Déborah Cherenfant: builder of women entrepreneurs
Déborah Cherenfant in 2012 then in 2022
Ten years ago almost to the day, she made her first sale within her fashion business. Today, it is she who paves the way to success for many women who are betting on entrepreneurship. Déborah Cherenfant not only has a flair for beautiful accessories, she also knows how to bring success to women.
“I used to help people manage their business, but I had to even afraid of throwing myself into the void”, she admits candidly to justify the fact that she was coaching with SAJE Montreal, an NPO that promotes the development of SMEs, even before having tasted entrepreneurship. .
The series “#10YearsChallenge special women in the lead”aims to celebrate the meteoric rise of inspiring female personalities in Quebec over the past ten years.
To get rid of the “impostor syndrome” that inhabited it, and motivated by a strong passion for fashion, she founded Atelier Couleur, formerly Couleur Design. A few months later, her accessories were featured at the Mode & Design.
The company recently ceased operations. Not because the accessories were no longer sold, but because Déborah Cherefant had another ambition. That of facilitating women's access to the business world.
This is why the 30-year-old of Haitian origin founded the blog Mots d'elles highlighting leading women, then became president of the board of directors of Compagnie F, the first organization devoted to women's entrepreneurship, transforming the entire team (due to a few dissenting voices) before assuming the presidency of the Junior Chamber of Commerce of Montreal in the midst of a pandemic, from 2020 to 2021. All this in addition to accepting a position as regional director specializing in women's entrepreneurship at TD Bank. An opportunity that may seem tailor-made for her, but “not at all. It looks like (laughs)! It was custom-made by the universe,” she says.
She acts as a mentor for a few women entrepreneurs, but her primary mission is to change the banks' approach to women, to “remove obstacles, barriers, including historical barriers. Hey, just a few years ago women had to have a male guarantor in order to get a loan and start a business,” she laments.
< p class="has-jaune-background-color has-background">Occupation
2012: Founder of the Atelier Couleur brand as well as consultant and coordinator at SAJE Montreal
2022:Regional Director – Women Entrepreneurs Quebec and Atlantic at TD
But wouldn't she rather be at the head of a company? Yes. “Ex and future entrepreneurs have often said to me, 'I don't know how you do it. I could never work for a boss.” Well, that doesn't bother me. I like to work. I call it intrapreneurship.”
What has been the most difficult is to move from the flamboyant world of fashion to the banks, traditionally more gray. “But I focus more on the projects, on the human rather than only on the financial aspect. This is where I will look for valorization: in the accomplishment of women.”
It obviously does not exclude the possibility of starting a new business. “Ten years from now, I see myself in a space full of finds inspired by Africa and the West Indies, surrounded by smiling customers and, why not, by my children who circle around me”, imagines- she, tenderly.
3 women models
Christiane Taubira, former French Minister of Justice, “because she broke codes”.
Isabelle Hudon, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) “who broke barriers”.
Dominique Anglade, Leader of the Official Opposition of Quebec, “for her dynamism and her passion. She's on fire!”