Women Entrepreneurship Strategy success story: Lighthouse Transportation Inc.

"The Greater Heights program (delivered by the Centre for Women in Business and funded by the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy) really helped me hone my leadership skills and feel more secure and empowered to drive the company forward."

Colleen O'Toole, owner and CEO, Lighthouse Transportation Inc.

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[Text on screen:
Women Entrepreneurship Strategy
Success Story – Lighthouse Transportation Inc.]

[Shot of parked trucks and of a glass door with “Lighthouse Transportation Inc” written across it]

[Interview with Colleen O’Toole interspersed with clips of warehouses, long-haul trucking, Colleen O’Toole talking with other workers in the office and in the warehouse, and various certifications framed on a wall]

[Text on screen:
Colleen O’Toole / CEO Lighthouse Transportation Inc.]

My name’s Colleen O Toole. I am owner and CEO of Lighthouse Transportation Inc. We’re located in the Halifax area. We have 40,000 square feet of warehouse space, and we have a local containerized division, as well as a long-haul flat deck division. I became the owner of Lighthouse Transportation Inc. back in 2017. It’s actually a family-owned and operated business that’s been around for almost 40 years now.

So the challenges that I face as a small business owner, and in particular as a woman entrepreneur, are kind of interesting. I mean, I’m in an industry, trucking and warehousing, predominantly male. When I look back at the changes that these services really brought to the business, I think the Greater Heights program had a huge impact. And I think some of that you could sort of quantify.

I could tell you how much we increased in sales, which was significant, profits the same way. But I think, sort of, the non-tangible or the non-quantifiable bit was what it did for me and my leadership skills. I really feel, going through that program, I came out a much better leader than I was when I started, more secure. I felt empowered.

I would say my biggest aspiration for the business would be to see us at least double or maybe even triple in size sometime within the next 2 to 3 years. As a small business owner, what really drives me to keep going is not necessarily what my competitors are doing, but how do I get better? What kinds of things can I do that I could really be proud of at the end of the day?

If I could give other women entrepreneurs any sort of advice, it would be find out what supports are available to you. The Women Entrepreneurial Strategy was wonderful. The Greater Heights program worked wonders for me personally and my business and, you know, things like the Centre for Women in Business.

So go out there and be prepared when you start your business. And the best way to do that is to get advice from groups like these.

[Text on screen:
Find out how the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy can help you. Visit canada.ca/women-entrepreneurship]

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