Orangeville business partners up for national award

February 16, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Mike Pickford

An Orangeville resident and her business partner are on cloud nine after being nominated for a prestigious national business award that recognizes entrepreneurial mothers across the nation.

Vanessa Miniaci and her business partner Jessica Monkcom, who lives in Beeton, have been recognized as Mompreneur Award finalists for their work in bringing their business, The Yoga Project, to dozens of schools across the GTA. The duo has been listed as one of five finalists vying for the Momentum Award, which recognizes a female-led, non-profit charity or service-based business, at the 6th annual extravaganza, taking place in Toronto on March 2 and 3.

Since launching The Yoga Project in September 2013, the pair have worked hard to come up with a program that offers a wide variety of opportunities for students to learn and practice the foundations and elements of yoga and mindfulness. Speaking to the Citizen this week, Ms. Monkcom said the pair realized there was a real gap in the market when it comes to engaging with students and teaching them the core values of yoga, so they simply sought to plug that gap.

“Both Vanessa and I are teachers and we have a passion for yoga. Pretty quickly we noticed that there’s nothing out there for students in terms of stress reduction, mindfulness and dealing with anxiety, so we came together and worked on a program to try and normalize yoga among all students in Ontario,” Ms. Monkcom said. “Our aim is to transform the way schools view yoga and mindfulness and for them to recognize its importance as a tool for students’ well-being, emotional health and holistic self-care.”

She added, “We believe that, through our programming, we are changing the way students learn while promoting and fostering mindful learning in resilient and confident children.”

To date, The Yoga Project has seen traction in 80 schools across southern Ontario, reaching between 8,000 and 10,000 students. The organization currently offers its programs t schools of  Peel District School Board, York Region District School Board, Toronto District School Board, Simcoe County District School Board, as well as York Catholic District School Board.

“We’re a completely mobile company in the sense that we don’t have a studio anywhere – we deliver our programming in gyms and classrooms all over the GTA,” Ms. Miniaci explains. “We work with children of all ages and make ourselves available all across the region. If a school wants to work with us, all they have to do is call.”

The company received an anonymous nomination for the award, which Vanessa says is a testament to the amazing work the entire team at The Yoga Project has done over the years to have a presence in the community.

“It’s pretty incredible when, once in a blue moon, we get the opportunity to step back and reflect on what we’ve been able to do. Recognize where we started and how far we’ve come,” Vanessa says. “It does feel pretty amazing to receive a nomination. Being mothers, we really feel like we’re helping the younger generation and impact students in the most important area possible. We’re not just focusing on education, we’re looking at the child as a whole and focusing on their mental and physical health to instill wonderful qualities and properties in them that they are going to willingly take with them into adulthood.”

While the pair are obviously excited about the award, they’re most looking forward to networking with like-minded business owners at the ceremony in a couple of weeks.

“Up to this point, this has been a completely solo endeavour on our part. We’re certified teachers with a passion for yoga and children and somehow launched ourselves into running a business,” Jessica said. “It will be nice to network with other moms out there to find how they run their businesses and all the challenges they overcame to get to where they are today.”

For more information on the Mompreneur Awards, visit

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