In the spotlight: Some successful women entrepreneurs of Canada
Women entrepreneurship remains steady and often faces unprecedented challenges as in the recent past. In Canada, women entrepreneurs remain optimistic and exhibit great resilience and innovation according to a recent study -The State of Women’s Entrepreneurship 2022. Women continue to be drawn to entrepreneurship, and they are also displaying high-growth and earning potential.
So, women entrepreneurs is a growing community in Canada, and they benefit from being a part of a strong business environment, social and political stability, and with access to education, to help them start and scale-up their company. Additionally, there is support from the Federal Government of Canada through a $2 billion program – to double the number of women-owned business by 2025!
The encouraging environment reaches out to achieve gender equality in business leadership and inclusive economic growth too; and also helps promote entrepreneurship among women and to help expand women-owned businesses.
Here’s highlighting some prominent women entrepreneurs in Canada.
> Tonia Jahshan, Co-founder, Steeped Tea
She created Steeped Tea, after being inspired by a cup of Cream of Earl Grey made with loose tea leaves. Her aim was to help others share in the experience of such rich flavors. Co-founded along with her husband, Hatem, Tonia Jahshan has established a business that allows tea-lovers to enjoy a quality product. It does not stop there, but empowers others to become entrepreneurs, too. Today, backed by investors and consultants, Steeped Tea has reached a high status in Canada and the US.
> Shahrzad Rafati, Founder & CEO, Broadband TV
Shahrzad Rafati is Founder and CEO of BroadbandTV, a Vancouver-based digital entertainment company. This is the third largest video property in the world, behind only Google and Facebook. With her family seeped in entrepreneurship, it was literally in her DNA, as her parents and brother are also entrepreneurs. She launched her business, right out of school when online video was still a new concept. BroadbandTV pioneered a technology and business model in which all parties benefit; and this was soon after she realized the need to connect content owners, content creators, audiences, and advertisers. She is driven by her passion in empowering this generation of content creators – by actually providing them the tools they need to succeed.
> Stephanie Ciccarelli , Co-founder & Chief Brand Officer, Voices.com
Stephanie Ciccarelli, Co-founder and Chief Brand Officer of Voices.com first developed her business idea with her husband, David. This company is now the world’s largest online marketplace for voice actors and voice-actor employers. She is considered one of the most “connected” people in the industry. For over two decades, she has used her voice to empower women through spoken word, written word and song. Her podcast, Sound Stories, ropes in high-profile creatives – to help others improve their craft.
> Mandy Rennehan, Founder, Freshco
Mandy Rennehan founded Freshco, in 1995, when she was just 20 years old. It is the first full-service, 24-hour, on-call retail maintenance provider with full coverage across Canada and the Eastern US. She named the company Freshco – because she was a ‘fresh’ face in a male-dominated industry. Today, Freshco is the most successful retail maintenance and construction company in Canada with prestigious clients including Tiffany & Co., Apple, Nike, The Gap, and more.
> Krista LaRiviere, Co-founder & CEO, gShift
With everything going ‘digital’, online presence is critical in today’s business world. This is something that Krista LaRiviere, CEO and Co-founder of gShift fully understood. A proven entrepreneur, gShift is LaRiviere’s third digital marketing company. She had co- founded cgk Technologies Group (1999) and Hot Banana Software (2004). In her current role, she drives the strategic direction of gShift and is responsible for the overall operations and results of the company.
The area of expertise of her company is that it helps marketers and agencies get control of their entire web presence – to rank higher organically in the search engines.
> Susan Niczowski, Co-founder, Summer Fresh
It was a simple idea that inspired Susan Niczowski. Her passion for recreating family recipes with simple and real ingredients that are easily found in any kitchen is what inspired her to create Summer Fresh. She had founded the company with her mother in 1991. When Summer Fresh first began, they only had 18 recipes; today the company has more than 2,000 products, including dips, salads, snacks, and easy meals.
Her clear vision was consistently to give people quality food they can enjoy with their loved ones, without having to spend and waste hours in the kitchen.