The THRIVE Podcast for Women Entrepreneurs is all about supporting YOU to start and build a thriving business. On THRIVE, 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 reality, faster.

The THRIVE podcast is a production of Startup Canada, Canada’s entrepreneurship organization, supporting Canada’s entrepreneurs to succeed. This podcast is presented in partnership with the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank.

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Latest Episode

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.  

Recently Aired Episodes

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.

Defining Authenticity with Dwania Peele – December 24, 2020

Authenticity can mean a host of different things to a host of different people. Dwania Peele, owner and executive director of Canadian Small Business Women, believes the key to strong and sustainable business relationships is being authentically yourself.

Dwania Peele is the Owner and Executive Director of Canadian Small Business Women.  A lover of entrepreneurship, volunteering and networking, Dwania strives to inspire aspiring and current entrepreneurs in Canada. A Chemist and Political Scientist by training and education, but an entrepreneur at heart, Dwania has started 2 successful businesses since 2008.  In 2013, Canadian Small Business Women began serving as a platform for aspiring and current small business women of Canada. Through e-courses, blogs, online chats, Seminars and Expos, CSBW provides avenues for entrepreneurs to showcase their expertise. 

Dwania continues to make an impact by appearing as a guest speaker at various entrepreneur events and by guest appearances on panels across the GTA to provide valuable insight to those in need. Dwania also champions the success of immigrant entrepreneurs and it is reflected in her new book The Power Within: Inspiring Stories of Female Immigrant Entrepreneurs.

“Be authentic for yourself and for your network. Show up for your community.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Dwania discusses her startup journey, being authentically yourself, and fostering your inner spirit of resilience.

The Power of Allyship with Sowmya Rajasekaran – December 17, 2020

Community and connections are vital – especially when you’re building a company. However, in a current- and post-pandemic world, cultivating those critical alliances can be difficult. Sowmya Rajasekaran, Creator & Moderator of the #Buildupwomen Series, chats with us about how to build support within your networks, particularly as women entrepreneurs. 

When COVID-19 hit Canada, Sowmya began reaching out to people in her community in order to check in, and these conservations inspired her to launch Buildupwomen. The Buildupwomen Series is an online community created to inspire, learn from, share, support, engage and build up women during and post COVID-19. The first season launched 10 live series discussions on key subject matters including LEAD-HER-SHIP, Economic Abuse, Job Loss & Creating opportunity, Accessibility during Covid-19, Education during Covid-19, and Motherhood & Everything in between. The series includes over 30+ inspiring female disruptors, change-makers, influencers, advocates & community leaders across Canada with a core focus on diversity & inclusion.

Sowmya is a champion and an outspoken advocate for inclusion & women’s empowerment with a key focus in Social Impact. She currently works with the Ontario Disability Employment Network to focus on Innovation & Best Practice in Diversity & Inclusion, and is also a part of Startup Canada’s women entrepreneurs roundtable program in partnership with the Embassy of Israel

“Had it not been for incredible women listening and validating why I was doing what I was doing, and getting support through partnerships or sponsorships, the series may not have happened.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Sowmya discusses how to empower you and your business through allyship.

The Secret to Standing Out with Linda Peers- December 10, 2020

An entrepreneur from Halifax, Nova Scotia is making kefir, but with a twist. After curiosity got the best of her, Linda Peers used her background in marketing to create a business that makes lactose-intolerant friendly coconut kefir.

Since graduating from the University of Western Ontario in 1985, Linda’s career was largely in the marketing field. The marketing world appealed to Linda because of her life-long wish to one day be associated with a unique product or service which could benefit society. 

After working in Toronto with some of Canada’s largest advertising agencies, Linda moved back home to Halifax where she gained more experience with companies providing utilities (electric and natural gas), and in the hospitality and newspaper industries. 

After having established a Marketing consulting business, the entrepreneurial spirit in her was awakened. This led Linda to start The Cultured Coconut in 2015, making probiotic coconut milk kefir. 

Recently, Linda and her company were also named the winners of the Atlantic regional scale-up pitch competition at the 2020 Canadian Export Challenge.   

“Really making a difference in peoples’ lives is just the best feeling in the world and that’s pretty bottom line for us.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Peers discusses her personal motivation behind starting her own kefir business and how she navigated entrepreneurship in Atlantic Canada.

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.

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.

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