When Dakota Brant was pregnant with her son in 2016, she knew she had to try her hand at opening a business to support her family. 

73% of women who run their own businesses believe e-commerce has been crucial to their growth and success.

Selling goods was not new to her, as she and her twin sister Jesse had experienced much success selling their wares at local powwows and craft bazaars near their Indigenous community of Ohswé:ken, ON.

"When I became pregnant, we asked ourselves, 'Is this just a hobby or are we going to pursue this?'" Brant shares. A year later, the sisters launched an e-commerce website and began their journey into entrepreneurship. They haven't looked back.

Carving a future in the digital economy

The sisters are part of the 950,000 Canadian women entrepreneurs who are making a living through their small businesses*. The 2018 Women's Entrepreneurship Study, conducted by PayPal Canada, discovered that 73% of women who run their own businesses believe e-commerce has been crucial to their growth. Moreover, the study found that 85% of female business owners believe they need to be online to compete effectively in today's digital economy.

Today, the Brant sisters' company, Sapling & Flint, is thriving. Last year, 87% of their sales were online, with customers from across Canada, the US, and Western Europe. They aim to become the country's first nationwide wholesale jewellery manufacturer that is Indigenous-owned and -operated on reserve.

Some of the jewelry from Sapling & Flint

365 days of business opportunity

Brant says PayPal made it easy to set their business up online and enabled them to grow and scale their business securely while helping put money on the table for their families.

The Women's Entrepreneurship Study also examined the impact of e-commerce on the wage gap and found that in traditional entrepreneurship, women earned about 58% less than men. But for those in e-commerce, the difference in earnings decreased to 44%.

85% of female business owners believe they need to be online to compete effectively in today's digital economy.

Brant says e-commerce and partnering with companies such as PayPal have been essential to her success, particularly as an Indigenous mother living on a reserve. "Indigenous communities are some of the most economically-isolated places in Canada. We have little physical opportunity for job creation," Brant notes. "PayPal gave us this really simple way of taking money and sending invoices to people around the world. Our market went from two or three craft bazaars and powwows a year to 365 days of business opportunity."


* The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service, 2013