New Canadian living her dream after winning $10K through entrepreneur contest

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WATCH ABOVE: A young budding business woman came to this country with nothing. And by all definition she had to start over. But as Jill Croteau reports -- her tenacity along with a brand new food concept has made her literally - a winner – Feb 15, 2017

An aspiring entrepreneur has received a big boost to her startup business after winning a contest at her Calgary college.

Sara Barreto, 24, is new to this country. She arrived in Canada a year and a half ago after leaving her family, friends and an environmental-engineering career in Colombia to start over.  She had never spoken a word of English.

“Since I was a kid, I’ve always been an entrepreneur and all my life I wanted to be a successful woman.”

Barreto has overcome all kinds of obstacles in pursuit of her passion to become a business owner. She created WafflePops – breakfast on a stick.

Strawberry Banana Nutella WafflePop. Jill Croteau

“Canadians love breakfast and there was no real presence of fast food.” Barreto said. “I said, ‘Sara, you need the money to build a business. You have to do it, it doesn’t matter about your English or feelings being new in Canada,’ So I started with waffles. I love waffle with all my heart.”

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She entered a competition at the school she currently attends, Bow Valley College. The contest, called VentureQuest, was for budding entrepreneurs and Barreto won the top prize. Her $10,000 winnings will help her start the WafflePops business. She will also receive help with public relations, web development and coaching.

Sara Barreto accepting her winnings at Bow Valley Gala February 9, 2017. Sara Barreto

“I was so surprised and I was really happy.” Barreto said. “I can’t believe (it). Even now, it’s like, ‘You won? Really, you won?'”

She’s already committed to hiring single moms to help them finance their own post-secondary education.

“Through all my life, I have noticed struggles in all circles of my family,” Barreto said. “They were raising (their) own children and how hard it was to get help in life.”

Her real-life story inspired her business slogan: “Don’t live a little… live a waffle.”

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Barreto is working on trying to secure a space in the Calgary Farmers’ Market as a potential location to start selling her WafflePops.