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

Impact First Entrepreneurship with Jen Couldrey – March 19th 2020

As an entrepreneur, you might be focused on growth and profits. But leaning into your nurturing to focus on impact can be even more valuable—just ask Alison Kirkland, CEO of the Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada. 

Alison was named the inaugural CEO of WEOC in September 2019 but has been working with women entrepreneurs for close to 20 years. A seasoned communications professional, she joined the team of the Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba in 2002 where she spearheaded the re-development of the Centre’s brand, the creation of a comprehensive training program and participated in the development of innovative programming and funding initiatives.

An APEC-IBIZ Certified Small Business Counsellor, Alison has worked directly with women entrepreneurs at various business stages and in urban and rural communities throughout Manitoba. Over the past seven years, she has traveled to Ukraine and Vietnam to share knowledge and best practices gained as a result Canada’s support for women entrepreneurs.

“There are many, many resources across the country for women entrepreneurs, and I want women to tap into those resources.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Alison talks about the many resources available to Canadian women entrepreneurs, and how to access them.

Recently Aired Episodes


Every Woman’s Business Toolkit with Alison Kirkland – March 12th 2020

As an entrepreneur, you might be focused on growth and profits. But leaning into your nurturing to focus on impact can be even more valuable—just ask Alison Kirkland, CEO of the Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada. 

Alison was named the inaugural CEO of WEOC in September 2019 but has been working with women entrepreneurs for close to 20 years. A seasoned communications professional, she joined the team of the Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba in 2002 where she spearheaded the re-development of the Centre’s brand, the creation of a comprehensive training program and participated in the development of innovative programming and funding initiatives.

An APEC-IBIZ Certified Small Business Counsellor, Alison has worked directly with women entrepreneurs at various business stages and in urban and rural communities throughout Manitoba. Over the past seven years, she has traveled to Ukraine and Vietnam to share knowledge and best practices gained as a result Canada’s support for women entrepreneurs.

“There are many, many resources across the country for women entrepreneurs, and I want women to tap into those resources.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Alison talks about the many resources available to Canadian women entrepreneurs, and how to access them.

Global Action for Equality with Stephanie Dei – March 5th 2020

Sometimes you may find yourself wondering what kind of change you can affect with your business each day, and if you ask Stephanie Dei she’ll have quite the list for you!

With an emphasis on responsible business conduct in G7coutries, Stephanie connects the public sector, private sector and civil society for conversations around gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.

Stephanie also serves as Non-Executive Director at global frontier markets risk firm DaMina Advisors where she helped steer the firm’s global expansion to Asia and Europe and currently serves on the Board of Organization of Women in International Trade as the Vice President of Finance. Stephanie launched her international career as an investigative analyst at the Canadian Ministry of Foreign and International Affairs and remains committed to advancing women’s economic empowerment.

“Women entrepreneurs have a unique role, responsibility, and opportunity in today’s economy in that they can build in empowerment in the DNA of their busienss.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Stephanie talks about pursuing global equality, and what entrepreneurs can do to build empowerment into their businesses.

Capitalizing on Supplier Diversity with Silvia Pencak – February 27th 2020

Oftentimes it can seem like big business has its head in the clouds when it comes to supply chain diversity, but one conversation with Silvia Pencak, President of WBE Canada, can help you meet them where they are!

Silvia is a highly experienced business leader with significant global experience. Silvia was born and raised in Slovakia, Europe where she founded and led a nonprofit organization which 17 years later still supports communities in the region. She immigrated to Canada in 2006 and built a global consulting and training business. Her diverse international background spearheading successful initiatives gives her a wealth of experience to lead supplier diversity to its next level to support Canadian women-owned businesses.  

“Woman entrepreneurs should know that large corporations and governments are actually seeking to diversify their supply chains. It means there is actually a shortcut B2B women-owned businesses can use to get into corporate and government supply chains.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Silvia talks about increasing supplier diversity across Canada, and how women entrepreneurs can capitalize on the drive for diversity.

Rock Your Business Plan with Karen Greve Young – February 20th 2020

As an entrepreneur, you need to understand the key elements of your business plan. But you don’t need to figure out all the answers by yourself—just ask Karen Greve Young, CEO of Futurpreneur.

Futurpreneur Canada has been fuelling the success of young Canadian entrepreneurs since 1996. It is the only national non-profit organization dedicated to providing financing, mentoring and support tools to aspiring business owners aged 18-39. Since inception, it has helped 12,000+ young entrepreneurs launch businesses that contribute to sustainable economic development in their communities and for Canada. Prior to joining Futurpreneur in 2018, Karen led Corporate Development & Partnerships at MaRS Discovery District, and previously worked in San Francisco, New York and London, UK, at organizations including Bain & Company, Gap Inc. and the UK’s Institute of Cancer Research. Karen serves on the Board of Ovarian Cancer Canada. She holds an MBA from Stanford University and a BA in Economics from Harvard University.

