Ontario East Advantage - Peterborough - Bhayna Patel


My name is Bhayna Patel, and my business is Just Toys Educational. I was born in Uganda, Africa, I spent my child hood in Africa, and I grew up in India and graduated with Masters in finance in India. I came to Canada 20 years ago; I always wanted to start my own business and I wanted to do something with children, but I'm not a teacher.

So I started Just Toys Educational, specializing in products, which are hands on, minds off. Kids are playing but they are learning as well. I'm an East Indian and we speak Punjabi, which is a traditional language, none of my parents spoke English, however I studied at an English school, we grew up learning English. I think it is very important to understand and speak the local language.

Communication is a key factor in a successful business. The toy industry was a totally new venture to me; I had no previous experience with educational toys, games, and retail business of any kind. I did a lot of study and research in getting the right products and suppliers.

To find a location, I talked to business owners in the area and quickly found out that they have been the original owners for almost 10 years in this particular area, so I think the location was fantastic. The landlords were wonderful, knowing that it was my first business; they gave me a very reasonable rate. So, I had a good product and supplier research and study, I had the location, my next step was to go to the bank and get support.

To run any business or to start any business it is very important to get the support from the bank, you cannot run a business without a bank. You see commercials, the bank commercials, advertising, enticing, and encouraging people to start business to get support from them. The reality strikes when you actually go to the bank. I was single with some savings, no equity, no collateral, I soon found out it is very important to have a very good credit, excellent credit record.

I had a good business plan, a good understanding of the market in the business I was going to do. I went with my personal bank and with a very small line of credit I was able to establish my business.

When I came to Peterborough to start my business I again met with the local business advisory centre, they were very helpful to me, in fact they introduced me to the local networking group, a women's business networking group, which I am a member of until today, and it has helped me tremendously in networking, getting involved with the community, fundraising, and its been great. It's a beautiful town, it's got so much water around here, its great for swimming, it's just got a beautiful natural beauty.

The other thing I wanted to mention about Ontario, not only is the natural environment of Peterborough enticing and outstanding but its also the people and the community, its so friendly community to live and to do the business with.