Top Female Founders & Leaders to Follow in 2024

Top Female Founders List

Spiridoula Trakaki Cofounder of Kakushin

We are pleased to present the annual list of Top Female Founders & Leaders to Follow. This compilation represents one of our most extensive coverages in leadership, shining a spotlight on some of the most incredible founders, innovators, and leaders. These individuals are making significant strides in AI, fintech, recruiting, and various other fields. This year’s social media cover is dedicated to April and Marissa, co-founders of Toast, and the post cover is dedicated to Spiridoula Trakaki from Kakushin for their outstanding work.

We would like to extend a big thank you to our global community and extend huge congratulations to these remarkable leaders.

Anastasia Artemova
Kaylee Astle
Yvette Wu
Aamna Zia
Jenna Earnshaw
Afshan Admad
Agnes Lan
Heather Odendaal
Lisa Russell
Briana Sim
Spiridoula Trakaki
Kasey Bayne
Mariya Besedina
Jessica Luczycki
Nouhaila Chelkhaoui
Laura Volpe C. Ferreira
Jessica Smith
Samantha Lloyd
Aletia trakakis
Alexandra Kapelos-Peters
Anastasia Valentine
Meryl Kaye De Leon
Pj Lowe
April Hicke
Megan Hall
Marissa McNeelands
Paola Ruiz
Dilara Cossette
Vidhi Gulati

Anastasia Artemova

Top Female Founders Anastasia Artemova

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/artmva/
Website: https://www.mavenmind.co/

Describe what you do in less than 140 characters.
We help newcomers and Canadians to get their first job and build a dream career, faster and with intention.

Where do you see your industry in the next five years? What trends do you see?

Short-term: There is a gap between newcomers who don’t know Canadian work culture and struggle finding a job and employers who are hesitant to hire newcomers without “Canadian Experience” (while missing out on filling in open positions with experienced talent). With 1.5M of newcomers coming over the next few years, it’s imperative we bridge this gap and accelerate time-to-first-job in Canada, for the sake of Canadian economy.
Long-term: Employees are becoming more demanding to their employers, while employers don’t want to invest into training talent, since job turnover is rising. We need tools that help meet the expectations of the 21st century workers and needs of employers. Career coaching is not scalable and up-skilling courses are impersonal, we need intelligent solutions that follow the worker in their career and eliminate the need for a resume and referrals.

How are you leveraging AI in your organization?

We are applying career coaching methodologies to train an AI career coach to not just build a resume or help the candidate find a job, but also help them gain a deep understanding of their core strengths and career goals. We’re not just giving them fish, we’re teaching them how to fish.

What’s your best business advice?

The most important business strategy for finding PMF of this decade is building a community and providing free value to the community to build trust and credibility. Once trust exists, the community will tell you what problems they need solved the most and will reach out to you to provide a solution.

What’s the next? 
We are looking to connect with companies in career development space as well as universities to help their audience to provide more value to their students. Also use our product and let us know how we can improve it!

Kaylee Astle

Top Female Founders Kaylee Astle

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kayleeastle/
Website:
https://blankabrand.com

Describe what you do in less than 140 characters.
As the CEO at Blanka, I focus on removing roadblocks for my team, enabling them to execute their roles effectively and drive our vision forward.

Where do you see your industry in the next five years? What trends do you see?
Blanka is working towards revolutionizing the beauty industry by automating the creation of personalized beauty lines. Our innovative approach addresses the historical inefficiencies in the industry, propelling us to lead the charge in disrupting and reshaping the beauty landscape, an industry that is estimated to be valued at $580B by 2027. There is so much opportunity in the #BeautyTech space, we are very excited for what the next five years has in store!

How are you leveraging AI in your organization?
We encourage our entire team to leverage AI as much as possible in their roles. A couple ways AI has impacted Blanka include:

Automating Roles: We implement AI extensively to automate various functions within Blanka. For instance, CoPilot, an AI-powered tool, augments our technical team’s capabilities, reducing the need for additional developer hires while boosting productivity.

Enhanced Efficiency: AI plays a pivotal role in streamlining operations across different functions. From optimizing workflows to automating repetitive tasks, our AI-driven solutions significantly enhance overall efficiency and resource utilization.

Personalized Solutions: Leveraging AI algorithms, we tailor our services to offer personalized experiences. By harnessing data-driven insights, we optimize customer interactions, enabling us to deliver tailored solutions that meet individual needs and preferences effectively.

What’s your best business advice?
My best advice for early-stage founders creating an MVP is to prioritize speed and simplicity. Don’t overcomplicate your minimum viable product—strip it down to its core essence. Ship quickly, learn from user feedback, and iterate rapidly. Looking back on when we shipped the first version of Blanka, I realized we added unnecessary features, delaying getting the app into the market. Simplifying from the start accelerates the learning process and speeds up your product’s journey to market.

What’s the next? 
Looking ahead to 2024, it’s going to be an exciting year for our growth. Our primary focus is on scaling up, particularly in establishing a sales function. We’re actively collaborating with several large direct-to-consumer (DTC) brands, such as those in the apparel industry, keen to explore beauty as a new product.

Yvette Wu

Top Female Founders Yvette Wu

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/yvette-wu-059065b/
Website: https://yieldexchange.ca/

Describe what you do in less than 140 characters.
Yield Exchange is a treasury marketplace revolutionizing GIC investing by facilitating direct communication between depositors and financial institutions.

Where do you see your industry in 5 years?
The biggest change is going to be open banking, which will allow consumers to easily transfer their data between financial institutions. This will significantly lower the barrier for fintechs to reach new customers and increase the ways we can deliver value. We’ve already seen the impact of this in places like the UK, where there has been a substantial increase in financial services for consumers. We will see many new innovations trying to take advantage of the change, but at the same time there will also be increasing fears around data privacy. At Yield Exchange, we’re staying ahead of the curve by building something that is valuable for our clients today and is well positioned to take advantage of open banking without increasing our security risk.

