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Local female entrepreneurs among top 100 nationally

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

By Dave Hall, The Windsor Star

Three Windsor-based businesswomen, all owners of staffing and human resources agencies, have been named among Profit Magazine's top 100 female entrepreneurs across Canada.

Meighen Nehme of The Job Shoppe, who made the annual list for the third time, was ranked ninth. Colleen Hurst of Personnel by ProStaff makes her debut in 22nd place and Maureen Lucas, a five-timer who runs LucasWorks!, is 93rd nationally.

Nehme opened the Job Shopper in 2003 and the company has recorded remarkable growth, bringing in between $5 million and $10 million in revenue from four offices across Southwestern Ontario.

"It's been far better than I could have hoped from the day when we started in a small 10-by-10 office," said Nehme, winner of last year's Windsor Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce small company of the year award. "It brings added pressure of course since we now have more staff and more people for whom we're responsible."

"It's been great though and it's something you can't do without a strong supporting cast," said Nehme, whose husband Tony now works in the business. "We've been able to expand and maintain strong relationships with all our clients and customers."

The company also has offices in London, Kitchener and Mississauga and had improved its bottom line by 371 per cent in the past three years.

Hurst, who opened her agency 15 years ago, made a strategic decision at the beginning of the recent recession to begin diversifying her client list and moving away from a heavy reliance on the automotive sector.

"During the height of the recession, I'd say we lost about 40 automotive clients and I knew we had to find a more diverse base," said Hurst. "We've been fortunate to do that and I would automotive represents about 40-45 per cent of our client base now compared to 85 per cent five years ago."

"It's been instrumental in our growth," said Hurst, whose company also brings in between $5 million and $10 million in revenue, according to Profit.

The company's revenue has grown by about 310 per cent in the past three years.

Five-timer Lucas, who opened her agency in 2005, acknowledged it's getting harder and harder to make the list.

"There are always growth criteria you have to meet and so far we're doing that," said Lucas, who has office in Kitchener, London and Woodstock. "We've been fortunate in that we've always looked for the new growth sectors whether that's agriculture, aerospace or whatever because you have to constantly diversify your client base in order to thrive."

"And it's great for all of us that we're able to be included on this list," said Lucas of Hurst and Nehme.

LucasWorks! also did between $5 million and $10 million in revenue, according to Profit, but revenues remained stable over the three-year measurement period.

Click here to view the full article on the Windsor Star.