April 2014


Just who and what are angel investors?

by Jacoline Loewen

If you are feeling down about your business fortunes, keep in mind Cirque du Soleil, Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the World. Not bad for a former street performer, Guy Laliberté, who walked on stilts across Quebec asking for money to get his business going. Guess what – people gave him cash.

If you want to grow your business, keep Guy in mind and watch those entrepreneurs who have the guts to go on Dragons’ Den. They made the decision to get a professional financial partner, even though they may just as well get a bull’s eye painted on their butts for Kevin O’Leary to kick.
But this is the risk: reward – payoff or humiliation of life as an entrepreneur.

Besides the Dragons, who are the Angels? Angel Investors come from a wide variety of backgrounds and careers. They love business and want to share this passion for information technology, manufacturing, alternative energy, finance, services areas, etc. Angels will bring $250,000 to $500,000 in capital, their skills, and the sheer joy of helping your company. In addition, at the early stages, so much of business is who you know and angels can introduce you to their large networks, getting you in front of the right people to grow your business.

Angels will assume financial risk that would send your average banker screaming for cover. At the toughest time of the business, angels usually get involved, often before there are even a few clients. The money at this stage is unsecured, which means there is no building to claim. The angel is lucky if there is anything to recoup.

There is also no registered claim on assets, which leaves the assets unencumbered in case the owner needs to get debt from the bank. In other words, your company has a positive bank balance and no debt owed because the angel is part owner of the business putting in capital. The more equity you have, the higher your ability to get loans – banks are comforted that you have $500,000 in the company and will lend you more.

Angel investors: Who are they?

Family Members
The first angel or individual willing to invest is probably your mother or other family member. Your parents may give you the money as they think, “This will be good for our boy, Billy.” But Jane Austen said, “Business, you know, may bring money, but friendship hardly ever does.” I’m with Jane; it’s better to get a professional partner.

Corporate Angels
This category of investor probably sold their business to Telus and now have money to burn. The one thing to know about these angels is that they are not ready to retire. Some corporate angels may be thinking about how to get your business sold off to the first interested company, making them risky. At first, they seem like a saviour, but morph into Agent Smith in dark glasses, shoving you down a Matrix highway. Google their past company investments. Are the companies still around? Are the founders happy?

The Retired Executive Angels    
They love the challenge of business and are an old war horse – give him a whiff of the battle of getting a business up and running: it stirs up his blood to get back in the game but without the day-to-day responsibility.

The Old Money Angels
There are wealthy families looking to fund companies. They sometimes give away money to achieve something philanthropic at the same time. They support pet interests. Social Capital – run by Bill Young, a family member of the founder of Red Hat – funded the start-up company called Evergreen that focused on hiring at-risk youths and supporting the development of the new Toronto neighbourhood called Brickworks. If you are doing something green or improving the world, then these funds may help.

There are the less obvious angels all around your business right now. Look up and down your business chain and talk to suppliers and customers and see how you can optimize your cash flows. You can delay payments (with suppliers knowing or not) using them as your float.


Here are 12 examples of white people twerking on Vine

Maybe because Miley twerked at the VMAs and drew the ire of every true twerker out there, or perhaps just because it is Friday and we ran out of real things to write about sometime on Wednesday, here is a compilation of 12 Vines featuring white folks trying to get ratchet and failing pretty miserably in most cases.

1. Dorm room twerk team.

That girl isn’t even in heels. Someone get a drag queen in there to show them how to do a wall mount ASAP.


2. Barn yard twerk team.

Square dances sure have changed since our days in the 4H club.

3. Outside, barefoot, at night twerk team

The crickets in the backyard are laying down a sick beat, better twerk it.

4.Princess bedroom twerk team

“Move the stuffed animals over, let’s practice twerking!”

5. Maroon 5 solo twerk

While I’m not sure what constitutes appropriate music for twerking, I’m pretty sure Maroon 5 is not it.

6. Twerkin’ Grandma

Where ‘being hip’ and ‘needing a hip replacement’ intersect.

7. Twerking white boy

He’s actually not doing so bad. Not bad at all. Keep twerkin’ white boy.

8. White boy twerk team.

Damn, the white boys on Vine have this down. Twerking in basketball shorts works for my eyes.

