Client Interview - Maya Mi Oh

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Rainbow Art School is owned and operated by Maya Mi Oh. In 2009, Maya and her family moved to Newfoundland when her husband was offered a job in St. John’s.

Ms. Oh herself is a trained artist, having completed both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Fine Art in South Korea. She enjoys working with a range of materials and art styles, including oil, print, sketching, sculpting, and pottery. She also worked as a graphic designer and website designer for ten years in her home country.

After searching the local job market, she soon realized that the number of professional jobs available for a classically trained artist was limited. However, she was ultimately inspired by her daughter to go into business. “I wanted to send my daughter to art school, but it was hard to find one,” she explains. “So I started my art school for my daughter.”

Maya initially had a lot of questions related to starting her own business, and she turned to AXIS Career Services for answers. “It was a huge help,” she insists. Without AXIS help, there would be no Rainbow Art School.” AXIS assisted Maya with everything from researching the local market and developing her business plan, to meeting with city officials, creating content for the business website, and registering her business with the province.

Rainbow Art School began offering arts and crafts classes to students’ ages 3-18 in September, 2011. Students can book individual or group classes to learn the history and techniques of various eastern and western styles. Maya’s personal philosophy on art education goes far beyond composition and brush work. Instead, she draws on her own experiences to inspire creativity and self-expression in her students. As she explains, “With my experience, I encourage my students to access something they want to express with various types of art.”

Maya has a loyal group of young artists, including several standouts. One student recently won an art competition among several schools in the city, and according to his parents, it was all because of what he learned at Rainbow Art School. She regularly receives inquiries about adult classes, and is working with AXIS Career Services to look at ways to better serve her growing clientele.



Maya offers this advice for aspiring entrepreneurs: “Starting is important, once you start your business it will move on. If it is too hard to start, get consultation from AXIS, they really know how to make you get ahead.


Exploring Business Opportunities

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Sometimes a person may wish to start a business, but that person may not know what type of business to start.

The following are examples of where to look for business start-up ideas:

~ Look at trade publications, newspapers/magazines, and online articles to get an idea of what is happening in the business world.

~ Attend conferences, trade shows, and conventions to determine what is new in a particular field of interest.

~ Explore your city to get an idea of which businesses exist, and how these businesses are doing. 

~ Think about your education or work experience and try to match it with potential opportunities. For instance, perhaps you have noticed an opportunity to offer a new product or service that nobody else is currently providing. 

~ Consider your pet peeves as sources of business ideas. Do you really dislike a specific type of product or service? It is likely that other people feel the same way, so there may be a market for your new product/service.

~ Explore your hobbies. If a few thousand people share a common hobby, it could potentially be the source of a successful business opportunity. For example, if you have a love for hiking, and you believe that market is underserved, there could be an opportunity to start a guide business, or perhaps a business selling equipment/supplies. 



St. John’s Named Most Entrepreneurial City in Atlantic region

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St. John's is the Atlantic provinces' most "entrepreneurial-friendly" city, according to a new report from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).


The 2014 Entrepreneurial Communities report used 14 indicators to determine which Canadian cities offer the best entrepreneurial environment. 


The report looked at a variety of factors, including the scale and growth of business ownership, industrial diversity, indicators associated with optimism and growth plans and actions local governments take with respect to business taxation and regulation. 


The overall score given to St. John's was 58 out of 100, a 0.1 drop from the score given the city in the last annual report. 


Halifax, the region's largest city, took a tumble from dropping 8.3 to a score of 46.8, due to a drop in business optimism. 


Moncton and Charlottetown (with scores of 52.2 and 52.1, respectively) has remained in the middle of the pack while Saint John (with a score of 48) improved slightly.


To read the remainder of this article, please visit


AXIS in the News

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Check out AXIS, featured in the St. John's Economic Update for September 2014!

To read the full economic update, please click the link below!


Tips When Creating an Effective Business Plan

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The thought of creating a business plan can sometimes leave you feeling overwhelmed. However, in order to increase your likelihood of success, this task should not be ignored. Here are some tips to keep in mind when writing your business plan:


  • ~ Do your research! Always begin with market research. A well-developed idea will have supportable market data.

  • ~ Consider your audience! Keep in mind the purpose of your business plan, who will be reading it, and for what purpose (banker, investor, financer etc).

  • ~ When using acronyms (an abbreviation formed from the initial components in a phrase or a word), always spell out the actual words the first time it’s used. If your business plan requires a lot of acronyms, include a glossary at the end for reference.

  • ~ Always write in the third person – do not use “I” or “we.” Always use the name of the company.

  • ~ Focus on positive themes and benefits to your customers/clients.

  • ~ Avoid repetition! Don’t repeat content or duplicate sentences, even if the point you are making fits under several categories in your business plan.

  • ~ Use facts, numbers and sources to back your statements up.

  • ~ Use graphics, charts and/or tables to provide a visually attractive and clear business plan.

  • ~ Use clear, simple language. Avoid using technical terms that could cause confusion.

  • ~ Show how your business sets itself apart from its main competition.

  • ~ Review and edit each draft of your business plan multiple times before it is read by an evaluator, in order to eliminate any grammar or spelling errors.

The AXIS Entrepreneurial Coordinator is available to assist you with each step of your business plan. For further information, please contact



Client Interview - Danilo Gonzalez

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Originally from Chile, Danilo Gonzalez first came to AXIS Career Services approximately 1 year after his arrival in Newfoundland and Labrador. Danilo has been an active participant in our Business Development Supports Services (BDSS) program, and has gained invaluable business knowledge by attending business workshops, tapping into current networking opportunities, and receiving one-on-one consultations with AXIS. He began operating his non-profit, Garden Mind (now known as “Growing Global Wellness”) in 2013.



