Growing entrepreneurism

Mohawk Foundation board member Stephen Aikman gives back to the college that gave him his start

Entrepreneur Stephen Aikman credits Mohawk College for setting him on a course to multi-million-dollar success.

“Mohawk is where I got my start. It was my foundation of learning. I have a business degree and an MBA and I can honestly say I learned the most at Mohawk College.”

Aikman, who graduated from Business Administration, is the founder of an organic skin care company that merged into a venture that went public in 2019 with a market capitalization of $30 million.

The Centre for Entrepreneurship is a great advantage for students, he says.

“It will continue to grow the path the college is on. Mohawk already has a great reputation and now business and entrepreneurship can be synonymous with Mohawk.”

Aikman’s 25-year career at RBC began with his selection from 400 applicants for a training program. He was told his time learning practical business skills at Mohawk was the deciding factor.

He founded All Natural Advice in 2013 with a $1,000 investment, knowing nothing about skin care, but understanding the market opportunity.

“We saw the future was in the e-commerce space. It would give us a chance to compete side by side with the large traditional beauty brands.”

Within three years, the company’s products were selling in 12 countries and All Natural Advice was the No. 1 selling brand in its segment on Amazon in Canada and Australia.

In 2018, the company was sold to health and wellness company Mimi’s Rock for more than $10 million. Aikman is a major shareholder and has stayed on as vice-president of development to help grow the brand and break into new markets, including China and the Middle East.

Aikman joined the board of directors of the Mohawk Foundation in 2020 and hopes it could play a role in providing bursaries, sponsorships or Dragons’ Den-style investment to a next generation of would-be entrepreneurs.