It has been a hard year for the local economy, but a large number of entrepreneurs across Waterloo Region are taking this new normal as an opportunity to create a new business.

“We continue to receive a number of inquiries every day from people who are thinking of starting a business,” said Chris Farrell, the Manager of the Waterloo Region Small Business Centre.

The Pulao Gals, run by Zerka Mya and her mother just opened a week ago.

According to Mya, comfort food has been the key to happiness for and her family throughout the pandemic, and they wanted to help share that feeling with other people. Although they knew it would be challenging to start a business during the pandemic and in the middle of a second lockdown, they wanted to help share those good feelings with other people.

“A lot of people were like why you are opening it right now. I just thought more than anything during the pandemic I found myself missing comfort food. So pulao is just that, it's a dish to just enjoy,” said Mya.

Continuing to adapt, Cafe du Monde Creperie in Cambridge, which opened last February, has made the move online.

“Part of my focus was to make sure that by December a site ready, functioning for people to order online and we got that going so that has helped,” said Nadia Dragusanu, the owner of Cafe du Monde Creperie.

The Dundee Arts Collective in New Dundee opened in September. An extended lockdown meant boxing up the creative process for people to take home.

“Our kits are designed for a one-time project. So you're given the exact amount of supplies that you'll need. All of the tools that you might need to create the project and it's like a one and done,” said Jenny Miller, co-owner of The Dundee Arts Collective.

With so much uncertainty ahead, these new business owners say their passion for creating keeps them going.

“This has been my passion and then Zerka came along and it's been her passion,” said Shahgul Mya of The Pulao gals, “I’ve always love cooking. I cook at home and now I’m cooking for the rest of the Kitchener Waterloo people.”