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

A New Norm: Women’s Entrepreneurship Post COVID with Paulette Senior – December 3, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has helped identify the scope of disparities that exist for women entrepreneurs in Canada. Luckily, we can use the current crisis as a point of reference when crafting a new norm – just ask Paulette Senior, President and CEO of the Canadian Women’s Foundation!    

Paulette Senior has devoted her life and career to breaking down systemic barriers and building up diverse women and girls. Her personal experience immigrating to Canada from Jamaica as a young girl ignited her interest in social justice and helped make her the dynamic, grounded leader she is today.

Paulette’s career began in social services in some of Toronto’s most underserved neighbourhoods. She witnessed the need for systemic change and learned the power of putting the voices of women and equity-seeking communities first. She became known for her excellence in shelter, employment, and housing service provision, as well as for her intersectional approach to advocacy. She has earned numerous awards and has become one of the most respected women leaders in Canada.

In 2016, Paulette joined the Canadian Women’s Foundation as President and CEO after a decade serving as CEO of YWCA Canada. She is a sought-after thought-leader on numerous issues including gender equity and gender-based violence; women’s poverty and the wage gap; girls’ empowerment; and leadership. Her focus at the Foundation is to bolster an inclusive national movement for all women, girls, and communities across Canada. 

“If there’s an opportunity the pandemic has provided us, it’s a reset button. The ability to reset the norm to one inclusive of everyone.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Paulette discusses the barriers and opportunities that exist for women entrepreneurs and the power of working together for a common goal.

Recently Aired Episodes

Mastering Your Employer Brand with Laura Tolhoek – November 26, 2020

From posting the job to onboarding, hiring can be a challenge in the startup space. Laura Tolhoek, Proprietor of Essential HR, believes the key to attracting top talent is mastering your employer brand.  

As a Certified Human Resource Leader (CHRL) and the proprietor of Essential HR, Laura Tolhoek knows that when a business faces HR problems, there is no room for ambiguity, only positive results. For the last 15 years, she has blended sound HR practices with her pragmatic approach to improve business performance. Now, Laura leads a team of HR professionals as they navigate complex HR situations with managers, help guide decisions, and instill confidence with actionable steps.

In her spare time, Laura enjoys the company of her husband and two children. The kids continue to help her hone her leadership skills of negotiation and compromise, and after a decade, her husband is starting to warm up to the performance reviews.

“Make an elevator pitch for who you are as an employer. What makes you unique? This will make a difference when competing for top talent.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Laura discusses best hiring practices and how to master your employer brand.

Navigating the Legal Landscape with Amy Grubb – November 19, 2020

For entrepreneurs, navigating legal matters in their industry can be daunting – when do you need to hire a lawyer? Does it matter what kind of law they specialize in? How do you avoid breaking the bank? Amy Grubb, CEO and Founder of Grubb Law, believes startups should seek specialized legal expertise sooner rather than later.   

Amy Grubb wears many hats. She is a Bay Street trained lawyer who founded a boutique virtual law firm, focused exclusively on commercial contracts. Amy is also the Legal Innovation Strategist at Goodlawyer, an online platform that connects business owners across Canada with a network of independent lawyers. 

Amy is also a coach for other lawyers. She offers one on one and group programs to lawyers who want to build the legal practice of their dreams. Finally, she is the founder of Solo/Small Firm Canadian Lady Lawyers, an online community for purpose driven and high performing Canadian women lawyers.

“If you have heart problems you’d want to see a cardiologist, not a general GP. It’s the same in law – you want a specialist.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Amy discusses launching her law startup, the benefits of hyper-focusing on a niche market, and legal advice for entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurship in the Canadian Prairies with Margaux Miller – November 12, 2020

When you think of the Canadian prairies, a booming entrepreneurial ecosystem is likely not the first thing that comes to mind. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth – just ask Margaux Miller, producer and host of Start Podcast and Program Director at Tech Manitoba.    

As the Program Director of Tech Manitoba, Margaux Miller oversees all technology industry events and programs, supporting province-wide digital literacy, parity for women working in tech, and developing youth and talent for the tech sector. Prior to joining Tech Manitoba, she managed the acquisition of a tech start-up in facial recognition and people tracking technology.

Margaux is the producer and host of Start Podcast, where she interviews the founders of start-ups about what it’s really like to start a business in the Canadian Prairies. 

She is community-minded and has extensive experience working with non-profit organizations. In 2017, Margaux’s community involvement was honoured with the Future Leader of Manitoba award. Margaux currently donates her time to the development committee of the Winnipeg Art Gallery and the community relations committee for Manitoba 150. 