“We work with the entrepreneur to help develop their business plan and their cash flow to the very best form possible.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Karen talks about Futurpreneur, and giving all kinds of young entrepreneurs a launchpad to accomplishing their goals.

Finding Your Direction with Solange Tuyishime – February 13th 2020

As an entrepreneur, you might be focused on growth and profits. But leaning into your nurturing to focus on impact can be even more valuable—just ask Solange Tuyishime, Founder & CEO of Elevate International.

Their goal is to inspire, empower, and elevate women and girls, locally and Globally; advancing women in leadership and economic growth while creating leadership and mentoring programs for young women. Solange has more than 10 years of experience within the Federal Government of Canada. Most recently, she’s been Managing the Departmental Audit Committee for Industry Canada, supporting executive leadership programs in the Executive Group Services, and holding various communication positions within the Government. As a UNICEF Canada’s Ambassador, her objective is to encourage fundraising efforts seeking to give every child opportunities in life to survive and thrive.

“We’ve often seen entrepreneurship as really focused on—how do you make more money, and how do you grow your business? In my experience, we don’t often talk about how it’s making an impact in this world.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Solange talks about making a positive impact through business, and elevating the next generation of women to be leaders.

Learning Beyond Your Limits with Estelle Doiron – February 6th 2020

As an entrepreneur, you might not always feel qualified for the tasks on your list. But learning beyond your comfort zone is what makes entrepreneurship exciting—just ask Estelle Doiron, Founder & CEO of Koffee Beauty.

Koffee Beauty is a skincare company using coffee as the main ingredient in their product lines. Estelle has a diverse personal and professional background; heading up her local rotary chapter; she’s an award winning sales advisor and accredited fitness trainer; a finance and bank manager, and a facilitator for her local college’s sales and marketing programs. Her reputation and skills are second to none and anyone who meets with, works with, or is trained by Estelle never forgets the experience.

“I see so many entrepreneurs or people in general that believe in labels that they’ve been given or that they gave themselves like, I’m too young, I’m too old, I’m not good at sales, or I’m not creative, or not good with a computer.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, sponsored by the Business Development Bank of Canada and Scotiabank, Estelle talks about how to let go of internalized labels and fears and embrace the excitement of learning through your journeys.

Building From the Ground Up with Suzanne Grant – January 23rd 2020

As an entrepreneur, it can be hard to stay true to yourself. But building that foundation starts from the ground up – just ask Suzanne Grant, CEO of the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance.

Suzanne is a Canadian veteran and entrepreneur with military communications, engineering and intelligence background. As the current CEO of CATA, Canada’s Technology Alliance, Suzanne is changing the landscape for the digital technology sector in Canada. She has served on mission-driven non-profits, scale-up business boards, and leading think tanks, advisory and governance committees. With decades of entrepreneurial experience, Suzanne has pioneered groundbreaking biotechnologies, advocated for the growth of women-led businesses, and has been celebrated for her impact as the recipient of the Startup Canada Women Entrepreneur Award. 

“I’ve started and stopped multiple times. When I choose to stop, I always go back to first principles.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, Suzanne talks about how to keep yourself on course, even when you need to go off-road.

Carving Out Your Community with Sally Douglas – January 23rd 2020

Your community is a collection of everyone in your corner, and for Sally Douglas, Principal – Operations at The Earnescliffe Foundation and Chair of the Women in Communications and Technology’s National Capital Region chapter, she might need a bigger corner.

Sally has an eclectic career, starting out in nursing before u-turning into commercial construction project management. She emigrated to Canada from Scotland with her husband and 2 boys 15 years ago and had to reinvent herself as a construction and engineering recruitment consultant and team manager with Hays international Recruitment before taking another completely different role as Deputy Publisher at iPolitics. Most recently she has joined the Earnscliffe Strategy Group as their Principal Operations to help manage the companies growth and diversification to better serve their clients.

“Knowing your strengths and weaknesses and being upfront and honest about them, is so important because we all bring different things to the table. That’s what makes community so important.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, Sally talks about the value of building a community that you can not only pour support into, but have others pour into you as well.

Finding Balance Through Fitness with Catherine Chan – January 16th 2020

Everyone always tells you how important fitness is to your overall health, but no one ever tells you how to fit in the fitness that works for you right? Then you’ve never talked to Catherine Chan, Founder of FitIn.

Catherine is a long-time lover of running, has competed in kettlebell competitions, and has her grade 4 sash in Kung Fu. Stemming from a desire to try a new yoga class, and frustrated by how long it took to find the right class in the right place at the right time, she was inspired to found FitIn – a platform designed to help people find and be inspired by the amazing number of fitness experiences available out there.

“People often see a barrier to getting into fitness classes, whether it’s social anxiety, body positivity or something else, and I want to help them find somewhere welcoming and inclusive. The connection between mental health and physical health is quite profound and we’re just starting to kind uncover the layers of that.”

On this week’s THRIVE Podcast, Catherine discusses helping founders find their fitness, and bringing balance to your wellbeing.



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