How are you leveraging AI in your organization?
We are already using AI to help streamline our operations today, but we see massive potential opportunities for it to evolve our platform over time, which we’ve integrated within our product roadmap. For example, robo-advising is a service we are looking to incorporate to provide value for small & medium enterprises that don’t have the resources for traditional advising. It can also support by creating personalized financial reports and helping depositors compare returns across a wide range of different GIC terms. For both our depositors and our FI partners, we are working to increase our capacity for data analytics to provide key insights on the GIC market, which will be a key area to leverage AI. The last major area will be in fraud detection and data security, which will be crucial when we move into the open banking model.

What’s your best business advice?
Don’t wait until something goes wrong before looking for advice. Find people who ask you hard questions you haven’t thought of yet. Quality connections are everything in business, but you can’t build them if you’re only looking at their value transactionally. If you only get help when you have a specific problem to solve, you’re not going to be building a meaningful connection. The moments that can really make or break a start-up are when you find someone much smarter than you, who can help you see things from a totally new perspective. The best mentors are the ones you connect with on a deeper level, who believe in you so much that they challenge you to grow and to think bigger.

What’s next?
Evolution of our platform from marketplace to a digital end-to-end investment platform. Specifically, this involves forming custodian partnerships and significantly enhancing the account opening and settlement of funds processes for our depositors. In addition, we’re adding an exciting new feature for our FI partners to created customized and targeted GIC product campaigns to our depositor base – this effectively helps them grow their liquidity while avoiding cannibalization. In the last year, we’ve gone from 5 municipal clients to over 100, so we know that we’re providing a great product. The next step is to expand and deliver that same value to a wider audience across new industries and markets while staying close to our partners on both sides. As we grow, we will continue innovating and connecting bridges between FIs and depositors in ways no one else has.

Aamna Zia

Top Female Founders Aamna Zia 2023

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aamnaz/
Website: https://fusefinancial.ca/

Describe what you do in less than 140 characters.
Fuse: one app for all your small business finance needs. Easy banking, fast payments, and smart money management. Invoice in minutes, control spending, and automate accounting.

Where do you see your industry in the next five years? What trends do you see?
Reality is banking in Canada and around the world sucks. It’s exclusionary and unhelpful to Canadian small businesses – especially in Canada. Tell me last time you went into your business bank account and said I actually got something done without relying on 6 different apps to facilitate payments? So now we have 6 different apps that small businesses have to deal with while trying to grow their business and serve their clients. Business banking hasn’t seen a revival at all. While more than 95% of businesses in Canada are small businesses with less than 20 employees.

I believe that the financial management industry will undergo a major transformation in the next five years, driven by the need for simplicity and efficiency. Businesses will look for user-friendly tools that can handle multiple financial tasks in one platform, such as banking, payments, invoicing, spending, and accounting. These tools will help businesses save time and resources and adapt to their changing needs. I think that the future of the industry is about creating financial solutions that are easy to use and aligned with the goals of businesses. The demand for solutions that make tasks like invoice collection, spending management, and bookkeeping more straightforward is on the rise. This shift reflects a broader desire among businesses to save both time and resources. In essence, the industry is moving towards financial solutions that prioritize ease of use and align seamlessly with the evolving needs of businesses.

How are you leveraging AI in your organization?
In Fuse product, machine learning is being used to automate bookkeeping and reconciliation, which can save small business owners up to 7 days of admin work per month. It’s really a game changer. Just imagine doing away with that weekend routine to catch up on your accounting instead of spending that precious time with your friends and family. The Fuse team uses AI to speed up the process of creating content, especially for marketing. AI helps create content that’s not only quick but also fits what customers want. The cool part is that AI adjusts to what’s happening in the market, making sure the messages are just right. With AI handling the content creation hustle, valuable time is freed up to dive deeper into other key aspects of the business strategy. AI is like a behind-the-scenes buddy, making things efficient and giving marketing a real boost. It’s not just a tool – it’s a big help in making the overall business strategy more effective

What’s your best business advice?
The biggest advice I can give is to keep your financial processes simple and efficient. When you streamline tasks like collecting invoices and managing expenses, you not only save time but also cut down on costs. It’s all about embracing tools that are easy for everyone to use, allowing you to focus on the strategic side of your business. And don’t shy away from adopting technology that fits your goals – staying open to these changes keeps you in tune with industry trends. By making your financial operations straightforward, you free up energy to concentrate on growing and succeeding.

What’s next?
Fuse Financial is launching a revolutionary beta version to help small business owners in Canada save time and money by supercharging their financial operations. Fuse Financial is looking to build strong partnerships with Canadian accounting firms that are helping small business owners grow. We already have a few accounting firms as our customers, and we have helped them reduce 30% of their costs in just revenue collection. After the beta launch, the company plans to expand beyond Canada.

 Jenna Earnshaw

Top Female Founders Jenna Earnshaw

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jennaearnshaw/
Website: https://www.wisedocs.ai/

Describe what you do in less than 140 characters.
As Co-Founder and COO of Wisedocs, I manage daily operations and overall strategy, including product innovation and investor communication.

Where do you see your industry in the next five years? What trends do you see?
In the next five years, I see the landscape of the insurance industry reshaping dramatically, with AI and machine learning at its core. These innovations are not just about speed and accuracy in medical record handling; they bring a more human touch to insurance technology. We’re looking towards a future where patient experiences are more personalized; data flows seamlessly between healthcare systems, and the security of digital records is ironclad. At Wisedocs, we’re not just watching these changes – we’re actively shaping them, ensuring our solutions evolve with the healthcare sector’s needs.

How are you leveraging AI in your organization?
We have developed an industry game-changing Medical Record Summary Platform, powered by state-of-the-art machine-learning technology, dedicated to revolutionizing the medical records space. We believe that effective summarization of complex medical data requires clarity and precision, and that’s exactly what our platform delivers. Our platform is designed to align with our core values. It features a timeline view that helps you keep track of medical events, intelligent OCR technology that enables fast and efficient term searches, customizable outputs, and direct annotation tools. Our unique mix of technology and functionality makes it easier and quicker for insurance carriers, legal firms, and medical examiners to access and interpret vital medical information accurately and efficiently for their claims cases.

