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    5 ways to experience VSW like never before

    Get ready to experience VSW like never before! Just like you, we miss in person events so we thought to ourselves, how do we bring the physical VSW experience to your home?

    Introducing… the VSW Experiential Package 🎁!

    We've partnered with BudgieBox to create our VIP Experience Box that would bring thoughtful, ethical and high-quality gift boxes and interactive workshops to your home. We have five amazing startups contributing to this one-of-a-kind box and we are so excited to hear about these startups’ journeys and experience their products at home.

    We chatted with each of these startups to hear more about their entrepreneurial journey and to learn more about what interactive experience we can expect!

    Inkwell Cards

    Andrea from Inkwell Cards

    Meet Andrea from Inkwell! ✉️

    How it started: From the time I was a little girl running lemonade stands and organizing garage sales, a part of me always knew I was going to be an entrepreneur. During University, I had the opportunity to lease and run a coffeehouse in a National Park which was my first real foray at entrepreneurship. After this experience of managing a team, keeping books, writing business plans etc. I was hooked!

    However, it wasn’t until 13 years later after a career at Lafarge & Nexen that I was able to go out on my own again. The road to Inkwell Cards has been anything but a straight line. Inkwell was born out of an original business that never took off. I took the best bits of that business and conceived Inkwell. Being an entrepreneur is a labour of love. Having Inkwell Cards is an around the clock endeavour, a labour of love.” - Andrea Loborec


    What’s in the box? Inkwell will be including a 6-card package in VSW Experience Package. This card boxset is filled with designs that are very on-point with our new normal. These COVID inspired designs are the perfect cards to send to the loved ones we’ve been unable to see.

    What we can expect? Together, we will experience the art of writing a thoughtful card, learning about pivoting industries and starting your own business

    Learn more:


    Frost Bites Cone Stand

    Say hi to Peggy from FrostBites! 🍹

    How did you get started with Frostbites?

    “I refer to myself as the accidental entrepreneur. I set out to shift gears from a job that I was ready to move on from, and while I was going to figure out what my next move was going to be, my husband and I thought shaving ice (making snow cones) at the farmers markets along the sea to sky one summer would be a fun break. Plus, we would be getting to work together for a few months. We made our own syrups, and it wasn't too long before we were asked to bottle them.

    Pretty much every step of the way I have made decisions based on customers requests. Our first foray into retail was because the wife of the owner of Edible Canada thought our product would sell well in their store. Because I never had a plan for a specific business, the road has perhaps been longer than for most. We've figured each step out along the way without much guidance.

    Peggy at Frost Bite

    Right before COVID we made the bold move to sign a lease on a space to build out a production facility, that would also act as a commissary kitchen to incubate small businesses - with a mission to help others get started on their food business journey. Our kitchen opened last September, and because of COVID our business has taken off.

    I've had a lifetime career in the food industry - buyer, product developer, caterer, private chef, specialty food manager, private label procurement manager. All aspects of my life have played into me steering the business to what it is today.” - Peggy Speir

    What’s in the box? FrostBites Syrup will be including the Hula Hula Cordial, a must for tiki drink lovers. It is their version of the beloved Hawaii drink, POG. Hula Hula is made with passionfruit, mandarin orange, guava, and lime. It is fruity, punchy, bright, and great for all ages including kids! It can also be used to make mai tais and tequila sunrises.

    Look out for their drink and ice cream recipe! Find out more:



    What’s the story behind JusTea? 🍵

    “There is a Swahili saying commonly used in Kenya, “Pole Pole” which translates to “slowly slowly”. Whether used for the traffic jams, waiting for the power to come back on, or the pot to boil water for Chai, this saying also speaks to the process of developing JusTea, our direct-trade partnership with small-scale Kenyan tea farmers.

    My family and I first travelled from Vancouver to Kenya in 2011, and have since made over 10 trips from Vancouver to Nandi Hills. Our business in Kenya is built on relationships and trust. We have found success with our farmers by first developing a strong family-like bond with them and then exploring unique market opportunities together. We spent years simply researching the best methods to craft a new whole-leaf, artisan tea from Kenya and these efforts culminated with the launch of our Purple Teas which won Product of the Year in BC.

    JusTea Kenya Team

    Purple Tea only grows in Kenya and is the healthiest loose leaf tea you can drink, containing more antioxidants than green tea and half the caffeine. With our Kenyan team, we have set up Kenya's first-ever farmer direct tea partnership. This Fair-Trade partnership has created over 200 jobs for tea pickers/farmers in Kenya.

    JusTea = Justly Made Tea” * -Paul Bain

    What’s in the box? Justea will provide a 2.8oz tin of Purple Rain with a hand carved Kenyan spoon! This special tea won BC’s Product of the Year Gold Medal! Purple Tea contains more antioxidants than green tea and half the caffeine.

    Join the JusTea session during VSW and learn from a team master as they discuss creating ethical global partnerships. Read more:

    East Van Roasters

    East Van Roasters

    What’s East Van Roasters all about? ☕️ East Van Roasters is a social enterprise that provides dignified and compassionate work opportunities for at-risk women in the DTES. They make award-winning specialty coffee and bean-to-bar chocolate using single-origin, direct, and fair-trade beans.

    What’s in the box? East Van Roasters will be including 1lb of Sultana Blend coffee beans. Join the EVR session and learn to brew the perfect cup of coffee, PLUS providing meaningful employment opportunities! Learn more:

    In Vacanza Pastificio

    In Vacanza Pastificio

    How did In Vacanza Pastificio come about? 🍝 In February 2020, Eryn went to Italy as the world was on the brink of a pandemic. But I quote “it was the best two weeks of her life”.

    “I ate the freshest most delicious food I’ve ever had, learned to make handmade pastas and fresh, simple sauces. I drank cocktails and peronis walking down cobble streets and indulged in 5 Euro pasta fresca to go (or Fancy Street Food, as I called it.) When you’re on vacation you enjoy la dolce vita. There’s no rules; you’re on vacation. So I decided I wanted to bring that life home with me and start a food truck.”

    That food truck can be found in between Crown Street and Rupert Street in North Vancouver.

    What’s in the box?

    Look out for 2 pasta nests and sauce in the Experience Box. Plus, join Eryn in the VSW session to hear more about starting a business at the start of the pandemic and building the right team. Oh, and also more pasta recipes!

    Read more:

    We are beyond thrilled to be partnering with BudgieBox to bring you all these goodies to your home.

    Supporting small businesses in our community is one thing, but learning about the startup scene in Vancouver is another amazing opportunity you can’t get anywhere else! So whether you want to find out more about our wonderful startups and entrepreneurship, or want fun activities during Vancouver Startup Week, you should definitely grab your own VSW Experience Box while supplies last!

    Get your VSW Experience Box Today!