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Jun 22, 2020

Sheena Russell is the co-founder of Made with Local, and her story will inspire anyone who wants to be their own boss, and act on their beliefs and values.
 Made with Local sources local ingredients and then works with social enterprises to employ people who have barriers to the mainstream workforce. When COVID hits, the government orders this 'high risk' segment of the population into isolation, leaving Sheena with a ton of orders to fill and no one there to help her. Sheena makes a trademark entrepreneurial move - she jumps in with her family to bake, make and ship products, and fast-tracks a new product that is perfect for these times. 
If that isn't enough to earn your admiration, Sheena is also a Certified B Corp, to reflect a new kind of business that balances purpose and profit. They are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community, and the environment. Sheena is part of a community of leaders, driving a global movement of people using business as a force for good. 

Sheena's challenge is to have her brands compete for attention in some of the world's most competitive food markets. To help her with her quest we invite Andrew Black, CEO of Brand Project, a venture capital firm, Bobby Sahni, from Ethnicity Matters to advise her on tapping into the multicultural market. Kellie Sauriol, from RBC, talks about how to ensure her growth ambitions are supported.

Presented by RBC.

Humble beginnings  (01:24)
After graduating from Dalhousie University, Sheena joins the City of Halifax teaching businesses how to recycle but needs a more creative outlet. In 2012, spotting an opportunity to produce healthy and tasty snacks, Sheena starts Made with Local. She starts selling her snacks at local farmers markets on the East Coast, building a strong following and in 2016 enters Sobeys Atlantic with her real food bars.

Local ingredients, local partnerships  (04:59)
Using local ingredients is not enough, Sheena partners with a Nova Scotian social enterprise, the Flower Cart Group, using them to help make her products. With incredible support from SheEO mentors Made with Local expands further. Now with a presence in Sobeys Ontario, a private label partnership with FarmBoy and opportunities to expand their partnership with Loblaws, Sheena’s grassroots approach has paid off. To boot, Made With Local achieves a B-Corp certification.

Down, but not out  (10:30)
COVID-19 strikes! “Well, it hit us like a ton of bricks.” With their production capacity completely shut down, and a large order pending, Sheena had to make alternate plans. It was all hands on deck, Sheena, her husband, and her director of sales roll up their sleeves and baked and packed. As if that was not enough, they were in the process of launching a new product.

Expert advice  (14:10)
Andrew Black, Founder Managing Partner, Brand Project recommend Sheena continue to persevere in retail and do more sampling once COVID-19 allows her to do so. Bobby Sahni, Partner & Co-Founder, Ethnicity Matters, points out that: when catering to different ethnic communities dietary requirements, they are not all are homogeneous. Kellie Sauriol, Regional Vice President, Business Financial Services, RBC suggests focussing on working capital and cash flow constraints and using a forecast to do so.

Capitalism has a conscience - Tony’s closing thoughts  (22:47)
Sheena has proven that profit and purpose can go hand in hand. Sourcing local ingredients and partnering with social enterprise, not as charity, but as a fundamental part the business and culture. And inspire of growing the business in one on the most competitive provinces, Ontario, remained true to her values, values that matter to all of us.

Links and References

Sheena Russell, Founder, Made with Local
LinkedIn -
Website -
Twitter - @madewithlocal
Facebook - @madewithlocal
Instagram - @madewithlocal

SheEO -
Sobeys -
Farm Boy -
B Corporation -
The Flower Cart Group -
Loblaws -

Andrew Black, Founder Managing Partner, Brand Project
LinkedIn -
Website -

Bobby Sahni, Partner & Co-Founder, Ethnicity Matters
LinkedIn -
Website -

Kellie Sauriol, Regional Vice President, Business Financial Services, RBC
LinkedIn -
RBC Business page –
RBC COVID-19 Financial Relief page -
To get specialized support for your business, visit
Future Launch -

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