What’s your best business advice?
One of the most valuable pieces of business advice I can offer is to embrace adaptability and a mindset focused on continuous learning. In the ever-changing world of tech startups, the insurance landscape is changing due to AI, so adapting and pivoting when necessary is crucial. Equally important is committing to continuously absorbing new knowledge and staying open to fresh perspectives and insights. Whether it’s the latest technology, understanding market trends, or listening to customer feedback, this approach helps us navigate challenges, seize opportunities, drive innovation, and foster sustainable growth within our business.

What’s next?
Our next steps at Wisedocs are full of exciting prospects. Fresh off the recognition as one of the Top 10 Growing Insurtechs of 2023, we’re not just riding the wave of innovation but actively seeking new partnerships and opportunities to expand, particularly across North America. We’re also focused on growing our talented insurtech team – we’re seeking individuals who share our passion for transforming the claims processing landscape. If you want to make a tangible impact in the insurtech sector, please check out the career opportunities on our website. Join us in this exciting phase of growth and innovation!

Afshan Ahmad

Top Female Founders Afshan Afshan Ahmad.png

Linkedin URL: https://www.linkedin.com/in/afshan-ahmad/
Website: https://www.neuravue.com/

Describe What You Do in Less than 140 Characters. At NeuraVue, we offer an AI & ML-backed platform turning cameras into smart emergency alert systems for real-time safety monitoring. #InnovativeSafety

Where Do You See Your Industry in the Next Five Years? What Trends Do You See? In five years, AI-driven security and monitoring will become more ubiquitous and sophisticated. The industry will shift towards solutions like NeuraVue’s, which prioritize real-time analysis with minimal privacy concerns. Trends will include advanced recognition algorithms for proactive emergency response, widespread adoption of AI in public safety, and an increased focus on ethical AI usage for security purposes. NeuraVue is positioned to lead in this arena, offering camera-agnostic, highly secure solutions.”

How Are You Leveraging AI in Your Organization? NeuraVue leverages AI and ML to transform standard camera feeds into dynamic monitoring tools. Our platform detects emergencies like falls, physical abuses, or weapon presence in real-time, providing rapid alerts. This AI-driven approach ensures high accuracy and speed, setting our system apart in the realm of security and safety monitoring. The technology’s camera-agnostic nature and focus on privacy and security make it a pioneering solution in the industry.”

What’s Your Best Business Advice?
“Innovate with purpose and prioritize user trust. At NeuraVue, we’re not just developing technology; we’re creating solutions that safeguard communities while respecting privacy. For any tech entrepreneur, my advice is to build products that address real-world problems and to always consider the ethical implications of your technology. Success follows when your innovations make a positive, tangible impact.”

What’s Next? NeuraVue is poised for expansion, aiming to bring our advanced AI-driven safety platform to more markets, especially in North America. We’re looking to partner with organizations and communities who share our vision of enhancing safety while upholding privacy. Additionally, we’re open to collaborating with technology leaders and innovators to advance our platform and explore new applications for our AI and ML capabilities.

Agnes Lan 

Top Female Founders List Agnes Lan

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/agneslan/
Website: https://www.changeconnect.ca/

Describe what you do in less than 140 characters.
I navigate the business maze, crafting solutions and steering companies to success—call me the fixer of small to mid-sized enterprises.

Where do you see your industry in the next five years? What trends do you see?
In the next five years, I anticipate a surge in digital transformation, AI integration for decision-making, and a growing focus on sustainable and ethical business practices. The landscape will be dynamic, and adaptability will be the key to staying ahead.

How are you leveraging AI in your organization?
AI can be a game-changer in the consulting industry. Use AI algorithms to analyze vast amounts of data quickly and extract meaningful insights. This can inform strategic decisions, identify trends, and highlight areas for improvement. Allowing the consultant to focus on what we do best – consult.

What’s your best business advice?
Surround yourself with talented, dedicated and loyal individuals. A strong team is the backbone of a successful business. With a good team, you can move mountains.

What’s the next? 
I am thrilled to unveil the launch of our London Expansion Division! You are hearing it first here at FoundersBeta. This strategic move aims to assist businesses in navigating and thriving in the dynamic London market. Our dedicated team will provide tailored expansion strategies, local insights, and comprehensive support services. If you are looking to expand outside North America, give us a ring.

Heather Odendaal

Top Female Founders Heather Odendaal

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/heatherodendaal/
Website: https://wnorthconnect.com/

Describe what you do in less than 140 characters.
I am the Founder of WNORTH, a membership & Conference dedicated to bridging the gender power gap by elevating women in the leadership pipeline.

Where do you see your industry in the next five years? What trends do you see?
In the space of gender equity, I think we will see an increased focus on resources to achieve gender parity across all levels of leadership at organizations. The 2022 World Economic Forum’s (WEF) Global Gender Gap Report showed that gender parity may not be achieved for a further 132 years, which clearly demonstrates that the status quo is simply not acceptable and we must do more. Progressive organizations are those who are embracing (and thriving) in the new Hybrid work model. It’s proven that increased flexibility nurtures a more diverse talent pipeline to leadership positions. Five years from now, I believe we will have moved beyond this “employer vs. employee” battle of work-place flexibility and the organizations who have embraced it, will be winning the equality race.

How are you leveraging AI in your organization?
At WNORTH, we leverage AI across our organization, enhancing both the efficiency of our team on an individual level and automating processes to scale our impact. Our dedicated membership hub features built-in AI capabilities, aiding in member organization, personalization of experiences, onboarding new members, and recommending optimal connections through our member-matching algorithm based on location and industry, along with content suggestions aligned with member interests. In data analytics, AI plays a crucial role in quantifying member data to understand behaviors. Additionally, we utilize sophisticated, tech-forward event platforms that enable us to optimize event planning and customize the experience according to member preferences. Over the past year, we’ve implemented AI in content curation and graphic design, resulting in a significant reduction in production time without compromising quality.

