by Stella Shepard
Helena Wood of Charlottetown is a good communicator who is high energy, creative, and focused. It is a perfect recipe for a rewarding career as an event planner.
Her entire working career has been in the hospitality field, with a dream of starting a business in that field. “I love working with people and have always had an eye for design,” says Helena. “It’s a lot of fun to sit with a client who has a vision in their mind and bring that to life.”
In May of 2019, Helena launched Mosaic Management Events. The mobile business offers full event management and support.
“I can be hired to do everything from guest list management, social media, decorating, or just being there to oversee the day to ensure that everything goes as planned so clients can enjoy their own event,” says Helena.
“I have been interested in event planning for a very long time. When I moved home from Calgary in 2018, I realized there was a niche here. A lot of people were doing large events or weddings, but not so many were focusing on planning smaller events across PEI.”
“I managed restaurants for a very long time, and also organized their events,” says Helena. “There were a lot of balls to juggle from staffing to food and drink timing, and full execution of events from start to finish.
“It taught me a lot about what could go wrong in these situations and to plan for them before they even do.”
“In my first year, demand for my services was amazing, and we were gearing up for a very busy 2020, but my industry got hit very hard with COVID-19,” says Helena. “All my 2020 events were cancelled. I am crossing my fingers this will pick back up for 2021 and life can get back to being a little more normal.”
As a way to pivot due to the pandemic, in June of 2020, she started a second business in partnership with Chef Jen McKenna. Cured Creations, located on Queen Street in Charlottetown, is PEI’s first charcuterie box delivery and takeout and event catering company. The company currently partners with more than 10 Island producers.
“I currently do not have staff, but I do have a team of people such as such as a caterer, chef, sommelier, and support team I subcontract for events.
“With the two businesses combined we will need to hire for the summer of 2021 to assist at the shop to create the charcuterie boxes while Jen and I are doing larger events and catering.”
Steps to opening a business
“My entire family are entrepreneurs, so I grew up with that mentality,” says Helena. “I moved to Calgary in 2008 and obtained my business degree.
“I always wanted to own my own business. When I moved back to PEI and decided it was time, I reached out to community groups like Community Business Development Corporation (CBDC), Empower PEI, SkillsPEI and the Startup Zone. I was so surprised at how many resources there are for Island entrepreneurs.”
CBDC East, located at the Rural Action Center in Montague, assists in creating small businesses and in expanding and modernizing existing businesses by providing financial and technical services to entrepreneurs. Services target entrepreneurs who require customized financing not ordinarily available from traditional sources.
“CBDC East was a great resource for helping with my business plan and assisting in getting a loan to get my business started,” says Helena. “They have incredible wrap-around services and helped me maneuver through the sometimes-intimidating steps and services available to assist with starting a business.
“Martina MacDonald, Executive Director of CBDC East, and the whole team helped me get my business started. They promoted my services to other people searching for event management help and hired me to assist with PEI’s Premier Entrepreneurial Event held in March 2020 before the pandemic.
“I would definitely recommend CBDC East to anyone considering starting or expanding business because they are great to work with. They take their clients from the very beginning to the end stages of the business plan writing and obtaining loans. If they cannot help with a certain aspect they know where to send you.”
For more information about Cured Creations, visit www.curedcreations.ca.
For more information about Community Business Development Corporation East (CBDC) visit www.cbdc.ca or call 902-838-4106.