Informal professionals


Brazilian small businesspeople stand out in the community.

The Brazilian Kitty Salvador came to Canada with her whole family. She makes cakes and sweets that her husband delivers

By Marta Almeida | Translated by Loretta Murphy

The entrepreneurship of Brazilian is well-known, and Brazilian women are increasingly standing out in this area. A recent survey by EY (formerly Ernst & Young ) revealed that among the 20 largest economies, Brazil simply has the highest rate of female entrepreneurship. Female entrepreneurs represent 14 % of the working age population ( 18-64 years). Research shows that Brazilian women consider entrepreneurship as a career option. And though the study was conducted in Brazil, in Toronto it is easy to see these numbers reflected in the Brazilian community. Just take a look at the ads, classifieds and social networks. Women are the heads of many microenterprises. And if the focus used to be cleaning houses or offices, today there are initiatives in various segments.

From stress in the skies to sweet discoveries
The southerner Kitty Salvador worked as a flight attendant in Brazil and had no time for family. When she decided to immigrate to Canada with her husband, also a flight attendant, and their two sons, she also decided to work at home, specifically in the kitchen. Kitty is a cake designer and has gradually earned her place in the Brazilian community in Toronto. She has taken specialized courses here in Canada and is considering investing more in her business. ” I want to get out of my house, have a larger space and thoroughly study a combination of food items in order to offer a more personalized service. I’m working with traditional products, cakes, cupcakes, and other baked goods, and I intend to evolve all this into gourmet baking.  I want to offer a differentiated service. ”

A cure for homesickness
Also in the area of food, another busy professional that stands out in the community is Sandra Teixeira, from Minas Gerais. She came to Canada in 1995 and took advantage of her sales experience in Brazil to start up a successful business that produces sweet and savoury food items for parties. “Our products are rigorously selected, focusing on quality and hygiene,” Sandra says proudly. She is planning to create a line of frozen foods and is moving to a new headquarters. “I love what I do, I have new customers every day, and with that comes great friendship and respect for them. Our motto is to serve them and also to make their mouths water,” she concludes, referring to the company’s name, which has been in the market for 10 years.

Salons required

Another area for many Brazilian female entrepreneurs is hairstyling. Many professionals are working in Brazilian, Portuguese and even Canadian salons. Maria Antunes has worked in several of them in Toronto, but it was time for her to go solo.  This Paulista from Botucatu had graduated with degrees in Administration and Journalism and she was still in Brazil when she decided to go into  this profession. “I had just separated and had been living in the Northeast, then I returned to São Paulo. As I was unable to find a job, I decided to study at SENAC. I liked the program, did other modules and opened a salon in my town,” recalls Maria. She came to Canada because of her second marriage. As soon as she got her work permit, Maria took more courses and set up a salon in the basement of her home. It started with a few pieces of equipment and limited space. Today, she has a larger structure, a full schedule and she has plans to work with other professionals to handle the demand.

Promoting beauty

Another area that attracts entrepreneurs is the resale of beauty products. Becoming a Sales Promoter has been a promising option for many women, such as Jaqueline Marckiewicz, from Minas Gerais. In Canada for 26 years, Jaqueline is also a dental technician. With personal sales, she found a way to increase her income with flexible hours. ” The products I sell are of high quality, with all natural ingredients, and this is an advantage for those who want to look pretty and who care about health too, getting away from chemicals that can cause serious problems,” she explains. Be it with products or services, the opportunities abound, and the Brazilian women in Toronto are not wasting time!