9. School yard mega twerk team (twerkquake)

Rememeber when kids played hopscotch?

10. Gas pedal twerk duo

If this gym class has a unit on twerking I at least hope it comes after the sex ed unit.

11. Twerk trio drop

No! You’re gonna leave footprints on the wall! Your father *just* refinished this basement!

12. Basement twerk gang featuring Urkel

Once more the boys outshone the girls, but outshining the boys was Urkel, and outshining Urkel was the giant shining floodlight in this serial killer cellar.




Check out:

18 Vines from the #StormTO Toronto flood

18 signs you are 25 in Toronto



Follow Travis on Twitter at @TravMyers.

Women of the week: Diana Dickson

For Diana Dickson the itch to keep looking onwards and upwards may have been planted early on. Born to European parents in Toronto her childhood was rife with trips abroad, making Dickson a self-described Europhile from the start. Perhaps her bold career viewpoints are stemmed from her exposure to the world at such a young age — or perhaps Dickson’s natural ambition, intelligence, and attitude comprise the lynchpin to her success.

The owner of the staging, design, and decorating firm Diana Dickson Design in Toronto, Ontario. “My knowledge base in visual arts, art direction, and design combined with a practical, innovative working style offers a proven method for transforming problem properties into highly desirable ones.”

Art, design, innovation — three key ingredients in this recipe for success. And, of course, one other: Dickson herself.

“I am artsy, intuitive and gutsy,” says Dickson when asked what three words could describe herself and her career. “I often venture where angels fear to tread because basically I’m adventurous and trust myself.”

With her heart drawn to art and music from an early age and a passion that has never waned it is little wonder that she has been married to a professional photographer for 24 years. The couple has two children, a son who is 23 and a daughter who is 21.

For Dickson, like many women, starting a family and raising her children didn’t come without its own share of career choices. “I think women are still faced with the struggle of juggling family life and their career aspirations. I left a great job in advertising to raise my kids because at that point in my life my kids were the most important thing to me and I really wanted to focus on them. I was adopted myself, and an only child, so it was very important for me to do the family thing above all else.”

The decision to take time to start a family didn’t come without a price, however. “I knew I would have to change gears and forge a new career for myself that could combine my talents with my need to be flexible and available for my kids,” she says, a move which has made Dickson dynamic and focused.

“That wasn’t easy,” she explains. “But it started with freelance work as a garden designer and eventually came to include the whole domestic sphere, indoors and out.”

Her womanhood — and motherhood — may have made influenced her career path, but at the same time her perspective as a woman in business has given her a more unique outlook. “I do think that my perspective as a woman has guided me in my career,” she explains. “I believe in the importance of the softer side of life and of beauty and order in one’s surroundings.” Softness, beauty, and order have long been in the female sphere of influence, says Dickson, who draws from these concepts regularly in her design and home setting work.

“There’s also a nurturing quality to what I do. I listen to what people need and want, and I try to deliver because I want to see them happy. I love transforming things for the better. But I really take the time to understand my clients.”

“The yin-yang thing really works for me,” says Dickson, but don’t think she’s afraid of shouting out in the name of girl power. “I’m not afraid of pumping up the feminine energy because the world really needs it.”

Her nurturing quality also seems to extend to her chosen projects. “At the moment, I’m focusing on projects that turn dysfunctional spaces into ones that work,” says Dickson. “Simplifying complexity.”

But for a woman as involved as Dickson there is always something to do. Currently working on a series of paintings centered around bromeliad flowers in her free time, she also serves as Chair on the board of the non-profit Gallery 1313 art gallery in Toronto’s west end that focuses on new and emerging art. “I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting work!”

For Diana Dickson though, the art is always behind everything she does. “I’m moving more towards the concept of art and how it can transform one’s surroundings.”

In the painting of Diana’s life there are still many more brushstrokes to come.

Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.


Ami McKay: the Birth House

By Karolina Bialkowska

This past week, CBC’s Canada Reads hit Toronto with heated debates, namely: Which book should be crowned the must-read of the decade?

Ami McKay’s The Birth Housemade it to the final showdown. Although McKay’s work was not bestowed the coveted title, the author’s first novel has been a resounding success across the country.

