Dianne Finnigan, Founder & CEO of The Dirty Seahorse, an eco-friendly company using recycled plastic to make clothing, said she has learned an enormous amount from participating in the Rhyze Ventures program. “I had no idea how much I would learn or how much I needed to learn,” Finnigan said. “The program provided incredible resources.”

Marketing and website support provided through the program has great value for Finnigan. She also valued the resources she received from other participants who were also helpful sharing tips from their own business experiences. Attending the International Women’s Day Guelph-Wellington was another source of learning and networking that Finnigan appreciated.

One surprising outcome from the program was learning how much research was required and still is! “I had no idea how challenging marketing and finding green suppliers would be,” she said. “I discovered I had to do a shocking amount of research and it’s still ongoing!”

Rhyze Ventures has inspired her to shift the way she approaches building her business with help from the program to develop her business plan, branding, sourcing practices and marketing. She is continuing to learn currently focusing on ecommerce.

Inspired by a trip to Hawaii with her children where they learned about the devastating effects of plastic on marine life, her children encouraged her to start this business, Finnigan said. “We’re not like ordinary companies, we are different.” The company is committed to recycling, using green suppliers and giving back to the community and the environment.

Although COVID initially slowed her down, Finnigan said once things started to open again her business really took off. “I think COVID has made people more conscientious of their surroundings and their choices.”

Finnigan’s son came up with the name for the company and her daughter works with her in addition to four post-secondary interns and her marketing consultant. She said her business has grown exponentially. “I’m amazed how many boxes we’ve checked and how much we’ve grown while having the support of Rhyze Ventures.”