2 beauty brands receive funds from Canada’s Women Entrepreneurship Strategy investment program

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images \ (Foryou13)
© Getty Images \ (Foryou13)
At the end of May, WES announced its support of 14 women-led businesses in Manitoba. Among the recipients are Heather Urqhart’s Huna Natural Apothecary and a brand called Tiber River Naturals, led by Adriana DeLuca and Michelle Lalonde.

According to the Western Economic Diversification Canada media release announcing the funding recipients, just 16% of the 1.2 million small and medium enterprises in the country are owned by women; and noticeably more of these businesses, which are owned by men, export their goods.

The Women Entrepreneurship Strategy investments are meant to advance gender equality. And as Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada, explains it, “If we want Canada's economy to run on all cylinders, everyone must have the opportunity to succeed.”​ And he goes on to point out that “Our government's Women Entrepreneurship Strategy will help business women reach their highest potential and provide their full contribution to our economy by supporting them with the tools they need to grow their businesses and create jobs.”

Dollars and distribution

Both beauty brands awarded funding by the WES have plans to export product to the US market. Huna Natural Apothecary is receiving $100,000 to “introduce plant-pigmented colour cosmetics to Canadian and US markets.” ​While Tiber River Naturals is receiving the same amount for the purpose of developing “an ecommerce platform and US marketing plan for natural bath and home products.”

Brands and businesses

Heather Urqhart founded Huna Natural Apothecary ​in 2013 and early on began growing organic botanicals for use in the brand’s product formulations. The Huna product portfolio currently comprises skin care, a couple of nail care products, and one lip butter with a natural red hue. The brand’s WES funded project suggests that Huna is moving into color cosmetics—an expansion that will not only grow the brand’s SKU count but also perhaps require an expansion of the garden known as Huna Homestead.   

Direct-sales brand Tiber Rivers began as a soap maker; according to tiberriver.ca​, Andria DeLuca got her start in beauty by using a family recipe to create soaps with fruits, vegetables, and herbs.  The brand has since grown to comprise skin care, body care, hair care, bath products, baby care, fragrance, and grooming. There are now Tiber River Spas too as well as candles and home care products. With support from WES, Tiber Rivers will be taking its bath and home products business into the States.



Deanna Utroske, CosmeticsDesign.com Editor, covers beauty business news in the Americas region and publishes the weekly Indie Beauty Profile column, showcasing the inspiring work of entrepreneurs and innovative brands.

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