The Birth House embodies a plethora of contemporary themes. While the central focus is midwifery, the influx of technology to the East coast that changed community dynamics and women’s positions in new Canadian society are also brought to focus.

Recently, I had the privilege of speaking with McKay – a first-time novelist, new Canadian, and mother of two small children – and she surpassed all my expectations. She’s definitely no stodgy, haughty, literary superstar.

McKay moved with her husband to Canada’s East coast from Chicago. Living in a small community with the local history indicative of small-town Canadiana, she found herself being greeted with open arms and good ol’ Canadian hospitality. Her new home held within its wooden heart a bevy of cultural anecdotes and its own seductive past. Inspiration was borne upon coastal winds. What was it exactly for McKay? “The house, the area, the people, the community itself. Getting to know my neighbours; hearing the stories that came out of the people that had live there all of their lives.”

What Ami McKay has accomplished is near unimaginable. With a penchant for the written word, she wrote almost exclusively for herself as a way of making sense of the world around her. Eventually, her husband, the lucky man that he is, was privy to this internal world and encouraged her to start writing for the public.

The Birth House has been a critical and popular success. When asked her thoughts on the novel’s success, McKay provides a surprising answer: “Women’s circles…women in their kitchens, groups of friends, they just loved it and it went flying off the shelves. [It spoke to] women supporting women and really connecting with the story.”

And she credits Canada in her success, too. Musing about the differences between Canada and the US, she reveals, “In Canada it feels a little bit more like you can make your way. Not that it’s any easier, but it feels easier. You have community, friends, neighbours, everyone’s supporting you in your dreams and wishing you the best. They’re there to help and cheer you on.”

I couldn’t agree more. The Canadian ideology is much less individualistic than that of our American counterpart. For those Torontonians who don’t agree, I encourage you to spend a week in a small-town community and learn about Canada away from Bay Street.

For anyone interested in the foundations of our great country, Ami McKay’s The Birth House will leave you mentally and emotionally fulfilled, and transformed.

How to help your house sell

By Jelena Djurkic

We’ve all seen television shows on selling your house. We’ve watched wary couples re-paint and renovate their homes in a bid to get them sold. Not to mention the shows on people flipping homes for profit. But reality shows aren’t always reality. If you’re in the market to sell, what are some easy steps you can take to maximize your house’s showings and minimize the time it spends on the market? In our Agent Moms five-part series, I take a look at five questions every mom should ask herself before taking the real estate plunge.

This week: How to help your house sell?

So, you’ve found the perfect agent, you know how to keep your house search on track, and you know how much it’ll cost you to sell. But how can you help your house sell fast?


If you’re selling your house that means you’ll be packing up soon. Get a head start and startpacking all the things you don’t need access to. Store them offsite or at a friend’s place. This is also a perfect opportunity to depersonalize the space. The whole point of a showing is get potential buyers to feel like it’s their future home, not your current one. Get rid of personal photos and knickknacks that can distract the eye.

“They need to see themselves in the house,” says Samantha Fortin, a Royal LePage realtor in Ottawa. “You don’t want them stopping to look at your pictures.”


Hoarders aren’t pretty. If there’s one thing you can do yourself, it’s to clean your house. A simple dusting and good ol’ scrubbing will return that sparkle to your house. Declutter every room in the house, not just the main floor. Address everything, from your kid’s closets that are jam-packed with toys, clothes and who knows what else (that’s where that book went) to the extra couches you have in your basement. If you haven’t used it in the last six months, toss it or, better yet, donate it.

“If you’ve got children, pick a spot where you’re going to live while you’re showing the house,” says Fortin. Everything else has to stay tidy. You don’t want to be saying no to a showing because your kid’s underwear is on the living room floor.


Paint touchups (trims, baseboards, outlets) are a quick and cheap way to spruce up a room. Buyers don’t want to see themselves having to fix the place up after you’re gone, says Fortin. If you feel it’s needed, re-paint the rooms but stick to neutral colours. If bright fuchsia is your idea of neutral, ask your real estate agent for advice. Replace old faucets and if you’re going to shell out some cash, fix the carpeting in all of the rooms (doing only one room may cost you more money in the long run – your house might sell for less.) Finish up those half-finished home projects and only spring for major renovations if they’re really needed.

