Joyce Ireti's home-based store in Toronto. In it she sells bags, clothes,  jewelry and shoes.

Home-based businesses on the rise

After the economic downturn in 2009, there has been an increase in people branching off to start their own home-based business says Diana Sutherland, Communications Officer at Ontario’s Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation.

According to data gathered by the ministry, self-employed people working at home have increased from 54 per cent in 2006 to 60 per cent.

Joyce Ireti, a single mother of three, was one of the many Canadians who experienced financially difficulties when the recession hit in 2009.

At the time, she was working as a full time sales associate in a retail store. During the recession, her hours were cut back and she found it hard to meet her various responsibilities.

Rather than contemplating her setbacks, Ireti set her sights on a career that she had always dreamed of pursing – business.

“I wanted to have my own store. I knew that it wouldn’t be easy, but I had to find another way to care for myself and my family – a better way,” Ireti said.

“Business was not a new concept to me. When I lived in Nigeria, I used to sell clothes in the marketplace and I was very popular – it is something I have been doing since I was a child.”

Ireti started putting her sales skills to use by selling female undergarments in her minivan. By the end of 2010, her minivan contained more than just undergarment, it was stocked with shoes, dresses, jewellery and more – her van had become a mobile store.

In 2011, with her business thriving, she quit her sales job, bought a house in Toronto and transformed the basement into a store. Now, in 2012, her basement is filled with merchandise from around the world – Africa, Europe and China. She has parked her minivan and runs her own store right from her home.

According to Jobboom.com, an increasing number of Canadian women are starting their own business. There are more than 821,000 women entrepreneurs in Canada, with half working from a home-based business.

According to the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation, small business, including those that are home-based, make a significant contribution to Ontario’s economy in terms of jobs, investment, trade, innovation and prosperity.

“Yes, sometimes the odds are against you. The economy is bad, you lose your job, but you can always find another way – maybe even a better way,” said Ireti.

“Whatever skills you have, make good use of it. If you are a tailor, a masseuse, a hairstylist – use it and make a living. You’re either going to let the economy get the best of you or you’re going to struggle and come out triumphant.”