Advocating for Women Entrepreneurs across Canada

In 2018, the Canadian government established the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy with the goal of doubling the number of women entrepreneurs by 2025. However, these women entrepreneurs continue to face barriers in accessing the financing, mentorship, and networks they need to start and grow a business. The need for continued advocacy of women entrepreneurs is why we created the Startup Women Advocacy Network (SWAN). 

SWAN is a collective of 11 women-identifying entrepreneurs from across the country, each representing a Canadian province or territory. The goal of the collective is to provide a voice for entrepreneurs to champion and advocate for the conditions needed to thrive as women entrepreneurs in Canada. 

Since launching SWAN in 2022, we’ve:

  • Hosted 5 roundtables with government leaders on key topics impacting women entrepreneurs 
  • Invited SWAN members to speak at our webinars and national event series
  • Promoted SWAN members on our podcasts and social media platforms
  • Provided SWAN members with access to exclusive events, conferences, and opportunities in the startup ecosystem

We’re excited to continue this impact with SWAN in 2024. Keep reading to meet the women entrepreneurs representing this year’s cohort.


Ingrid Thomas is the founder of Mommy’s Heart Home Care Inc., a centrally located palliative and end of life care facility that provides specialized care to terminally ill clients. Ingrid personally went through the process of supporting her dying mother while she received home care and later moved to palliative care. She witnessed the lack of basic compassion that her mother received during her care and wanted to change this. Mommy’s Heart’s goals are to treat everyone like family in the care that they receive.

British Columbia

Jessica Bosman is the co-founder and COO of DOUBL, a made to measure bra that can be fitted directly from your smartphone. Their process is simple. You scan yourself in their mobile app privately, securely, and fully clothed to receive your measurements. They use this to create a custom bra made exactly for you.


Donna Mathieson is the founder and managing director of Raven Ozhigaa Development, a not-for-profit construction firm, dedicated to creating safe and affordable housing in Canada’s remote communities. They specialize in innovative and sustainable design creating energy-efficient shelters such as homes, community centres, and hydroponic gardens. Donna has 18 years in the construction industry and has made significant contributions to help Indigenous people start careers in construction. 

New Brunswick

Anne Laurie is the co-founder and president of TRICOAST Education. They equip educational practitioners with the tools and guidance necessary with a novel Curriculum-Based Dynamic Assessment (CBDA) and professional development program. The CBDA reveals each child’s learning potential and guides schools and education systems wanting to enhance their capacity to identify children requiring specialized services.

Newfoundland and Labrador

Constanza Safatle is the founder and CEO of NewBornLander, a brand that creates beautiful, safe, and functional baby products. Each piece is ethically handmade in Newfoundland with a focus on sustainability, high quality, and slow fashion.

Nova Scotia

Heidi Penning is the co-founder and president of Ravens Rest Retreat, a space tucked away near the Bay of Fundy, overlooking Burntcoat Head Park and Five Islands. It’s the perfect place to stay when visiting Nova Scotia for a relaxing and beautiful place to rest your body, reset your mind, and recharge your spirit.


Venesse Lewis is the author and founder of Niya’s Coily World, a platform to improve hair diversity and empowerment by showcasing the beauty of black hair, and promoting cultural awareness and understanding in an accessible and relatable way. They are on a mission to break down stereotypes, challenge beauty standards, and create a global community that appreciates the diverse beauty of textured hair.

Prince Edward Island

Shelley Montreuil is the co-founder and CEO of Trippl Inc, a next generation, all in one travel app. Trippl partners with local tourism associations to bring you gems without having to go through all the hassle of scouring the web. You can add stops to your trip and plan the best route all in one place on the app. 


Swarnamouli Majumdar is the founder and CEO of Zenext AI, a voice-command virtual assistant that supports law enforcement and emergency responders. Zenext is an AI enabled chatbot that bridges the gap between police officers and dispatchers and provides help and connectivity to important emergency agencies like Fire and EMTs with voice interactions.


Krystal Reeves is the founder of Cardinal Beauty, a métis-owned beauty business and lash technician. They offer a variety of beauty services, including spray tans, teeth whitening, and vacuum therapy. 


Ashley Swinton is the founder of Ashley Swinton Photography and Rise and Shine Skateboarding Alliance. Ashley is an artist expressing her creations through analogue photography. She has always been interested in storytelling and healing through the creation of art. Ashley has also been a skateboarder for over 20 years. The lack of female representation in skateboarding led her on a journey of teaching, mentoring and connecting with youth over skateboarding.  


Throughout the year, we’ll profile each of our SWAN members and their businesses and invite them to government roundtables to champion the needs of women entrepreneurs. We’re also still looking for women entrepreneurs to represent Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. If you’re interested in applying, please click here.

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