In her spare time, she is an avid soccer player and golfer, and enjoys hiking and exploring Manitoba and abroad. She was also once the voice of a Canadian cartoon.  

“It’s easy to assume the new app or product you’re using comes from an urban centre – you would be surprised at how many of them have been founded in the Canadian prairies.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Margaux showcases thriving prairies-based startups and discusses the opportunities and barriers of rural entrepreneurship.

Using Adversity to Fuel Innovation with Audra Renyi – November 5, 2020

The most impactful acts of innovation often come in the wake of a historical event or crisis such as COVID-19 – just ask Audra Renyi, Founder of earAccess Inc. and the 2020 CANIES Women Entrepreneur of the Year.    

Audra Renyi is the founder of earAccess Inc. and the executive director of the non-profit World Wide Hearing. She has worked as an investment banker on Wall Street dealing with private equity firms. Ms. Renyi has also worked with Doctors Without Borders, in Chad and in Rwanda she served as the CFO of the One Acre Fund. In Kenya she volunteered as a business consultant for a microfinance organization and worked as director of development at Canada World Youth. 

Ms. Renyi holds bachelor’s degrees in economics (Wharton School) and international studies from the University of Pennsylvania, and has completed an executive leadership program at Harvard Business School. She has won the Governor General of Canada’s Innovation Award. She was recognized as the Young International Leader of Quebec by ARISTA and was named a Heroine of Health at the WHO World Health Assembly. 

Most recently, she was named the Women Entrepreneur of the Year at the Innovators & Entrepreneurs Foundation’s CANIE Awards.  

“The enemy of innovation is inaction.” 

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Audra discusses entrepreneurial innovation as a result of COVID-19 and her award winning business earAccess.

Education: The New Currency with Permpreet Soomal – October 29, 2020

In Canada, women-led businesses face many barriers. Permpreet Soomal, VP of Human Resources at Scotiabank, believes the key to empowering women entrepreneurs to thrive is through education, access to capital, and mentorship. 

Permpreet is an Advisory Board Member of The Scotiabank Women Initiative. 

She recently took on the role of Vice President of Human Resources at Scotiabank.  Prior to this new role she led the Performance and Inclusion function within Global Talent with a mandate to build diverse, high performing teams across the Bank. In this role, she worked closely with Scotiabank’s executive management to drive the change agenda for a culture of inclusion as the enabler for a high-performance organization.

Since joining Scotiabank in 2012, Permpreet has held various roles in human resources with expertise in organizational design, leadership development, performance, human capital analytics, recruitment strategy and diversity and inclusion.

Prior to Scotiabank, Permpreet worked in the financial services industry within retail banking and institutional investment management. When not working, Permpreet loves to be outdoors and explore different cities and countries. She is a passionate hiker.

“Think about education as the new currency in this current era of disruption. Especially for women entrepreneurs, it is fundamental to learn from one another.” 

To learn more about the Scotiabank Women Initiative’s, click here.

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Permpreet discusses the importance of  mindset during the pandemic and Scotiabank’s educational resources for women entrepreneurs.

Embracing Failure with Michele Romanow – October 22, 2020

We are told time and time again that failure is something to fear and avoid at all costs – but what if we embraced it? Michele Romanow, Co-Founder of Clearbanc and host of the new Audible Original Podcast “The Revisionaries”, believes failure is a by-product of success.  

Michele Romanow is a Canadian tech entrepreneur, television personality and venture capitalist. In 2015 she co-founded Clearbanc, provider of revenue sharing solutions to help fund small businesses headquartered in Toronto. She is currently the Director of Vail Resorts and Freshii, the international restaurant franchise. 

Michele was the only Canadian on the Forbes Top 20 Most Disruptive “Millenials on a Mission” list in 2013, made the list of the 100 Most Powerful Women in Canada in 2015, and received the Canadian Innovation Awards’ Angel Investor of the Year in 2018. She has been a cast member on the CBC’s Dragons’ Den since Season 10.  She was also an award presenter during this year’s Startup Canada’s regional Canadian Export Challenge tour.

Most recently, Michele has partnered with for the Audible Original Podcast ‘The  Revisionaries” where she sits down with today’s leading business innovators and entrepreneurs to reveal the early pitfalls and landmines they encountered on their journeys to become visionaries.

“Failure is a by-product of success. It’s not failure for the sake of not doing well, it’s learning from every experiment you try.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Michele discusses the importance of embracing failure in the entrepreneurial community and her new Audible Original Podcast “The Revisionaries”.