What’s your best business advice?
I highly recommend working for a small business or entrepreneur before you start your own business. It provides a great training ground for the variety of capabilities that you will have to learn in order to successfully scale your business. Business owners are often really great mentors as well and working for a small business can also come with greater flexibility and learning opportunities than larger organizations.

What’s next?
In 2024, we will be announcing a new Presenting Sponsor for the 8th WNORTH Conference in Whistler that we are really excited about. We will also be expanding our 1,300 strong membership state-side with the opening of a few more US Chapters in addition to the New York Chapter that we have had in place since 2018.

Lisa Russell

Top Female Founders Lisa Russel

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lisaarussell/
Website: https://www.visier.com/

Describe what you do in less than 140 characters.
I help HR Technology organizations embed best in class analytics and Generative AI into their solutions to rapidly empower their clients to make data-informed people decisions

Where do you see your industry in the next five years? What trends do you see?
So many tech founders are focused on the customer experience, but at Visier, we strongly believe that the next generation of successful businesses will be those that are intentionally designing and optimizing the employee experience. In the next five years, we’ll see customers, investors, employees and other stakeholders increasingly hold executives accountable for being good people leaders and understanding the impact the business has in community, across society, on the environment and more. We’ll see a push for increased transparency. And hopefully, we’ll see more women and underrepresented business leaders at the top.

How are you leveraging AI in your organization/workflow?
For those who aren’t familiar, Visier is the global leading people analytics and workforce planning solution. We’ve been leveraging AI for years, but now any organizations that leverage our Alpine platform have access to machine learning and Generative AI capabilities as well. In my role, I’m specifically working with other HR tech companies and helping them to leverage our platform to more quickly add intelligence to their applications. As an example, we can infuse resignation, burnout, and other predictions and insights from the data they already have and embed technology that answers business critical questions with our data journalism approach.

What’s your best business advice?
As entrepreneurs, technologists and business leaders we get so wrapped up in strategy, product features and functionality, and just hitting the numbers. But the best thing we can do is step back and take a human-centric approach. Really get to know the folks on your team. Work to deeply understand your customers’ pain points. Find ways to show up for those in your network. Build relationships that aren’t just tied to one simple transaction but can withstand the ups-and-downs and inevitable evolutions.

What’s next? 
I’m always looking to meet folks who are building solutions in the HR space. Whether you’re focused on recruiting, employee engagement, learning & development, payroll services or workforce planning, I’d love to learn what you’re up to and see if I can support in any way.

Briana Sim

Top Female founders Briana Briana Sim

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/brianasim/
Website: https://www.getsimplicity.ca/

Describe what you do in less than 140 characters.
SimpliCity is the only composable content management and digital services platform purpose built for Canadian municipalities.

How are you leveraging AI in your organization?
We’re currently leveraging AI to provide highly relevant and fast municipal website search results, which up until now have been known to be very slow and bogged down with non-helpful, irrelevant results. In the future, we are looking to add support to auto-tag documents and images with useful metadata information through the use of AI, so that staff can be free to focus solely on creating content. We’ll then focus on how to harness AI to support the personalized self-service needs of the future.

Where do you see your industry in the next five years? What trends do you see?
In the Canadian municipal space, and the public sector in general, we’re seeing a focus on system modernization and process improvements to better support staff and the public they serve. We foresee them shifting to more personalized, on-demand self-services online, through the help of AI. SimpliCity’s data, identity, and security focus will be at the forefront of that work, and we envision being the connected public digital services platform of the future.

What’s your best business advice?
Keep talking with and listening to your customers and prospective customers; focus on providing the best service possible.; and, keep track of the small and big wins along the way so that you can look back and see what you’ve accomplished during the harder times.

What’s the next? 
We’re thrilled to have the District of North Vancouver, BC as our first Founding Partner and launching on SimpliCity’s platform in Q1 2024. We’re looking to expand our Founding Partners program in 2024, and invite another 3 to 5 innovative, early adopter, municipalities across Canada to have a strong voice of how SimpliCity is shaped to meet their needs. Contact Briana Sim, CEO, at briana@simplicitydigital.ca for a demo and to learn about the benefits available only to Founding Partners. We’re also always looking to partner with website design agencies and service designers across Canada who have existing experience in working with public sector clients.

Spiridoula Trakaki

Top Female Founders List

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/strakaki/
Website: https://kakushin.io/

Describe what you do in less than 140 characters.
Biomed and pharmacy grad turned marketing strategist. 10+ years elevating startups through research, social presence, and CMO roles for brand building and customer acquisition.

Where do you see your industry in the next five years? What trends do you see?
In the next five years, I anticipate significant trends shaping our industry as we provide comprehensive branding and support to startups. Everybody is going to want one-stop-shop solutions, and we’re ready for it. The startup world is blowing up globally, and we’re riding that wave. Our plan? Combine top-notch digital marketing with super-smart AI to create personalized branding magic.

Another key trend will be the increasing importance of sustainability and social responsibility in branding. As a company, we are aligning our services with these evolving values to meet the expectations of a new generation of socially conscious entrepreneurs.
We’re setting the stage for a whole new era of startup support. It’s bold, it’s fresh, and it’s exactly what the next generation of game-changers needs!

How are you leveraging AI in your organization?
We’re all about using AI to supercharge our game! We’re not just jumping on the tech bandwagon; we’re customizing our own algorithms to fit our business like a glove. What’s the deal? Well, it’s making our customers feel like VIPs with personalized services, making our behind-the-scenes stuff run like clockwork by automating things, and helping us make smart decisions based on hard data.

What’s your best business advice?
“Stay ahead by monitoring industry trends, like AI, and experimenting with their applications for business growth. Learn from dissatisfied customers, embracing constructive criticism, but skillfully filter feedback to focus on genuine improvements. This dual strategy ensures continuous innovation and strategic refinement.”

