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Marie Petigny

Joanna Eaton is the founder and owner of NewbieKnees, a baby knee-pad business based in Toronto. After venturing into the technology sector, equipped with a Bachelor’s Degree in Technology, she decided to take an entirely different route and focus on building her own business venture.  

Her inspiration came from having her first daughter. As a young mother, she put her creativity skills to work in creating a pair of baby kneepads to alleviate her daughter’s sore red knees as she crawled. This was the first prototype of what would become NewbieKnees.

As a single stay-at-home mother, she found difficulty being a strong candidate for business start-up loans. ACCESS provided her with the opportunity to make her business venture a reality and also connected her with a number of networking and business opportunities.

"ACCESS provides not just loans, but also a community of small businesses and people who are willing to help."

Joanna received her first loan in 2011, after connecting with the ACCESS program director at the time. Getting the loan enabled her to start manufacturing her product right away, so she was introduced to an ACCESS mentor to help her with outsourcing and sales. Being new to the business sector, she greatly appreciated this help in building her business.

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In 1999, ACCESS Community Capital Fund began giving micro-loans as ACCESS Riverdale, a community organization that served the Riverdale community in Toronto.
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