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Women Entrepreneur Series: Kicking Sugar to the Curb with SmartSweets

Lauren Marinigh | February 21, 2017

On an average day we consume in excess of 70 grams of sugar and Americans spend an estimated $1 trillion yearly fighting the damaging health effects of sugar, which ranges from obesity to cancer. However, not one confectionery player is addressing sugar reduction in a natural way. “This is a large, urgent and valuable problem,” Tara explained. “It’s time for us to disrupt this market.” And disrupt is exactly what Tara is doing, at only 22 years old she has created the first smart candy that kicks sugar, SmartSweets.

The inspiration for SmartSweets came from Tara’s childhood. “Growing up I developed an unhealthy relationship with food, affecting my self-esteem and body image,” she shared. “As I got older, it became apparent that healthy relationships in all aspects of life come from smaller, smarter choices.” A life lesson that inspired her quest to create SmartSweets, a candy that you don’t feel guilty about because they’re loaded with fiber and are naturally sweetened.

With the help of financing from Futurpreneur Canada and BDC, Tara was able to have her first manufacturing run to launch their product on retail store shelves. To date you can find SmartSweets in over 200 stores nationally and you’ll soon see them in stores like Whole Foods, Bed, Bath & Beyond and Pharmasave. The brand has also built a #KickSugar community of over 17,000 on Instagram and growing, and has attracted the attention of several media outlets.Package of SmartSweets sour candy.

This fearless female entrepreneur is pushing boundaries and changing the way we look at the things we are putting into our body. Getting herself to where she is today at such a young age, Tara explains that it’s all about standing her ground, speaking confidently and not letting someone else’s assertiveness make her timid. Her tips for other women entrepreneurs are:

1) Own it! Confidence is everything and key to growing a business. “Whether you believe you can or can’t, you’re right!” is one of my favourite quotes.

2) Ask questions. I don’t think anyone ever has it all figured out and that is 100% okay, but it’s important to admit that and ask questions. I think it takes a level of courage to say: “I don’t know, what do you think?”

3) Think big, then think even bigger. I truly believe our mind is the only limit to what we can achieve. Pretty nifty when you think about that truly anything can manifest into reality (with belief, a ton of perseverance, courage and all that good stuff).

Tara is just one of the many women entrepreneurs changing the face of entrepreneurship in Canada and both Futurpreneur and BDC are so proud to help people like her turn their idea into reality. You can show your support for women entrepreneurs like Tara by sharing this story on social media and joining our Thunderclap campaign here for International Women’s Day on March 8th, 2017.

If you’re a woman looking to start your own business, visit our website to connect with one of our experts.

Written by: Lauren Marinigh, Social Media & Content Specialist, Futurpreneur Canada