The Startup Women Podcast is all about supporting YOU to start and build a thriving business. On the show, we connect you with leading experts, entrepreneurs, and organizations that provide capital, mentorship, training, tools and other support to help you to make your vision a reality, faster.

The Startup Women Podcast is a production of Startup Canada, Canada’s entrepreneurship organization. This podcast is presented in partnership with the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank. Welcome to the show!

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Latest Episode

Taking Your Seat at the Table with Aja Horsley – March 4, 2021

Women-only networks and mentorship opportunities are vital in leveling the playing field and building a more gender-balanced world – but Aja Horsley, CEO of Drizzle Honey, thinks women belong at every table where decisions are made.   

With a background in Environmental Science and Urban Agriculture development, Aja has led research projects and start-ups in this space with her passion for sustainable food production. She is currently the CEO of Drizzle Honey, a honey products company sold across North America that focuses on changing how the world uses honey. Aja is enthusiastic about bringing innovation to market and bolstering   female entrepreneurship.

She was also recently recognized as a Changemaker as part of the Inniskillin Changemaker Initiative, in partnership with Startup Canada. 

“As women, we need to join male networking circles. Don’t be afraid to join, sit at the table, and lean in. Make your business known.”

On this week’s Startup Women Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Aja discusses navigating B-Corp and Women-Owned Certifications, flexible work schedules as support for new mothers, and perfecting her “nap time hustle”.

Recently Aired Episodes


Building the Right Legacy with Yamila Franco – February 25, 2021

Traditional stakeholders often include customers, staff, and suppliers – but what if we all treated the land as a key stakeholder? Enter Yamila Franco, Co-Founder of Nyoka Design Labs!

Yamila is an Afro-Indigenous Womxn bringing years of experience in impact-driven entrepreneurship & clean technology. Her work is centered around empowering communities to innovate & co-create alternative solutions to solve Earth’s most-pressing socio-economic and environmental challenges. With an Honours in Biology & a background in business and finance, Yamila works on bringing Nyoka’s vision and mission to life through their circular economy design hub. Yamila believes that research, entrepreneurship, community, and identity are interconnected and therefore leverages her skills as a way to empower fellow innovators. Earlier this year she was awarded the Representation, Engagement, Participation Youth Award by HERE in Canada due to her advocacy, and anti-racism work in the community and was a recipient of both the regional and national Startup prize at the 2020 Startup Canada Canadian Export Challenge
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Yamila’s knowledge is built on wholistic enterprise design, giving back to the Land, and sustainable development goals. Outside her work with Nyoka, she is a community advocate for financial inclusion, education and empowerment of racialized women and currently supports various organizations for mobilizing knowledge and building resilient communities. 

“Sometimes becoming a better leader has to do with us becoming better people.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Yamila discusses the importance of differing perspectives in entrepreneurship, treating the land as a key stakeholder, and the road map towards true circularity in our businesses. 

Protecting Your Brand with Cynthia Mason – February 18, 2021

There are a lot of myths surrounding trademark registration for small businesses in Canada, leading to many brands being at risk and unprotected – just ask Cynthia Mason, Lawyer and Trademark Agent for Mason PC Trademarks and Markably!

Cynthia Mason is a Canadian lawyer and trademark agent with a passion for helping businesses arm themselves with the information and tools necessary to protect their brands from copycats. Over the span of her near 20-year legal career, she has worked with numerous Fortune 500 companies to protect their names, logos and taglines from theft and misuse.

Cynthia is also a legal innovator and has developed an online platform for registering and monitoring trademarks, making professional brand protection accessible for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

“Weak, non-distinctive brand assets cost time and money. Having great trademarks not only makes it easier and less expensive to register them, but offers more protection in the long run.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Cynthia discusses the value of Canadian trademark registrations in protecting brands, operating under an unregistered trademark, and monitoring possible infringements once you have ownership.

The Creative Advantage with Angela Percival – February 11, 2021

Too often, creative professions like photography, music, or art in general are left out of the equation when discussing entrepreneurship. Angela Percival, professional Outdoor Photographer, believes the startup community should be embracing creativity – both as a profession and as a problem solving tool. 

