Pregnancy centre rebirth off to good start

(From left to right) Stephany Borthwick, Nicole Newman, Laura Batista, and Carlie Pitka of Lovewell Birth Collective. May 16, 2019. (Photo by Lou Parry Photography)

Four female entrepreneurs will soon open a new pregnancy care centre in Lambton County after winning a year of free rent.

Lovewell Birth Collective and Wellness Centre took top spot in the third annual Sarnia-Lambton Business Development Corporation’s WIN This Space contest.

Lovewell’s Laura Batista said the centre will help expecting parents navigate everything from early pregnancy through the postpartum period.

“So there’s going to be natural products for mom and baby, like modern essentials. We’re also going to have childbirth education classes, and birth tub rentals,” said Batista. “We’re just going to be a pillar of support for new moms, new parents as they go through the birthing process.”

Formerly known as Well Rounded Doulas, the company recently re-branded.

Batista said winning this contest will help kick-start their entrepreneurial journey.

“This will help us with our rent for the first year, which is a huge help, so we can focus on the cost of buying wholesale products, and just building the business over the first year,” said Batista. “We were very excited and shocked [when we won]. There were so many great businesses that we were competing against. Yeah, we’re still kind of shocked and amazed.”

Business Development General Manager Don Anderson said the contest provides an opportunity for people looking to establish a business without the concern about some of the financial outlays their first year.

“We like to think that it encourages people to look at entrepreneurism as a career alternative and plan their business,” said Anderson. “It creates more business locally, and helps with job creation as well– certainly you look at initially it’s the entrepreneurs themselves, then additional staff. Among the first three winners, there was originally a total of five employees, and now that number is around 12 employees.”

Since the contest was launched in 2017, three other winners have won a free year lease on a commercial space — Culture Shock Kombucha, The River Osteopathy & Wellness Center in Sarnia, and The Couples Clinic in Sarnia.