Ana Mandri Rohen is the CEO of Zamia Media based in Kingston. She recently completed the five month Compass North Accelerator for women entrepreneurs in technology as a part of the WE-CAN Project. She is also a part of the WE-CAN Project’s PropelHER Program with high-impact mentor Judith Pineault.

Zamia Media is a global social enterprise that provides communication strategies, marketing tools, courses, and one-on-one consultations to not-for-profit organizations and social environmental initiatives to increase their impact in the world. The company’s mission is to create and grow initiatives that enhance justice, build a better planet and stronger, healthier people.

Ana Mandri from Zamia Media. Photo courtesy of Zamia Media.

Ana applied to the Compass North Program offered through the WE-CAN Project in 2021 in order to scale her services during COVID-19. As a result, Ana’s company secured angel investment of $500,000 CAD. She is continuing to work with WE-CAN Project High Impact Mentor Judith Pineault on continued business growth and expansion.

Since Zamia Media is a globally minded company, travel to Mexico and other key locations was severely limited due to COVID-19. Zamia Media realized it needed to increase its online offerings while connecting with its global partners virtually, rather than face-to-face. In addition, the company realized it would need additional investment (and related legal expertise) if it was to grow and expand to meet the needs of its clients.

Ana became a participant of the five month Compass North Accelerator Program for women entrepreneurs in technology during the spring of 2021. The program is delivered by L-SPARK (Ottawa) as a part of the WE-CAN Project.

Ana’s involvement with the Compass North Program allowed her to:

  • Develop an extensive business plan and pitch which allowed her to connect with partners and investors. “After the first six weeks of the program, I felt confident to talk to people and present my company,” Ana shares.
  • Valuate her company to look for the first round of investment (which she received in late 2021)
  • Connect with a legal team, marketing experts and mentors who helped guide Ana through the entire process and supported her in securing new clients
  • Share her challenges and opportunities and receive feedback and advice from highly experienced people every week.

Ana is also a current participant in the PropelHER High-Impact Mentorship Program with Judith Pineault.

“Thanks to my WE-CAN experience, I have a deeper understanding of e-commerce and online businesses which has allowed me to have a better vision of my business and define my services with more clarity,” says Ana. “In addition, being a part of the North Compass Program allowed me to have a strong business plan, which led me to a $500,000 CAN pledge from an angel investment. I also received legal support to finalize the investment, making sure I did everything correctly.”

“In addition, I was connected with a fantastic mentor (Judith Pineault), who I have been working with every week, helping through all the different aspects of the business, including human resources, the hiring process, revising financial projections, marketing investment, mapping processes and logistics and more,” she continues.

Ana adds, “Starting a business is hard. Doing so in the middle of a pandemic is even more difficult but having WE-CAN on your side is like having a village of people helping you, pushing you from the back, with courses and capacity building. WE-CAN walks by your side, providing mentors who listen and share their own experience, and pulls you ahead with other entrepreneur women to inspire you.

Every week you receive opportunities to connect with people, learn new skills, participate in growth initiatives. WE-CAN is the village we need to make our big, ambitious goals a reality.”

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.