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Meet Sang Le and Arielle Lok, RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards Ones to Watch Recipients

Sang Le and Arielle Lok are the co-founders of Peko, Western Canada’s first online grocery for “peculiar” and surplus products at up to 40% off retail prices. They’ve been on a mission to fight food waste & empower access to affordable, healthy food since May 2021. To date, they have diverted 350,000+ pounds of produce from landfills and saved their customers over $1 million on their grocery bills.

Sang is a Vietnamese-born serial entrepreneur, having started 5 businesses since she was eleven years old. In 2021, Sang was selected to be a part of Next 36, a premiere startup accelerator for the top 36 young founders in Canada. Sang has worked at Clearco, Cisco, LinkedIn, ecobee, Jupiter (Y Combinator S19), Kantar Consulting, and ZaloPay. Sang is fascinated by consumer psychology and turning “undesirable” things into something that’s worth talking about.

Arielle also started multiple businesses as a teenager but was recognized more for her strides in Canada’s food policy, specifically pertaining to Canadian children under the poverty line. Her advocacy work resulted in the additional allocation of hundreds of millions of dollars directly towards accessible food projects. Arielle fervently rants about produce economics — “Pekonomics” — and how it can be leveraged to serve the most underserved.


I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur when… I started a newspaper for pre-teens at 11 years old (Sang). 

Entrepreneurship is made for me because… I love to create something out of nothing (Sang). 

The impact I hope to make through my work is… to reduce food waste and empower access to affordable, healthy diets (Sang).

Leaving the world a better place than when I entered, and making sure future generations have an extraordinary base to work continuously off of. Every small step forward now is a legacy that contributes to a larger mission! (Arielle).

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned on my entrepreneurial journey is… that you’ll never know the answer to everything and that’s fine — you’ll learn along the way! (Sang).

Building startups are hard but there is nothing more rewarding, and the people who stick by your side throughout your founder journey are lifelong relationships (Arielle).

My proudest accomplishment is… diverting more than 200,000 pounds of food from the landfill and saving close to $1,000,000 in grocery bills for Canadians in two years! (Sang).

Putting my whole being into Peko for the last two years and mentoring incredible young women who are passionate about sustainable food systems! (Arielle).

The biggest risk I took that paid off was… to start my company Peko while being an international student at the University of British Columbia during the pandemic (Sang). 

Moving to Vancouver to start Peko with Sang despite never meeting in person, not having any friends or family in the city, and going to university in Montréal (Arielle).

My biggest setback has been… launching our first delivery, even with supply shortages and receiving the toughest backlash, — rightfully so (Sang).

Balancing being a student and being a founder (Arielle).

I overcame it by… leaning on my support system, doing an internal reflection with my co-founder, and making things right with each customer personally (Sang).

Pitching Peko to all my professors in a plea to let me skip classes and run the show from Vancouver. Turns out, being earnest and demonstrating a clear passion for solving a pressing problem goes a long way! (Arielle).

The best advice I’ve received as an entrepreneur was… to listen to your customers and be selective about who you choose as your investors (Sang). 

A dose of delusion is key to building moonshot companies (Arielle).

I surprise people when I tell them… I went to work and witnessed our biggest sales week ever, just a few days after a major landslide accident (Sang). 

If I had an extra hour in the day, I would use it to… hone my tennis or skiing skills (Sang). 

Walk through my favourite grocery store and admire new produce offerings every day (Arielle).

If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… I sang a YouTube commercial for The Laughing Cow, a cheese brand, as a teenager (Sang).

The future excites me because… we have another chance to leave the world a better place than when we found it (Sang).

There are no bounds on what humanity can accomplish together. It seems like there is an infinite amount of opportunity for civilization to continue learning, and we might not even be scratching the surface yet! (Arielle).


To learn more about Peko, check out the brand on Instagram @pekoproduce. To keep up with Sang and Arielle, follow them on Instagram @ariellelok and @sangcastic.