What’s the next?
Our next big move at Kakushin? We’re aiming to expand more in North America and team up with folks who share our values. We’re on the cusp of an exciting growth phase, gearing up to launch our own spin-off projects. These new ventures will come from cool ideas and untapped opportunities we’ve uncovered through working closely with entrepreneurs and digging into market trends. It’s a big shift for us – from just supporting startups to actually creating and leading our own projects.

We’ve got a bunch of insights and know-how, and we’re using that to cook up innovative solutions for specific market needs. We’re not just keeping up with the business scene; we’re shaping it. But that’s not all. We’re also big on giving back. So, we’re cooking up an entrepreneur program to help newbies kickstart their own journeys. We’ll be sharing our experiences and offering guidance to help them navigate the startup maze. It’s all about continuous innovation, and we’re pumped to be a key player in the future of business and tech.

Kasey Bayne

Top Female Founders Kasey Bayne

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kaseybayne/
Website: https://www.kaseybayne.com/

Describe what you do in less than 140 characters.
I am so lucky to do what I love every day: helping companies as a Fractional CMO & HubSpot RevOps Specialist. I run my own firm, and use growth and metrics to help businesses grow and succeed.

How are you leveraging AI in your organization?
One of the best things about being an entrepreneur today is how much technology we have at our fingertips! It’s been amazing to see the changes that SaaS, mobile, and now AI have brought to our industry.

I get this question a lot from clients – how can we use AI in our business? While I’m not worried that AI is going to make marketing or content obsolete by any means, it can be an amazing tool to help teams be more efficient. Using AI to put together a first draft of a blog post from some bullet points (which you can edit from there), coming up with different options for a paid ad headline, or even presenting different ways to phrase a difficult email. AI shouldn’t be used as copy/paste, or the be-all-end-all solution for everything, but it’s a tool to be used – and if you’re using that correctly, and understand the limitations (don’t put sensitive data in there!), it can be a valuable tool to add to your business toolbox.

Where do you see your industry in the next five years? What trends do you see?
In the next five years, I think there’s going to be two trends that grow:

Specilization: Working with people who are the best at what they do is so powerful – while in startups, we often have to wear different hats, being able to focus on the growth strategies, industries, and areas that you know and can help – that’s huge! As the saying goes: if everyone is your customer, no one is. Really get to know your customers, understand who you can help best and why, and focus there.

Technology to solve problems: Can you tell I’m a tech nerd? I love checking out all of the new tools and apps out there for my business, but instead of jumping from one solution to the next, what’s more important is understanding what problem I’m looking to solve, and finding the solution that does that well. It’s so easy to get stuck in decision overload – testing out 100 accounting programs or 50 productivity apps. The most important thing is to know your must haves, and find the best tools to solve that problem, so you can focus on what matters most: growing your business!

What’s your best business advice?
People do business with people. Is it cheesy? A little. Is it also 100% true? Definitely. It can get so easy to be overly formal or cold when dealing with others in a professional setting, but that’s not how life works. Getting to know your customers helps you understand how you can help solve their problems, how they work, and yes – helps you sell more! I love doing customer interviews and always recommend them – having conversations beyond “do you have budget to buy?” and into things like, “what keeps you up at night” and “what’s your favourite part of what you do” – those are the things that lets you really get to know your customers, and build those relationships that will both help grow your business, and have those real connections.

What’s the next?
What’s next? I’m continuing to grow my consulting business – working with amazing companies, and doing more with HubSpot to help teams combine growth and metrics to build their businesses. If that’s your thing, or you just want to nerd out on marketing analytics – reach out! I’m also co-founder of Borealis, the tech startup behind Borealis security for Heroku, and launching our newest app for Slack soon – stay tuned for more on that!

Mariya Besedina

Top Female Founders List Mariya Besedina

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mariya-besedina/
Website:
https://motiv.digital/

Describe what you do in less than 140 characters.
As Co-founder and COO of Motiv Innovation Group, I lead execution of our strategic roadmap, the operations of our Corporate Innovation initiatives, and venture building under our Venture Studio.

Where do you see your industry in the next five years? What trends do you see?
The landscape of digital innovation and venture building is rapidly evolving, and we will continue to see significant growth and transformation in the next five years. The trend will lean heavily towards utilizing digitization as a powerful tool to solve complex, real-world problems. What excites me the most is the shift towards building sustainable business models that not only thrive economically but also contribute positively to society. We’ll witness a surge in traditional industries and the public sector investing in advanced technologies, such as AI, community engagement platforms, and innovative digital products. This period is set to be a renaissance of technology, where creativity and sustainability merge to redefine the industry standards.

How are you leveraging AI in your organization?
At Motiv, we’re integrating AI in multifaceted ways to reshape how we approach business challenges. In our Venture Studio, we’re employing the latest generative AI technologies to create products that are not just innovative but also solve real-life challenges using data-intensive and machine learning components. Beyond product development, AI plays a crucial role in our operational workflows. We view AI as collaborative team players, working alongside our human team members to enhance our efficiency. This synergy between AI and human creativity is what makes our approach unique, ensuring high-quality output and accelerating the pace of our daily tasks and long-term projects.

What’s your best business advice?
In the journey of entrepreneurship, particularly as a founder, it’s essential to recognize that you can’t do everything alone, and it’s okay not to be an expert in all areas. One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is the importance of asking for help. Whether it’s seeking advice, guidance, or exploring different methodologies, being open to external insights is crucial. Additionally, when it comes to product development, speed and efficiency in delivering value to users cannot be overstated. Focusing on optimizing your ‘time to value’ is critical. The faster you can demonstrate the value of your product to your customers, the quicker you’ll see returns, which in turn fuels further growth and innovation.

What’s Next? 
Looking ahead, the coming year is set to be a milestone of expansion and innovation for us at Motiv. We have a robust portfolio of new ventures that we are excited to launch. We welcome everyone to join us on this journey by following us on LinkedIn, where we’ll be sharing regular updates and insights into the launch and progress of these new products. Additionally, we are thrilled to announce the launch of a new fund, providing an avenue for investors to become part of our venture studio. This is an opportunity to be part of a movement that is shaping the future of technology and business.

