Lisa Robitaille is the owner of Bread By Élise in Kingston, Ontario. She is also an active participant in various WE-CAN programs, including the OvercomeHER Coaching Program, YourWay Program and others.

Founders of Bread by Élise
Lisa Robitaille and her daughter Élise Pelletier of Bread by Élise. 
Photo courtesy of Lisa Robitaille.

Lisa’s daughter, Élise Pelletier, is a young adult woman with developmental differences. As a woman entrepreneur with her own disability, Lisa recognized the need for her daughter to develop a passion to help her remain focused and engaged; that passion turned out to be baking.

What started out as a pastime quickly developed into a need for both mother and daughter to bake bread every day and they began to give sourdough loaves away. The feedback was so positive that in 2020 Bread By Élise was born.

Bread By Élise is a company that supports persons with disabilities and the employment challenges that come with that. In 2022, Bread By Élise hopes to begin hiring other persons with disabilities to help them live a more fulfilling life.

Over the past couple of months, Bread By Élise has built a home-based commercial kitchen which has been inspected and approved by Kingston Lennox & Addington Public Health.

Lisa also launched a new online store which sells sourdough baking equipment across Canada. An upgrade to her web site is presently being completed with the support of Digital Main Street’s Future Proof Program for Eastern Ontario delivered by Launch Lab. The changes will facilitate curbside pick-up process and allow the company to distribute a new weekly bread and pastry menu to email subscribers in the greater Kingston region.

Bread By Élise is also working on creating its own baking steel. Due to its high tendency to rust without a coating, Lisa and Elise are now sandblasting steel and experimenting with various blends of oils to condition it for optimal baking.

“Baking steel is a highly sought material, and the technology of baking bread and pizza on steel much requested in the baking world,” Lisa explains. “We believe this will take our baking tool offering to the next level by offering large and small steel sheets that do not warp in a 500°F oven.”

Since joining the WE-CAN Project, Lisa has participated in various programs and services. She was a recent participant in WE-CAN’s Digital Marketing Skills Boot Camp for Women Entrepreneurs delivered by Jennifer Baker Consulting. In addition, she has received support through WE-CAN’s OvercomeHER Coaching Program for women with a disability.

She is also receiving one-on-one mentorship through WE-CAN to help her export her sourdough baking equipment to the United States.

“WE-CAN has been a tremendous support for Bread By Élise,” says Lisa. “The various online programs that are available and the opportunity to network and participate in fundamental business workshops has supported me in the development of Bread By Elise. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity WE-CAN has given to Élise and myself.”

The WE-CAN Project is led by Queen’s University and funded in part by FedDev Ontario through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) Ecosystem Fund.