Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Leighton Walters, founder of Found Coffee, located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

We are Found Coffee - an Aussie-influenced specialty cafe bringing some of the finest and most unique coffees and goodies to our local coffee community. Fresh pastries, hand-made healthy food options, premium coffee, served with care and precision, we offer a genuinely authentic Australian experience with a focus on community service. Our community helps us decide where a portion of our proceeds go each month, along with pioneering initiatives that place value on humanity through working with already existing charitable networks... Coffee has never felt this good.

Tell us about yourself

Being born with a birth defect, called "Spina Bifida," I early on needed to accept that I was different. After being bullied in school, struggling to make friends, my first job was in a coffee shop, where I felt like I was part of a team and was able to put a smile on people's faces. I quickly fell in love with not just what coffee is, but what it does - bring people together. Coffee is the conduit of community. I knew early on that I wanted to pursue a purpose with my life; I didn't want to let my birth defect become my life defect.

After 18 years in the industry, opening 33 locations for people with more money and more connections, all over the world, but mainly in Australia and Indonesia. After first moving to Canada in June 2019, I quickly started 2 locations of an expanding business from NYC. A week after moving to Toronto, I met a special lady who quickly captivated my heart.

After completing my contract, a month later, the pandemic hit, and I was faced to decide between moving back to Australia or doubling down on Canada. I chose to double down, sold everything I owned in Australia, and started my own business in the middle of the pandemic. My 34th cafe, finally my own.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I would say, to date, our biggest accomplishment is staying afloat in the middle of a global pandemic, with no government support - and winning the Best New Coffee Shop in Toronto in the middle of it all. We are thankful.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

People. The best and the hardest things about building a business. Find people who don't treat your business like a stepping stone, find people who treat your business like building blocks, and do the same to them.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Know your why. Your why is what will drive your what. When times get tough, it's your why that will get you out of bed and refocus your attention on the things that matter.
  2. Be a leader, not a manager.
  3. Be vulnerable and real. People cannot connect with the fake you.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solopreneur that you'd like to share, then email; we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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