Jessica Luczycki

Top Female Founders Jessica Luczycki 2023

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jessica-luczycki-7378033b/
Website: https://www.part3.io/

Describe what you do in less than 140 characters.
As CCO at Part3, I support our customers from a few different perspectives. My team onboards all new customers and supports them along the way to make sure they get the most out of their Part3 experience. I’m also involved in product strategy and development to enhance our existing features and shape what we’re building next.

Where do you see your industry in the next five years? What trends do you see?
We’re currently exploring ways that we can help our users work more efficiently. In any construction project, you have hundreds and hundreds of documents that you need to review, that’s just the reality of the industry. We’ve built an assistant that gives our users a headstart and streamlines their workflows to make their lives easier. We’re launching this to our Alpha testers before the end of 2023.

How are you leveraging AI in your organization?
There are a few different perspectives on trends in the AEC industry. The design trends for the next five years will likely continue to be focused on sustainability and environmental impact, of course with AI playing a role. In terms of AEC businesses, there will be a push for more control over their projects in terms of data and profitability. We’re seeing firms shift their perspective on how they operate and play a role in the overall project. In comparison to general contractors, consultants sometimes struggle to maintain their profits by the time they finish a multi-year project. This will change now that there is software here to support them!

What’s your best business advice?
With startups, there is the expectation to grow quickly. Step back and think about your strategy, whether it’s growing your team, growing your market, shipping new features, etc. Maybe I still have a bootstrap mentality, but I think it’s important to be methodical. The next advice is to surround yourself with great people. As a co-founder, I’m passionate about my company and the problem we’re solving. Find people who believe in the product and are excited to be part of the journey.

What’s the next?
As part of our growth strategy, we’re looking to partner with different companies in the same space across Canada and the United States.

Nouhaila Chelkhaoui

Female Founders Nouhaila Chelkhaoui

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nouhailachelkhaoui/
Website: https://scalewithoutborders.com/

Describe what you do in less than 140 characters.
Scale Without Borders helps immigrants access resources to succeed in tech, and helps employers tap into brilliant, diverse immigrant tech talent.

How are you leveraging AI in your organization?
Like most businesses in tech, we are anticipating major transformations due to AI. We are particularly looking into adopting AI technology that will advance our talent management processes, and screening for candidate qualifications and traits and their fit with various roles, although we will never remove the human touch in our screening processes. We’re also looking into tech that leverages AI to manage our events, optimize our interactions with our members (immigrants/newcomers in tech), and analyze relevant trends like the job market shifts and barriers newcomers face. That being said, I think that regardless of how far AI takes us, we will always need and have the human touch.

Where do you see your industry in the next five years? What trends do you see?
Particularly in the last few years, tech has not been exactly predictable. But it’s also going nowhere but forward. We will also continue to see high levels of immigration in the next couple of years which means more support systems are needed for newcomers. As for diversity and inclusion in tech, while we’ve unfortunately seen this arguably take a backseat in tech more recently, efforts by the EDI community will continue to be a big component of tech.

Tech jobs will continue to shift and transform for the better to incorporate technological advances like AI. In parallel, diversity & inclusion discussions will be at the center of these transformations – or so I hope – to ensure that we are not regressing in our attempt to accelerate technological transformation.

What’s your best business advice?
I always urge entrepreneurs to rely more on their imagination than their logic. But there has to be a fine balance. Imagination needs to be sustained by both self-belief as well massive action to translate the vision into reality. In a world full of (dissipating) unicorns that are based on questionable valuations, we should focus on delivering value, letting the math do the math, and being pragmatic – all the while remaining visionaries.

What’s next?
We’re going to continue to do what we’re doing, and will focus on scaling our work to amplify impact. We’re also looking to have a heavier presence in various provinces in Canada, and building more partnerships and presence with other countries particularly in North and South America.

Laura Volpe C. Ferreira

Top Female Founders Laura Volpe C. Ferreira
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/laura-volpe-c-ferreira/
Website: https://www.vambora.com/

Describe what you do in less than 140 characters.
As Vambora’s COO, I’m the operational architect overseeing legal, compliance, finance, and people operations, ensuring our mission of empowering immigrants in Canada is executed flawlessly.

Where do you see your industry in the next five years? What trends do you see?
In the next five years, our industry is set to undergo a profound transformation driven by the momentum of Open Banking in Canada. As a data company, Vambora is at the forefront of this change, championing financial inclusion for individuals, particularly newcomers and marginalized communities. In a world where data has often taken precedence over people, our vision is clear: we’re committed to putting people back at the center, focusing on their experiences and needs.

AI will be pivotal in reshaping the landscape, making financial information sharing more accessible and secure. We recognize the significance of trust, especially in ID verification, as we work to overcome the challenges of the AI era. Our mission is not only to drive the adoption of Open Banking but also to empower those who are credit invisible, ensuring that everyone has equal access to financial services. In the next five years, Vambora will continue to lead the charge in creating a more inclusive and people-centric financial ecosystem.

How are you leveraging AI in your organization?
AI is reshaping the FinTech industry by optimizing fraud detection, improving customer service through chatbots, and revolutionizing investment management with robo-advisors. It’s also enhancing credit scoring accuracy and overall operational efficiency. Vambora’s strategic plans involve leveraging AI to empower service providers to make swift, precise, and confident lending and underwriting decisions. Additionally, Vambora aims to integrate AI to offer personalized financial recommendations aligned with consumers’ behaviours and financial goals, further enhancing the value of its solution within the FinTech landscape.

What’s your best business advice?
The best business advice I can offer is rooted in vulnerability, kindness, and putting people first. First and foremost, be open to vulnerability in your leadership. Acknowledge your limitations and seek help when needed; it’s a sign of strength, not weakness. Second, prioritize kindness in your interactions, both within your team and with clients or partners. A compassionate approach fosters trust and collaboration, which are essential for success. Finally, always put people first, whether they are your employees, customers, or stakeholders. Their well-being and satisfaction should be at the heart of every decision you make. In doing so, you’ll not only build a thriving business but also create a positive and lasting impact on the world.