Growing, Shifting and Thriving with Maria Locker – October 15, 2020

Women wear many hats in today’s world, and women entrepreneurs are no exception. Despite the challenges women owned start-ups face, Maria Locker Founder of RevolutionHER, believes there is nothing stopping them from shifting and growing to accomplish what they want. 

Maria Locker is an advocate and champion for the advancement of women and female entrepreneurs across North America, and is sought as a speaker, contributor, and expert surrounding topics including economic empowerment, gender equality, lifestyle and business trends, and products that women love.

As Founder and CEO of The Mompreneurs® Organization from 2010 to 2020, Maria worked with her team across Canada to grow their community of women to over 23,000 members and subscribers, presented 750+ events, and gave back over $80,000 to the community and charitable organizations. Now, as the Founder and CEO of RevolutionHER™, Maria is excited to work alongside her team to bring even more support, empowerment, and inspiration to women of all ages and walks of life!

Maria is driven to lead a life of purpose and passion. Fuelled by the incredible women, family and friends she is surrounded by, and through the endless support of her husband David and children Jackson and Sofia, Maria is grateful for the many challenges and experiences life has thrown her way. She believes that battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and Thyroid Cancer within a year of each other in 2016/17, while in the midst of the biggest business project of her life, helped to lead her to this moment in time with clarity 

“There is always room for growth and shift, especially for women who wear so many hats. Know there is nothing stopping you from accomplishing exactly what you want.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Maria discusses the strength of women entrepreneurs and striving for growth in your startup.

Putting Your Mental Health First with Annie Marsolais – October 8, 2020

The “hustle mentality” is deeply ingrained in Canada’s entrepreneurial landscape, often inspiring innovative solutions, adaptable businesses, and industry disruption. Unfortunately, it can also take a toll on one’s mental health – just ask Annie Marsolais, Chief Marketing Officer of BDC.     

Annie Marsolais was appointed Chief Marketing Officer of the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) in 2018.  Drawing on 20 years of experience in corporate and marketing communications, Annie oversees BDC’s brand strategy and positioning, marketing, advertising, public relations, social media, as well as client experience and social entrepreneurship across the country.

She joined BDC in 2015 as Vice President, Marketing and Communications and led a complete overhaul of the bank’s image, repositioning BDC with a new brand, advertising and communications platform, which resulted in increased recognition and awareness in the marketplace.

“Amidst financial and emotional stress, the ability to find mental clarity in a crisis may be the difference in staying afloat or feeling completely submerged and out of control.” 

To access BDC’s mental health resources for entrepreneurs, click here.

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Annie discusses the mental health and wellbeing of Canadian entrepreneurs pre and post COVID-19.

The Power of Taking Action with Ariel Gough – October 1, 2020

Realizing the power of taking action and building a values-based business can help you stand out from the entrepreneurial crowd – just ask Ariel Gough, Co-Founder of Bailly Cosmetics.

Ariel Gough is a social entrepreneur, policy advisor and TEDx speaker. She was a policy and regional advisor to the federal minister of Families, Children and Social Development where she worked on Canada’s first National Poverty Reduction Strategy and Early Learning and Childcare Framework. She is currently executive assistant to Nova Scotia’s minister of the Public Service Commission and African Nova Scotian Affairs.

Originally from Upper Hammonds Plains, Nova Scotia, Ariel credits her commitment to business and civic engagement to her African Nova Scotian roots. She is the co-founder of Bailly Cosmetics Inc., a Halifax-based fragrance company that supports girls’ education in Uganda and has been featured on Elle Canada, Flare, Refinery29 and Yahoo Style. She was awarded the CANIE Youth Impact Icon Award by the Innovators & Entrepreneurs Foundation in collaboration with Startup Canada. 

A recipient of the Premier of Nova Scotia’s Power of Positive Change Award, Ariel was selected to participate in a Junior Team Canada mission to the Arctic to engage Inuit youth on some of the North’s most pressing issues. She currently sits on the steering committee for the Alexa McDonough Institute for Women, Gender and Social Justice and delivered a TEDx talk at Mount Saint Vincent University on girls’ empowerment and implicit bias. Ariel was also a speaker on the ‘Entrepreneurs Going Global’ Atlantic regional panel at this year’s Canadian Export Challenge. 

“Anyone can build a product, but not everyone can be you. You have something unique and that’s your values. Start with your values when building a business and no one can touch you.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Ariel discusses building a values-based business and the power of taking action.

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