Amazing Kids In Business & The Community

Windsor and Essex County is home to a new generation of entrepreneurs and change-makers who are capturing hearts and minds with innovative ideas and unwavering determination.

As the world around us continues to evolve at an unprecedented pace, a dynamic group of young visionaries is stepping into the spotlight, proving that age is no barrier to creating impactful businesses and real change in our community.

In this edition of The Parenting Biz we take a closer look at the rising stars of the region that are not only embracing the challenges of entrepreneurship, but also embracing the potential to make our community a better place.

Safiya Shujah, Entrepreneur

Seventeen year old Safiya Shujah, Owner of Sophisticated Sweets, first became interested in baking in the seventh grade after making a batch of chocolate chip cookies for a bake sale.

“They became famous around the school, and for every bake sale, party or event afterwards I was asked to make them,” Shujah recounts. “In the eighth grade I began experimenting more with my baking by making desserts like pies, brownies, pastries and cupcakes — all from scratch.”

During the pandemic, in her first year at Assumption College Catholic High School, Shujah was left with a lot of free time, which she used to hone her baking skills.

“While I fully enjoy the baking process — besides washing the dishes — I think what I love most about baking would have to be seeing the joy I can provide to others through what I make,” she tells Biz X. “There’s something special about being a part of some of the major milestones in people’s lives. Making my fifth grade teacher’s wedding cake, my friend’s sweet 16 cake, or cupcakes for a fundraiser are all huge rewards for me.”

In March 2022, Shujah officially opened Sophisticated Sweets, which offers custom cakes, cupcakes and chocolate chip cookies.

“It was for a school project I did in Grade 10, where you must research a topic that interests you and create a product based on the information acquired,” she says. “I decided to do my own project on baking by making and selling 14 cakes, each inspired by different time periods between the years 1900 and 2020. This gave me a good look at what it might be like to have a baking business.”

She adds: “A fellow student referred me to my school’s business teacher, who told me about the Summer Company Program offered through the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Centre here in Windsor. With his help I ended up getting the Summer Company Grant, which really helped me to grow my business and to fulfill all the requirements to be a licensed Ontario baking business.”

When she’s not baking or doing school work, you can find Shujah hanging out at Starbucks with friends, figure skating (South Windsor Skating Club) or re-watching her favourite movies from the 1990s and 2000s.

“I would say that I’m a people person since I love being around friends and family — plus I love seeing other people happy,” states the Grade 12 student entrepreneur. “With that comes being an extrovert, which I’ve definitely found quite helpful at marketing events. But the most important thing to know about me is that I put my whole heart and full effort into whatever it is I’m doing — especially when it comes to my business.”

To see photos of the items available, pricing, and to order please go online.

Anika Blommaert, Volunteer

Started in 1997, Transition to Betterness (T2B) is a local charity that fundraises to refurbish rooms at area hospitals and provide comfort-based programs from pediatric to palliative care.

Seventeen year old Cardinal Carter Secondary School Grade 12 student, Anika Blommaert, joined the T2B Youth Ambassadors in 2021 when her friend, Sienna Francis, shared a story about her mother’s Dr. Michelle Prince Comfort Care Tote Program started through T2B.

The program provides a custom tote bag filled with tangible items to help comfort patients starting their chemotherapy journeys; such as a fleece blanket, socks, lip balm, a journal, herbal tea and more.
Blommaert was inspired by the program and wanted to help keep Dr. Prince’s legacy alive.

“I then had the opportunity to work with T2B for a middle school project where I started the Purple Rain Ride Fundraiser, a spin class for the Dr. Michelle Prince Comfort Care Tote Program that has raised over $14,500 in two years,” says Blommaert.

Her theme was inspired by Michelle’s favourite artist and song — the musician was Prince and the song, Purple Rain. Purple also is the recognized colour for Dr. Prince and combined with the fact that Blommaert loves spin class, the fundraising idea was born!

Blommaert recruited her friends, family and local businesses to support the first Purple Rain Ride taking place at Movati Athletic, which was a fantastic Sunday afternoon of spinning, singing, and supporting a wonderful cause.

It raised an astounding $8,000 in 2022 to support the tote program with over 500 tote bags made for patients starting chemotherapy! In its second year, the May 2023 event raised $6,500.

However, her efforts didn’t stop there and now another event is in the works. The Inaugural Purple Rain Run/Walk takes place on Sunday, September 24 on the Ganatchio Trail this year, also in support of the tote program.

The energy promises to be high, as participants will be sprayed with vibrant purple powder making it a colourful experience to remember! Afterwards there is lunch and entertainment at the Harbour House Waterfront Eatery.

The 5K run/walk is chaired by Sienna Francis and Paige Wilcox (Dr. Prince’s daughter and niece respectively) and co-chaired by McKenna Pope and Blommaert. The cost is $25 per participant and already over $27,000 has been raised, with more sponsorships coming in.

As you have just read, Anika is simply amazing! And in the words of the T2B team: “This is an incredible example of a young community leader and the importance of giving back. She is an inspiration to her peers and other youth in the community.”

For Blommaert: “My favourite part about working with T2B is being able to help those in need in our community and receiving positive and heart-warming feedback from the Comfort Care Tote Program cancer patients. I also love making lifelong connections with T2B’s employees, other youth ambassadors, and their community partnerships.”

In her spare time Blommaert dances with her competitive dance team WCDC from Edmunds Towers School of Dance. She also enjoys travelling with friends and family, exploring new places and making memories.

“I would describe myself as incredibly goal-driven, as I always strive to achieve my ambitions with unwavering determination,” she expresses. “I possess a kind-hearted nature, showing empathy and compassion towards others. I am passionate about making a positive impact on the world around me and approach challenges with a positive and caring attitude.”

To connect with Anika visit Instagram to donate to the Comfort Care Tote Program see: T2B.ca/canada-helps/dr-michelle-prince-comfort-care-tote. If you wish to participate in the upcoming Purple Rain Run/Walk please visit online.

Parenting Biz story continues on page 38