What’s the next step? 
Vambora has several significant developments, having recently onboarded Alessandro Santos as our full-time CTO. This strategic move signifies a commitment to bolstering our technical leadership. Additionally, we’re migrating our infrastructure to the cloud so we can implement best development practices to ensure scalability and high security standards.
As part of our growth strategy, we are actively onboarding new affiliates and partners, aiming to promote financial inclusion for a broader audience of newcomers. We’re introducing a range of new products in our marketplace, signalling a dynamic phase of innovation and expansion for Vambora.

Jessica Smith

Top Female Founders Jessica Smith 2023

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jessicafsmith/
Website: https://savantrecruitment.ca/

Describe what you do in less than 140 characters.
I’m building the next generation of recruitment agencies in order to perform harder, better, and faster for my clients. I’m here to save you time, money, and headache, while adding value. We will be along with you on the ride to growing your business, whether it’s a startup or established. I’ve been doing technical hiring for 11 years. I use the newest methods and tech to get you the results you want. My mission? To prove there’s a smarter, faster way to deliver top-notch talent while slashing time-to-fill metrics. No fluff, just results. For Q1 of 2024, we will be going full steam ahead into the Generative AI space.

Where do you see your industry in the next five years? What trends do you see?
In the next 5 years, hopefully the industry is still thriving. It’s very saturated which is great, but also there have been a lot of swings in the market. In the next 5 years i’m hoping that talent acquisition is done very differently and that corporations are caught up to all the advancements that are coming out shortly.

As far as trends, Leadership & Development and Upskilling is a must. The churn of employees maybe business as usual for some, but it’s a very expensive thing to keep replacing employees. I’m hoping there’s going to be a bigger focus on honing in on talent currently at their company and allowing them to thrive in the organization.

How are you leveraging AI in your organization?
Using it to be more efficient with my time in the business.

What’s your best business advice?
Stay scrappy. Always be networking.

What’s the next?
Soon, we’re hoping to expand past North America, reshaping recruitment globally. We have added some cutting edge partnerships that our clients can take advantage of for their business’, so that they can save time, money, and get more out of their business. We just recently partnered with Flow Ventures to help our clients get more from their SR&ED credits/refunds. There are more partnerships we have as well that our clients will be able to benefit from in their business to help them stay ahead of the competition.

Samantha Lloyd 

Top Female Founders Samantha Lloyd 2023

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/samantha-lloyd-marketing/
Website: https://www.skeletonkrewagency.com/

Describe what you do in less than 140 characters.
I am the Managing and Marketing Director at Skeleton Krew Agency, a marketing agency focused on growing your marketing pipeline from $0-50M in annual recurring revenue (ARR) and leading marketing through its high growth stages!

How are you leveraging AI in your organization?
I am excited about how artificial intelligence (AI) can support marketing overall but also how many of our clients are looking for ways to adopt it into their workflows or have it embedded into their product offerings to their customers. It’s incredible to see how many AI products exist now that provide value both to businesses and consumers. Some of my favourites from the marketing toolkit are:

  • Spark Prospect – A beta launched product that provides insights as well as personality traits on prospective clients based on their LinkedIn profile. You can ask questions about the profile, as well, to learn more about the person and generate messages to pitch them.
  • Copy.ai – The marketer’s favourite tool for generating endless lines of ad copy.
  • Remove.bg – The image editing tool I’ve been obsessed with for years that allows you to easily remove backgrounds from images. Long gone are the days of painstakingly cutting something out of an image.
  • Canva – Though we are all familiar with how amazing Canva is, they have some great AI features and image generation and editing products embedded into their platform, as well.
  • Dall-E – Allows you to generate images which are great for more unique looking blog posts or even to inspire a rebrand. So many of the same stock photos are used again and again so some customizability 
  • Midjourney – Have worked with some designers who use this and, wow, am I impressed with what comes out of it.
  • ChatPDF – A content marketer’s dream for quickly sourcing data and important information in those long-winded PDF reports. Finding that juicy stat and the context of the data in a report is now a breeze!

I am curious about a couple others in the analytics and customer journey tracking space, such as Optimove, but haven’t had the chance to explore those yet. As well, I’m interested in tools around generating social and video content but haven’t found the right fit for my needs yet (if you run a startup in that space – feel free to pitch your product!).

I believe the best way to feel fulfilled in your career is to continue learning and adopting new technologies or ways of approaching things. Artificial intelligence is trending as it can be widely adopted and has been made accessible to anyone who’d like to use it. This was a mission of mine and my co-founder’s, Lisen Kaci, at a previous startup called Metaranx. We were focused on solving the bias in AI by providing access to everyone to build models as well as build tools and startups off existing models. This mission was a learning curve and allowed me to really understand and delve into the topic. Ensuring I stay up-to-date on what’s happening in the technology industry overall and how it’s relevant to my role as a marketing and business leader is important.

Where do you see your industry in the next five years? What trends do you see?
From the trends I’m seeing across my clients in business-facing software companies (B2B SaaS), I believe we will see most companies have artificial intelligence embedded into some component of their product offerings. If AI becomes a default expectation of customers, whether businesses or consumers, then companies need to be prepared to offer it. That said, companies should be sure to add AI products or features that add value to their users and not add them only because they feel the need to. There are many possibilities to leverage AI for analysis and generation so think outside the box and find ways to solve your user’s problems with it!

What’s your best business advice?
As I shared on my recent episode with Wow Digital and their Non-Profit Digital Success Podcast, you need to be unafraid to ask for support. Whether you are interested in starting a company, hiring someone or being hired, or being featured in a certain publication – just ask. Find the right sources to go to and ask to be in the place you want to be or to connect to the people you need to. You may face rejections or not receive responses but for the times you do receive a positive response, it will be worth the effort.

What’s the next?
For Skeleton Krew Agency, we are continuing to expand our package offerings to provide clients and prospects access to even more of our knowledgeable and capable marketing experts. Our clients across North America are growing fast and we need to continue to provide the support at each stage of their growth, until they’re ready to onboard full-time team members to carry out our functions.