Growing Global Wellness is a non-profit which assists the community in creating new green spaces, and ultimately a sustainable system of food production based in urban areas. Growing Global Wellness has two main elements: urban agriculture and wellness. The directors, Danilo Gonzalez (Agronomist Engineer-Urban Agriculture Specialist) and Courtney Manuel (B.Sc. (Honors) and Medical Student) work together, combining their expertise to promote ways to grow healthy foods year-round indoors/outdoors, in small or large spaces. 

When asked about what Danilo considered to be his biggest business challenge, he reports that: “The biggest challenge has been to show everybody that it is possible to grow food everywhere and anytime. Our mission is 100% educational and our challenge is trying to change the way locals think. We are having good results, and it is a bit better every time. Young participants are very inspired in our sessions, as are many families who have agricultural backgrounds.”

For newcomers, Danilo offers the following advice: “Study the culture, and the local community. Take part in the business workshops and use the services like those offered at AXIS in order to gain a better understanding of the local business environment. Explore your strengths and match them with any unsatisfied needs in the community. Newfoundland and Labrador is growing, and as a result, so are the opportunities within the province.”

For further information on Growing Global Wellness, please visit



Examples of Free and Low-Cost Tools & Apps That May Be Helpful As You Explore/Grow Your Business

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As a business owner, you are often on a limited budget. Using free (or low cost) marketing tools will enable you to use some of your resources elsewhere. Every business, no matter what size, will want to market their products or services in order to attract new customers, and retain current customers.  The following are 5 examples of free (or low cost) tools that are available to assist you in growing your business.


1) Craigslist/Kijiji – These are tools which enables you to target specific locations of interest. In addition to selling products and services and ultimately creating awareness for your business, these can also be used to recruit talented individuals for your business whenever the need shall arise.


2) SocioPal–This tool offers assistance in setting up social media accounts like Facebook and Twitter, and will also help you with the creation of your website. If you’re looking to build your online presence, this is a great tool to consider.


3) Hootsuite – If you are using social media sites to promote your business, Hootsuite is a great site that will enable you to manage multiple accounts (For example:  Facebook and Twitter) through one interface. This site also enables you to schedule the times when your posts will be published, depending on when your followers are most active.


4) Square – This is a free tool which enables your business to accept credit card payments through your smart phone. Your business only pays for this service when a sale is made.


5) MailChimp – This is an email subscription tool that allows the user to have up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month absolutely free of charge. Using this tool, enables businesses to notify subscribers of new products/services, promotions, and business news.


When starting or growing your business, it is important to do your research, and consult with the AXIS Entrepreneurial Coordinator to see which tools are available to you. You may be pleasantly surprised at what’s out there for free!



Client Interview - Abiari Nelson Echendu

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Abiari Nelson Echedu was born in Nigeria and arrived in Newfoundland and Labrador in 2011 with a dream of starting her own clothing alteration and creation business. Shortly after her arrival, Abiari became aware of AXIS Career Services, and decided to seek assistance in order to make her dream a reality.


Since participating in the Business Development Support Services (BDSS) program at AXIS, Abiari has been able to gain a better understanding of the Canadian entrepreneurial landscape by attending various business workshops, receiving one-on-one consultations, and accessing the numerous networking opportunities, all made possible by AXIS.


While Abiari currently provides alteration services, she is looking to expand in the near future to include the sale of both traditional Nigerian clothing, as well as clothing that features a Nigerian/North American blend.



Abiari is feeling very positive about her future as an entrepreneur and now believes anything is possible. “If you have a goal, do not give up! Although it may be challenging, nothing worth having comes easy. Work hard and you will eventually see results.”


For more information on Abiari’s work, please contact




Upcoming Intellectual Property Workshop

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Advantages of Owning a Business

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Some people realize at an early age that they were meant to start their own business. Others decide to start their business at a later stage, due to life changes (job loss, parenthood, retirement, etc.). Others may already have a job, but are wondering whether starting their own business is right for them?

It is important to realize that there are risks involved in starting a business; however, today we are going to take a look at some of the potential advantages.

Starting Your Own Business May Have Advantages for You

You can follow your passion, and be your own boss. People sometimes become tired of working for an employer, so they follow their passion, and turn to self-employment. Many entrepreneurs indicate that the long hours they invest in operating (and growing) their business goes by quickly, and it often does not feel like “work.”In many Canadian surveys, being your own boss and being independent is the number one reason individuals become self-employed.

You will likely have more flexibility. Although entrepreneurs regularly work long hours, they usually have the ability to schedule their work around other commitments.


You have more decision making power. The ability to make personal choices can be beneficial to your business. For instance, entrepreneurs can surround themselves with the individuals they believe will be the best match for their business. The potential employee’s specific skill-set and/or personality may be determining factors in you choose.    

You can apply for business tax. Business owners can often receive tax benefits for items that are purchased for the business – This means that the business owner will not have to pay taxes on an item used for business purposes. These items can include such things as gas, books, or even the percentage of your home that is used for business purposes. For instance, if your business made $100,000 in its first year, and business expenses were $10,000, you would only have to pay taxes on the $90,000.

You have potential for a higher income. Some people believe they are working to make their employers wealthy. In most positions, your income is limited to a certain rate. As an entrepreneur, your income is directly related to the level of success your business has.    

You will diversify your skills. As an entrepreneur, each day will be different and filled with new opportunities and challenges. Each day you will acquire new skills in order to take advantage of these opportunities, and successfully overcome any challenges that may present themselves. Developing new skills will increase your confidence to build and grow a successful business.