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.

Latest Episode

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”.

Recently Aired Episodes

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.

Practising the Pause with Sunshine Tenasco – September 24, 2020

Being an entrepreneur can be incredibly draining and stressful, especially during the current pandemic. Sunshine Tenasco, CEO of Pow Wow Pitch and Founder of Her Braids, urges Canadian entrepreneurs to “practice the pause” and actively allocate time for life outside of work.   

Sunshine Tenasco is a First Nations mommy of four funny kids from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg.

She is a social entrepreneur who believes that business is an exciting place where people can create positive change.

Sunshine recently launched Her Braids, which is a business that aims to create awareness about the issues of clean drinking water in First Nations communities through beaded pendants.  Her Braids has committed to donating 10% of their profits to the David Suzuki Foundations, The Blue Dot movement.

She is also the CEO of Pow Wow Pitch, which aims to give Indigenous entrepreneurs the platform to showcase their entrepreneurial endeavors and a chance to win start-up cash and mentorship.  Sunshine hopes to help cultivate the culture of entrepreneurship in Indigenous communities.

“Keep taking those baby steps – they add up faster than you’d think. Going fast is okay, but slow and steady is okay too. Practise the pause.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Sunshine discusses the demanding nature of being an entrepreneur and the need to “practise the pause”. 

Surrounding Yourself with Fierce Women with Kelly Woods – September 17, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we work, play and interact with each other. Kelly Woods, Founder of Brujera Elixirs Inc. and winner of the 2020 CANIE Woman Entrepreneur Award for the British Columbia region, believes the key to thriving during the pandemic is surrounding yourself with fierce women and being gentle with yourself. 

Growing up connected to the land and community, Kelly’s heritage and upbringing in the forest of western Quebec has greatly influenced who she is as a business woman today. Creating potions and herbal remedies from an early age, it is not hard to believe that she is a Descendant of the Early Witches and a Daughter of the American Revolution. 

Although theatre school was her primary education, Kelly is also a certified Sommelier. Perhaps her grittiest education was the school of hard knocks hospitality world where she evolved as an award winning mixologist, master formulator and respected industry maven. 

In the last eight months she has been awarded three awards for business: RBC Canadian Woman of Influence Award, BC Business Woman of the Year and the Western Canada CANIE Woman Entrepreneur award. She has founded and led two community organizations and continues to be one of the most innovative minds in beverage formulation in North America. Currently penning “The Boozewitch Guide for the Sober Curious” and growing Brujera Elixirs House of Brands, Kelly lives in Squamish BC and is the proud mother of a four year old boy.

“This pandemic has brought a massive shift to how we are all living and working. You need to be gentle with yourself, gentle with others, and realize that the expectations you set for yourself will look different during COVID.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Kelly discusses surrounding yourself with a circle of fierce women and finding a way to be gentle with yourself and others throughout COVID-19.

Building a Socially Responsible Business with Katie Boothby-Kung – September 10, 2020

Entrepreneurs often feel like they aren’t doing enough when implementing social impact programs in their start-up. Katie Boothby-Kung, Senior Manager of Social Impact for Shopify, thinks entrepreneurs need to own their imperfections. 

From 9-5, Katie is a Senior Manager of Social Impact at Shopify. By working closely with social impact businesses around the world, she is able to build educational tools and  provide platform support to launch and grow a successful social enterprise. Prior to Shopify, Katie worked for the Prime Minister and other federal ministers in policy and communications. 

Outside of work, Katie is the founder of Copper Root Collective, an eco conscious bath and skincare company based in Ottawa with 100% of the profits from Copper Root Collective going directly to water projects in Zambia. On the weekends Katie can be found hiking with her puppy or playing board games with her hubby.

“There is no such thing as a 100 percent sustainable business. If you’re looking to have more social impact, done is better than perfect,” explained Boothby-Kung. “Doing one thing is better than doing nothing. Own those imperfections.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Katie discusses integrating social impact programs into your start-up.

Putting Yourself First with Jessica Keats – September 3, 2020

In entrepreneurship, so much of your time gets spent on your business and there can be very little left for yourself. Jessica Keats, President of the Women’s Business Network of the National Capital Region, wants to flip that dynamic.

Jessica Keats is an International Healer, Intuitive and Medium known for her ability to make profound change in her clients’ mind, body and soul within 2-3 sessions. Jessica is renowned for healing limiting beliefs, fears and past traumas so her clients improve physically and emotionally while reaching new heights professionally. 

Jessica Keats is the President of the Women’s Business Network of the National Capital Region, a Not For Profit, Corporation established in 1981. Today the WBN proudly provides opportunities to support, promote and empower Ottawa Business Women to reach their full potential and create success on their own terms.

Jessica is passionate about women embracing their full potential, finding their inner power and becoming the leaders they are meant to be. 

“As entrepreneurs we’re often putting our business or families first, and we often forget ourselves.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Jessica discusses putting yourself first as an entrepreneur.

Finding Community Through Adversity with Theresa Laurico – August 27, 2020

During the COVID-19 pandemic, life is full of challenges and opportunities for start-ups. Leaning on your women entrepreneur community is one way of navigating adversity and celebrating success – just ask Theresa Laurico, Founder of SocialLIGHT and panelist for Startup Canada’s 2020 Canadian Export Challenge.    

Theresa Laurico is a passionate entrepreneur & founder of SociaLIGHT, a company focused on empowering and inspiring startups, entrepreneurs and small business owners with an emphasis on the triple bottom line “People. Planet. Profit.” The annual SociaLIGHT Conference attracts more than 1,000 national delegates and past speakers and contributors include Sir Richard Branson, Seth Godin, Tony Hsieh and more.

Theresa is also a seasoned media producer and personality with several national television series, commercials, music videos and international broadcast experience for clients like CTV, Muchmusic, HGTV, Rogers and Citytv. She holds a Broadcast Journalism degree from Ryerson University where she graduated as President, and an Executive Media Leadership MPP from Schulich School of Business.  

“Let yourself feel the pain and uncertainty of being knocked down, but also know the tools that will help you press reset and get back up. There’s no flowers without rain.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Theresa Laurico, CXC 2020 panelist and entrepreneur, discusses leaning into adversity, finding your community and cultivating a bounceback game. 

Combining Design and Social Impact with Ilana Ben-Ari – August 20, 2020

Inventors and developers are time and time again urged to stay away from the start-up world, especially if they are women. Ilana Ben-Ari, Founder of Twenty One Toys and winner of Startup Canada’s 2019 Mississauga Canadian Export Challenge, thinks creating a sustainable business with a social purpose is for everyone. 

Ilana Ben-Ari is a multiple-award-winning design entrepreneur, TEDx Speaker, and Ariane de Rothschild Fellow. She has been working at the intersection of design and social innovation for over a decade.

Her company Twenty One Toys has been featured in Forbes, Fast Company, Bloomberg, and her invention, The Empathy Toy, was praised by TIME magazine as a “technology that is reshaping the future”. Her company has brought the transformative power of play into 1000s of boardrooms and classrooms worldwide through an expanding collection of toys, workshops, and training programs that prepare teams to unlock skills like empathy and failure.

“As women, we are often expected to be empathetic and put other people first. Use that empathy to connect with your audience and create a community of like-minded entrepreneurs. Know that you have the tools and skills to create a sustainable business right now.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Ilana discusses using word of mouth marketing to break into new markets and the importance of community in the start-up world.

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