Annual Report Stories

Dr. Linda Miller – Gaining Access to New Markets

Linda established EWI Works in 1991, a company that provides innovative ergonomic services and solutions to businesses locally, nationally, and internationally. She was a finalist for the 2016 AWE Upsurge Award.

In 1991, Linda established EWI Works, a company that provides ergonomic services and solutions to businesses. After 25 years in business, the team had become experts in their field, but Linda realized that gaining access to markets beyond Alberta’s borders would require new approaches through technology to extend the company’s reach. The decision to invest in innovation created a big shift in the business. Linda notes, “we really know our service business and yet, we’re like a start-up in the software realm.”

In 2015, Linda took part in AWE’s PeerSpark™ program. “We were now with a group that could support us in a logical pathway to make these decisions to change a business stream,” she said. “It felt like, to be absolutely honest, a safe place. We were able to actually talk about some of the concerns we had without feeling like somebody was going to judge us.” With AWE’s support, Linda and her team will be able to expand her business into the United States and beyond. To support this expansion, Linda secured a loan through AWE, which helped her business growth immensely. “I didn’t realize all the available financing options,” she said. “I think it’s quite common for female entrepreneurs to self-fund. I would do lots and lots of jobs, save up the money, and then self-fund the next step.” In addition to AWE financing, AWE’s team introduced Linda to other financial resources to support her efforts to build a market for the company’s new technology.

Continuous learning and adapting to new challenges are not new to Linda. She began the business with an Occupational Therapy degree and in order to better understand how products were developed she completed her Master’s in Environmental Design followed by a Ph.D. in Occupational Therapy from Boston University. Her curiosity and adaptability are two of her biggest strengths as a leader.

Her visionary approach to growing her business was captured in her selection as a finalist for the 2016 AWE Upsurge Award. “If there’s a new technology or a new way of doing something, I’m not scared to go out and try it.” Linda said. An example of this is seen in Linda’s interest in expanding EWI Works into the United States after twenty-five years inside Alberta’s borders.

“I went on a trade mission with AWE last year to understand the market and how people do business in the U.S.,” she said. “We’re going to want to penetrate into Europe and Australia down the road as well.” The team at AWE has the utmost confidence that Linda and her team at EWI Works will quickly become experts in their new field. 

Michelle Hordal- Support To Step Into Uncomfortable Territory

Michelle Hordal- Support To Step Into Uncomfortable Territory

Michelle is the founder and Executive Director of Alberta AdaptAbilities Association, a registered charity providing special needs children and young adults with a variety of quality programs that target the development of the whole individual, while providing peace of mind to the families in the stress of everyday challenges. Michelle is an alumnus of the PeerSpark™ program.

Meghan Dear – Making the Most of International Expansion Opportunities

Meghan Dear – Making the Most of International Expansion Opportunities

Meghan is the founder and CEO of Localize, an awareness platform to educate shoppers about where their food comes from. She leads the vision to build a service that shares better food information at the shelf’s edge, so consumers can finally shop in peace with the right information at hand. Meghan was the 2016 AWE Emerging Innovator Award recipient.