Adventure and justice are the two threads that makeup Angela Percival’s creative DNA. Evident in her photography is a deep love for wild places and a genuine concern for people. Relentlessly curious, with the stamina to match, she doesn’t shrink from storms or suffering: in fact, that’s what pulls her closer. She’s drawn to the drama – in light, landscapes, or the human quest to explore the impossible and tap the joy that can be found there. National Geographic called her one of the planet’s top nine female Adventure Photographers who are pushing the limits.

Angela Percival spent 14 years shaping and shooting the signature imagery that has defined Arc’teryx, a global apparel brand with deep roots in the most extreme climates and sports. She can conjure stories out of maps and organize expeditions around shot-lists. She brings concepts and campaigns to life through her lens.

Angela’s one of the very few women to have made a career documenting the outdoor and action sports world and is utterly at home skiing, mountain biking, or dragging a team of elite athletes into spectacular and remote settings. She is passionate about catalyzing change in the world to allow women to be the center of their own stories and evolving collective story.

At the end of the day, whether she’s sitting over the lightboard building stories frame by frame, curating expeditions, or pausing chores to call a beloved friend, she’s chasing and championing the most elusive thing of all, time well spent.

“If more photographers, musicians, and creatives thought of themselves as entrepreneurs, it may help them in treating their art as a business.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Angela discusses her photography journey, living life through the lens of ‘time well spent’, and the need to include creative professions in Canada’s entrepreneurship conversation.

Skating for Community with Sasha Senior – February 4, 2021

Building a community around your brand is easier said than done. Sasha Senior, Owner of Bliss Skateboard Shop, believes that giving back to your network is the gift that keeps on giving. 

Sasha Senior is an avid skateboarder that grew up in Brampton, Ontario. Her passion drove her to open Windsor’s only local skateboard shop – Bliss. She has used her business to help skateboarders at home and abroad –  in Windsor, Jamaica, Uganda and Barbados. Sasha isn’t just a business owner, she’s also a mother of two boys and a member of the Canadian Armed Forces.  

“If you don’t give back to the community, especially with skateboarding, nobody will buy from you. It doesn’t matter how nice your products are or how big your store is, community and respect come first.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Sasha discusses e-commerce during COVID-19, Canada’s skateboarding startup scene, and building a community surrounding your business.

The Power of Public Speaking with Ghalia Aamer – January 28, 2021

Over 75% of people are afraid of public speaking. The scariest part? This fear can cut potential wages by up to 10%. Ghalia Aamer, founder and CEO of TalkMaze, wants to change this!

Ghalia Aamer is a 19 year old entrepreneur and community leader studying international business at the University of Alberta. Ghalia realized her passion for entrepreneurship when she set out to become a tutor at the age of 13. She was unable to find a company that would hire her because of her age so she decided to launch her own business, Toon Tutors, with a goal of providing meaningful employment opportunities for young people and affordable educational tools for families. In an effort to help peers foster interest in entrepreneurship, Ghalia started the first business-focused club at her high school, OSA Entrepreneurs. The club connected students with mentors and resources to teach them about entrepreneurship. Ghalia recently represented Canada as the country’s youngest delegate for the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance Summit, championing youth entrepreneurship across the world.

In 2019, Ghalia decided to merge her passion for business with her love for public speaking and debate by launching TalkMaze, a virtual coaching platform that connects learners from all around the world with high quality training. Her vision is for TalkMaze to be the go-to platform for anyone looking to build effective communication skills whether it be for an interview, public speaking, or competitive debate. 

Beyond business, Ghalia is passionate about advocating for important causes in her community. She serves as the Co-Chair of Outrun the Stigma Edmonton, a non-profit dedicated to reducing stigma around mental health.

“It’s not just you who becomes empowered by good communication skills – you now have this amazing tool to empower others.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Ghalia discusses the importance of public speaking, navigating imposter syndrome, and empowering youth through entrepreneurship.

Allyship for Accessibility with Sue Crawford- January 21, 2021

One in seven Canadians have a disability, yet we would be hard-pressed to find a true representation of this in our everyday lives. Sue Crawford, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Enable, is working to challenge the status quo of both physical and social accessibility – enabling our communities in the process.  