“The first couple of weeks have to be fresh for every person who walks in the door,” says Fortin. Don’t forget the outside of the house too. Cut grass in the spring and summer and shovel walkways in the winter.


We’ve all heard of baking fresh cookies or playing soft music to create an enticing atmosphere for buyers. But Fortin advises that you tread lightly when it comes to scents. Scent plug-ins can be distracting and overpowering. It might also send the wrong message – that you’re trying to mask something. What is necessary is that you stage your home well. Don’t be scared to move around furniture, add in fresh flowers and turn your lights on for a nicer ambiance.

Your real estate agent can offer tips on staging or recommend a professional stager. If anything, make sure your agent takes nice photos for the property listing and avoid words like “cozy” in the listing. It could mean two very different things, says Fortin.


I remember being 10 years old, having a couple of buyers enter my home to see the place one night. Too bad I didn’t know they were coming (and awkwardly retreated to my room.) This is a big no-no, says Fortin. You should make sure that you’re not there during the showing. Why? Buyers are likely to feel that they’re disturbing your life and will not stay long. It’s best to be flexible and get out of the way when people come to see your house. This may make the difference in giving your house the fair showing it deserves. Keep your kids in the loop and send away pets to Grandma’s house.

“I look for the dancing eyes,” says Fortin. If eyes are moving around the home and potential buyers are already talking about where their couch would fit in your living room, that’s a good sign you’ll soon be receiving a cheque.

RECIPE: Try making Dodol, a traditional Goan treat that is a sinch to make

Recipe by 22catch, photo by santi_andrini.


  • 1 ½ cups black rice flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  •  400 mL coconut cream
  • 2 tablespoons ghee (or butter as a substitution)
  • Slivered almonds


  1. Mix the flour, sugar, cream and ghee in a microwave safe bowl.
  2. Cook on high for 8 minutes.
  3. Stir.
  4. Cook on high for 8 minutes.
  5. Add slivered almonds.
  6. Stir.
  7. Cook on high for 8 minutes, until it becomes like a sticky ball.
  8. Smooth out onto a greased dish, garnish with almonds, and let cool.


Bon appétit!


Newsflash: April 21, 2014

Gay student to have his case heard, Air Canada drops suit cases and it is heard, and the case against a senator will have to wait until he’s out of rehab to be heard.


Ontario student and young gay rights activist Christopher Karas will be having his case heard in front of the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal after his complaints that his Mississauga French Catholic school interfered with his plans to set up a Gay-Straight Alliance and that he experienced homophobia through the school’s teachings and the lessons he was made to experience. We’ve interviewed Karas before and we will be keeping a close eye on this story as it develops.

After a video of baggage handlers throwing and dropping luggage from great heights went viral on YouTube with over a million hits it’s looking like the two fellas in question might be losing their jobs. Air Canada has apologized for the uncomfortable situation, but has yet to announce plans to fix any of the million other ways that flying is incredibly uncomfortable.

Troubled (and suspended) Conservative Senator Patrick Brazeau is now heading to rehab. See, sometimes all it takes is being arrested a few times, being caught with drugs, and a good solid decade of allegations of sexual inappropriateness — also known as hitting rock bottom and dragging along it for the better part of your political career — to see the light at the end of the tunnel.


Follow Women’s Post on Twitter at @WomensPost.

Terry Richardson denies new allegations that he offered to trade Vogue spot to a model for sex

Photographer Terry Richardson is coming under fire after new allegations surfaced over the weekend that he had attempted to give a model a Vogue photoshoot in exchange for sex over Facebook messages.

The model, Emma J. Appleton, tweeted a screengrab of the offending message from her now defunct Twitter account with the caption “Um what” underneath it.

Richardson is notable for having photographed many celebrities and directing Miley Cyrus’ video for Wrecking Ball

terry 2



About any future Vogue shoots? “We have no plans to work with him in the future,” says U.S. Vogue communications director Hildy Kuryk, although Richardson has shot for French Vogue as recently as February of this year.

Richardson’s people immediately contacted BuzzFeed to denounce the image as a “fake” in keeping with Richardson’s vague denials of other inappropriate behavior.


Appleton later deleted her Twitter account after assuring BuzzFeed that her account of the events was true.


What do you think about Terry Richardson’s alleged sexually inappropriate behaviour with models?