Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Robyn Broudie, Founder of Roots 2 Rise Outdoors, located in Toronto, ON, Canada.

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

Roots 2 Rise Outdoors offers play-based outdoor exploratory programs for children ages 2 to 10 in Toronto and surrounding areas. We are dedicated to creating a positive impact on our communities and the environment. Roots 2 Rise Outdoors gives children the opportunity to explore, wonder, and let their imaginations run wild. Through child-led, child-directed play, each program offers unique opportunities for children to meet their own developmental needs in their own time. We value the developing process of thought over outcome-based experiences. Time to slow down and connect to themselves, each other, and the natural world.

Tell us about yourself

I spent many years travelling around the world, always drawn to the wild places and the roads less travelled. This led me to work as an international guide, getting paid to travel sounded pretty perfect! Drawn to exploring the natural world, I found my way to the field of Wilderness Therapy, guiding year-round backcountry expeditions for youth and young adults at risk struggling with mental health and addictions. What was obvious to me was getting people back into the natural world, providing space for less distractions and a deeper connection, was fundamental to the healing process.

The increasing need to re-connect ourselves to the natural world, especially for children, has been apparent to me for a long time. With our fast-paced, digitally driven world, these spaces are increasingly vital to our well-being and the health of the planet. I decided to dive deeper to gain more research, so I headed back to school to understand the "why" behind this need. 2020 came along and hit us with a global pandemic. Locked inside, isolated and disconnected from each other, along came Roots 2 Rise Outdoors.

It wasn't exactly planned, however, the idea to get kids outside to explore and play was needed now more than ever. I put the word out, and it gained traction. I started leading small groups of kids into the forest, taking their lead, slowing down, and providing respite from the pressures of the world. This, coupled with the value of connection and creative expression through play and exploration, is exactly what kids needed, now more than ever. I started with about 30 kids a week in our first season to currently, almost two years later, serving over 100 kids a week with a small team of amazing educators!

My motivation is intrinsically driven to continue to do this work. Seeing children thrive in these spaces, their attention and care for each other and the natural world is what fuels me. For many years I had always planned on creating my own business. I had even found notes that I had written over ten years ago, which seem to be almost exactly what has come to be through this company. I guess this business has been in the works for a while.

Roots 2 Rise Outdoors is a collaboration of incredible and passionate educators, inspiring young minds and the wonder and awe of the natural world.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I would say figuring out all of the administration, accounting, and social media. I was never a business person, and social media was not exactly in my wheelhouse. I was always outside playing in the woods!

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

Being comfortable with the unknown, not knowing how the business will unfold each day, season, and year and trusting (trying to) in the process. Having some kind of plan is important, but then providing space and room for that to evolve organically has been a key factor in meeting the needs of the children and communities that we are serving.

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

  1. Be passionate about what you are doing.
  2. Just do it.
  3. Learn as you go - you don't need to know everything before you start.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Enjoy the ride. We so often rush to the next point and forget to appreciate and notice what is happening now. Even when it's tough... don't forget to play!

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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