uncertainty. The Augustine Team’s commitment to charitable giving, woven into the fabric of their business, reflects Aimee’s values-driven approach to entrepreneurship.

By leveraging the company’s success to support causes like Compassion Canada and the Sarah Tapley Foundation, Aimee exemplifies how business ventures can not only thrive but also serve as vehicles for positive change in the lives of those in our local and global neighbourhoods.

We are inspired by the entrepreneurs who are using their skills to create opportunities for others to thrive. Whether it’s an entrepreneur looking for ways to give back, or someone who wants to empower a family in poverty with practical skills to change their story, we have seen that entrepreneurship is part of a future free from poverty.

The impact of entrepreneurship is impossible to ignore.

Let’s break the cycle of poverty together.

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Rebekah Malbrecht

Rebekah Malbrecht

Rebekah Malbrecht is a Content Specialist at Compassion Canada. She loves to wrestle with words, shape stories and document happiness. You're bound to find her where there are books, people and birthday cake.