Joanna Killen

Founder and CEO of Momentum Canada Skills Development

I have been witness to entrepreneurship every since I was a little girl. My mom is an incredibly talented artist. When I was a toddler, she started a business called Hearts & Flowers. She sold a variety of barrettes, pins, earrings, pendants etc with her very timely toll painting. From here I was exposed to her going to craft shows, the Fredericton Market, Christmas markets and the like. Her art was around me always and she was always trying to figure out how she could make her passion a business.

Throughout my youth I pursued entrepreneurship in so many forms. I participated in Junior Achievement, Key (Kiwanis) Club, Student Council and eventually accessed the Enterprise Saint John Youth Entrepreneurship Program and started my first business 'Surf City Blooms' in 2002 at the foot of the City Market.

That year I employed my younger sister Ingrid (of Ms. New Brunswick fame) to work with me and run the little business. From there I went back to school, was part of a band called The Port City Allstars for a year, then ran away to Denmark for a UNB school exchange.

I learned a lot about the social-centric ideals of Scandinavia and came back to New Brunswick with a definite mindset change. Ultimately, I finished my degree in Atlantic Canadian History and landed in the working world at ExxonMobil, T4G, Brunswick Square and ultimately Enterprise Saint John. I was the definition of a millennial job hopper. Come to find out, this was my needing to be my own boss....

My experience at Enterprise Saint John as the manager of the Vennture Garage Business Incubator and Seed Loan Program was the evident lack of support for entrepreneurs when it comes to what happens after the programs end.

Throughout my journey of working for others, watching my mom, helping countless entrepreneurs at ESJ and being witness to how other places do things, I really wanted to start my own thing.

In 2016 at a Startup Weekend in Moncton, I got up and pitched my idea. An idea about an organization that could support entrepreneurs as they grow but also allow for younger 'me's' to come in and help entrepreneurs like I do. In my own experience, I feel like there is room for people that want to be the support system for many and not necessarily focus on one thing all the time. I really wanted to make room for people who have struggled to find their place like I have.

Momentum Canada became my full time job in January of 2017. This was a big decision for me because I am a mom of an awesome little dude who relies on me. I have been so fortunate to have such support and guidance from mentors, funders like Pond Deshpande Centre, Enterprise Saint John and Futurpreneur who believe in my and my business partners vision.

The Maritimes is a magical place where you just have to ask for help if you need it. I have been trying to find my way for quite some time and honestly, I don't think I would be where I am at now in any other place. I love that Amplify East exists and that I get to hear the stories of other women like me in our region who are forging their own paths. I feel so privileged to me amongst you all!


Entrepreneur, Feminist, Advocate for Social Change

Joanna Killen