2014 marked the 20th anniversary of the Business Development Department of Momentum. To celebrate, we collected 20 stories about past participants who have thriving businesses. Written by Marnie Schaetti of RaiDo Dynamics, these stories reflect the diversity, innovation and hard work of the inspiring participants who come through our doors every year to take one of our many programs.
This is one of those stories.
Entrepreneur Name: Leah Layden
Programs: Self Employment Program, Micro Business Loans
Program Years: 2011, 2012
Business Description: An Alberta heritage bakery.
When Leah Layden’s ancestors moved to Alberta in the late 1800s, they wanted to make a better life for their families. When she opened her business in 2011, Leah’s motivation was the same.
She was working as a legal assistant when her young son’s father took his own life. With that trauma, which came on top of a history of abuse, it took her a long time to get her bearings. After being on long-term disability, she worked for several years as a massage therapist and then returned to legal work. She did very well, loved the work and the people involved with both jobs, but found that neither gave her the lifestyle she needed to be well.
Leah recognized depression returning, and forced herself to think very seriously about her future. When she heard about Momentum’s Self Employment program, she knew it was what she needed.
The program taught her how to transform ideas into plans she could implement. A micro loan allowed her to buy basic equipment, and the program’s long-term coaching helped her through the emotional ups and downs of becoming an entrepreneur. Now, completing the circle, she speaks to graduates about her insights and Momentum buys her baking.
Leah’s bakery truly celebrates her prairie heritage. She would be quick to tell you she is not an artisan baker—she uses the recipes that her grandmothers and mother taught her in their farmhouse kitchens. She is meticulous about using locally sourced flours for the thousands of loaves and sweet treats she bakes every week. She treasures the connections built by having her son and partner work alongside her. She has some big contracts coming in that will allow her to hire another baker and will give her time to work on the non-baking aspects of the business, to offer more of the baking classes she loves and to move toward her ultimate goal of living off the grid.
Learn more about Momentum’s Business Development programs.