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5 Immigrant Entrepreneurs that made it in Canada


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Gabriela Moreno : using technology to boost women’s confidence:

Elegant, energetic, charming and resilient, these are the words that qualify Gabriela Moreno, the entrepreneur who made an impressive appearance on Dragon’s Den last fall. She is the founder and CEO of Gabriela Moreno Pro Design swimwear. For this talented designer the “sky is the limit”. met this soon-to-be serial entrepreneur and she shared with us her recipe for success.

Who is Gabriela Moreno?

I am a young Montrealer, originally from Mexico, who has decided to go for it. I like to take risks, because I believe in the philosophy “you only live once”. I don’t follow trends and I don’t follow rules. I do what I think is best. I create and design in order to empower women and make them feel and look their best.

Tell us about your company.

Gabriela Moreno Pro Design swimwear is a Canadian brand that has created a product line which provides fashionable swimwear made out of premium 100% polyester microfiber.  GMPD has designed chic swimwear that uses nanotechnology. Not only does our swimwear look great but the women wearing it look fabulous as wellOur swimwear guarantees a perfect fit by providing our clients the support and shape they desire to enhance their silhouette.

Knowing that they look their best has a positive impact on women’s self- image and boosts their morale. That’s why GMPD wants to make them feel prettier, happier and more confident.  Our company has been created to help women around the world. Since GMPD gives a percentage of its sales to organizations that help female entrepreneurs, our customers are able to help women business owners microfinance their businesses.

Where does your business gene come from?

Since I was young I have always loved learning new stuff, new ideas or new processes. Like my mother used to say: “education never ends”.  Every day you learn new stuff, from books, from life, from experience. That is why I am proud to acknowledge that my entrepreneurial DNA comes from my experiences because I have always been willing to learn from anything, even from my mistakes.  This can often be hard to swallow because when you take risks in order to earn money and make a living out of your business venture, you do not want to make mistakes.

What inspires you and who are your role models?

First of all, I honestly think that women are powerful in many ways.  Woman can rule the world and women should have it all. I do believe that just being able to give birth, run a household all while succeeding in workplace, makes us stronger. It’s a pity that sometimes we compete against each other. Secondly, I would say my grandmother and my mother are my role models. I have always seen them as two strong and powerful women who were ahead of their generation.   I feel blessed and grateful to have these two female entrepreneurs to look up to. I am following in my mother’s footsteps, just like she followed my grandmother’s. Even though my grandmother passed away at a young age, she managed to accomplish so many things in Mexico. I have always been amazed by her lifestyle, the way she looked, the way she used to run things and by her vision.

Why did you become an entrepreneur?

I have always seen myself as an entrepreneur. Being my own boss has always been my goal. I don’t think it’s something you can fake or buy your way into. You’re either born with it or you aren’t. Not everybody can handle the stress levels that come with being an entrepreneur. Trust me, you have to have a thick skin because once you’ve embarked on the entrepreneurial journey, there is no way back. You have to be willing to make a lot of sacrifices in order to overcome the most frightening situations and be able to succeed. Personally I have always known that one day I would launch my company even though I have never worked for a designer. I have always been confident, because I knew from the get go that I had that passion and the talent.

Tell us about your experience on Dragon’s Den . How was it? What would you say you’ve learned through this experience?

I would definitely recommend that experience to all entrepreneurs. I think it was one the most stressful, yet rewarding experiences of my life.  Now it is checked off my bucket list! It brought me more confidence and gave me more power to overcome anything in life and in business. Sometimes when I look back I think it was meant to be. I am so thankful to my sister and  those who helped me and supported me from the beginning of this venture because without them I would have never got that interesting deal from Jim Treliving and would not have benefited from the amazing exposure brought by the show.  The lessons that I learned through that amazing experience and that I want to share with everybody are:

  • Always trust your gut. If you don’t have a good feeling about something, there is a reason behind it.
  • Believe in yourself. Do not listen to other people. If you do not believe in yourself it will never workout.
  • Be perseverant. You have to be resilient because being an entrepreneur is not easy.
  • Numbers don’t lie.
  • Know your clients and who you are targeting.

Do you have other projects?

Oh my God, I have tons of ideas! I would like to work in different industries. I would love to be involved in the food, wine . I feel the need to help people as well. In Canada, if you have ambition, a good work ethic and if you work hard at it, you can do many things. However in the country where I am from, I have seen so many really well educated people suffering. I do believe in karma and it is important to me to give back to society. I want to be involved in multiple projects, but I will have to go one step at a time.