This past year Sue completed her Master of Nursing from the University of Calgary. She is a faculty member at the School of Health & Wellness at Bow Valley College and works as a registered nurse with Psychiatric Emergency Services at the Alberta Children’s Hospital.

After over a decade of working in the disability space, Sue noticed an overwhelming gap in the ways that families with disabilities access community support. She took this as a call-to-action and co-founded Enable. Since its inception, Enable support workers have contributed nearly 20,000 hours of one-on-one support to young people with disabilities. Sue has been named the University of Calgary’s most promising entrepreneur and the face of the 2010-2020 decade of nursing; a finalist for the Western Legacy’s Innovation award; the Prairies winner in Social Innovation through Startup Canada; and one of Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 Under 40.

“Think about accessibility in your business and community. How are you contributing – positively or negatively – to those spaces?”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Sue discusses accessibility, running a community support organization, and balancing a nursing career and startup life.  

Balancing AI and Human-Centered Design with Maryam Nabavi – January 14, 2021

For tech companies, finding the right balance between powerful tech and human-centered design can be a gargantuan task. Maryam Nabavi, Co-Founder and CEO of Babbly, believes that having a deep emotional connection to your mission is the key.   

Maryam is the former Vice President of product visioning at Idea Couture. There she helped Fortune 500 companies develop game changing products at the intersection of technology and human-centered design. 

Currently, Maryam is the Co-founder & CEO of Babbly, a company that’s on a mission to help parents track their baby’s development while getting support along the way. Babbly’s vision is to become the brain of the nursery and to give millennial parents a full view of their child’s health and development data.  

“Resilience can be grown – especially if the reason you and your company exist is clear to you.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Maryam discusses the importance of having an emotional connection to your product, the intersections of AI and human-centered design, and the realities of being a woman in the tech space.

Embracing Transparency with Connie Lo and Laura Burget – January 7, 2021

Being constantly bombarded with the success stories and “highlight reels” of the world’s leading entrepreneurs can take its toll on a founder’s sense of self worth – leading to feelings of incompetence and, often, full blown imposter syndrome. Connie Lo and Laura Burget, Co-Founders of Three Ships Beauty, believe each day as an entrepreneur is about incremental changes and realistic advancements.  

Connie Lo is passionate about wellness, life design, and women empowerment. Laura Burget’s interest in entrepreneurship began when she was 9-years old, selling handmade crafts and jewelry in her elementary school. 

Connie and Laura are the co-founders of Three Ships, which is a natural and vegan skincare company on a mission to make clean beauty accessible for all women. They bootstrapped their business in 2017 with just $4,000 in savings, starting by hand making products in her kitchen. Fast forward to today, and Three Ships is now carried in +400 retailers across North America, and will be launching into Target in January. They’ve been featured on Dragons Den, and won RBC’s 2020 Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub Micro-Business Award. 

“Many could-be founders deal with ‘analysis paralysis’ – this belief that everything needs to be perfect before you launch. This leads to too many people never pursuing their dreams.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Connie and Laura discuss the do’s and don’ts of Co-Founder relationships, the importance of transparency with customers, and their triumphs over imposter syndrome.

Failure, Fluidity, and Focus with Laura Fortey – December 31, 2020

Laura Fortey, COO and Co-Founder of REITIUM, believes the key to starting and scaling successful ventures comes down to three words: failure, fluidity, and focus.

As a real estate entrepreneur, Laura Fortey has bought, managed, renovated, and sold her own investment properties, as well as investing in REITs and MICs. 

A former journalist and writer in the real estate sector, Laura brings more than a decade of expertise in building companies. From the early days of Youtube, Facebook, and social media, Laura’s last venture was a digital marketing agency that specialized in internet marketing, enabling startups and SMEs to grow from ideation to multi-million dollar revenues.

Now co-founding her third company, Laura’s expertise in marketing, journalism, and her own real estate investing led her on the path to co-creating REITIUM – a real estate equity crowdfunding platform and SaaS that utilizes smart contract technology to provide accessibility, while simplifying the process of investing, allowing people across the globe to invest in income-generating real estate enabling Real Estate for Everyone.

“I don’t believe in failures or mistakes in business. I’d rather try than have regrets.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Laura discusses her startup journey in the real estate tech space, the realities of non-linear growth, and the value of interdisciplinary background knowledge for founders.



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