What my clients love most from what I create as their Marketing Director are the strategy planning sessions and related documentation as well as goal setting, budgeting, and resource planning. I don’t do anything fancy per se – I live in Google Sheets or Excel for these documents and plan main strategies plus branching sub-strategies (or pillars) and all the related items in connected documents. It makes it easy for their internal team and my team to refer to on an on-going basis.

That said, I’m always wondering if there is a better way to template my strategy documents so that clients can have access but also customize them for different sections of the business or repurpose them as they need. Then I go further down the strategy rabbit hole – could AI be integrated to suggest channels based on previous year’s performance? Could AI suggest a budget based on past ROI? Could AI allow you to ask questions of the document and pull up relevant information (what was the total spend on events last year and how many leads did we generate?). As we enter the planning season for 2024, being able to offer these items as a product has been top of mind!

Aletia trakakis

Top Female Founder Aletia trakakis 2023Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aletia-trakakis-5a443112/
Website: https://kakushin.io/

Describe what you do in less than 140 characters.

I leverage my extensive experience in tech and education to drive innovative solutions, specializing in UI/UX, AI, and data architecture.

Where do you see your industry in the next five years? What trends do you see?

Over the next five years, our industry, which focuses on comprehensive support and branding for startups, is poised to undergo transformative changes. We foresee a trend towards more holistic and technologically advanced services. The increasing global reach of startups will drive a demand for services that not only provide branding but also encompass strategic planning and market entry support. One major trend will be the personalized and data-driven approach to branding. With advancements in AI and analytics, we’ll be able to offer startups branding solutions that are not only creative but also backed by solid market data, ensuring their message resonates strongly with their target audience. Sustainability and ethical business practices will become more than just buzzwords; they will be integral to brand identity. We are gearing up to help startups weave these values into their core operations and branding strategies, aligning with the growing consumer demand for responsible businesses. Our role will evolve to facilitate these connections, helping startups to tap into global opportunities and resources more efficiently. In essence, the next five years will see us not just as a service provider, but as a partner and catalyst in the startup ecosystem, driving innovation and success through a blend of technology, creativity, and ethical business practices.

How are you leveraging AI in your organization?

In our organization, we’re harnessing AI by developing custom algorithms, specifically tailored to meet our unique business needs and challenges. This approach allows for highly specialized solutions that are exceptionally effective for our specific scenarios. We are not merely adopting AI technology; we are actively shaping it to align with our strategic objectives, ensuring that our solutions are both innovative and practical.
Our AI-driven strategy is multifaceted, focusing on enhancing customer experiences through personalized services and improving operational efficiency. By analyzing customer data, our AI algorithms provide tailored recommendations, leading to more engaging and meaningful interactions. Additionally, AI is pivotal in streamlining our internal processes, such as supply chain management and communications, optimizing logistics and freeing up our human resources for creative and strategic tasks. This comprehensive approach to AI integration positions us at the forefront of innovation and efficiency in our industry.

What’s your best business advice?

For the best business advice, I often turn to a timeless quote by Steve Jobs: “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower.” This encapsulates the essence of what I believe is crucial in business. It’s about being bold enough to innovate, to take risks, and to lead the way in uncharted territories. In today’s fast-paced and ever-changing business landscape, resting on one’s laurels is not an option. Instead, successful businesses are those that continually evolve, embrace change, and are not afraid to disrupt the status quo. Innovation should be at the heart of every strategy, whether it’s in product development, marketing, customer engagement, or even internal processes. By fostering a culture of innovation, businesses can not only survive but thrive in the competitive market.

What’s the next?
Kakushin’s future is set for dynamic expansion and innovation, with plans to create our own spin-offs derived from collaborations with entrepreneurs and identifying market gaps through research. This move towards actively participating in market creation allows us to leverage insights and expertise gained in the startup ecosystem, transforming them into viable business ventures. We aim to nurture these spin-offs from conception to market introduction, showcasing our commitment to innovation and ability to adapt to evolving business landscapes. Through this approach, Kakushin will not only diversify its portfolio but also reinforce its role as a leader in driving entrepreneurial development and technological advancement.

Alexandra Kapelos-Peters

Top Female Founders Alexandra Kapelos-Peters

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alexandrakp/
Website: https://www.cansulta.com/

Describe what you do in less than 140 characters.
I have the best job: I’m essentially a business matchmaker, introducing leaders and companies to people & partners who can exponentially improve their organization.

Where do you see your industry in the next five years? What trends do you see?
Both consulting and e-commerce will undergo notable transformation! Remote and hybrid work will dominate, requiring enhanced virtual collaboration tools and broadening the global talent pool.

-ESG and sustainability will become more important for consulting strategies and consumer preferences, as companies respond to risk mitigation, regulations, and use it for a competitive advantage.
– The rise of blockchain and Web3 technologies will revolutionize security, supply chain transparency, and create more immersive, interactive online experiences.
– Personalization will be paramount, with consulting providing bespoke solutions and e-commerce offering tailored products and experiences, further enhanced by AR and VR technologies.

Additionally, the importance of cybersecurity will escalate, as businesses grapple with the complexities of protecting sensitive data in an increasingly digital world.

How are you leveraging AI in your organization?
At Cansulta, we pride ourselves in being trailblazers in the realm of technology and have been using AI for years, well ahead of the rise of mainstream tools like ChatGPT. Use of AI is instrumental in many facets of our operations, e.g. to screen applicant resumes, assess video interviews, and match consultants to clients and projects based on skill sets and experience. We also leverage AI for marketing content creation, leveraging its capabilities to produce insightful and engaging content. As AI tools evolve, we’re keeping an eye on any opportunities to further refine and elevate our processes!

What’s your best business advice?
Startup founders and entrepreneurs need to embrace adaptability and commit to continuous learning. The business landscape is constantly evolving, and the ability to pivot and adapt to new challenges and opportunities is crucial. Don’t be afraid to innovate and disrupt your own processes; sometimes, the best solutions come from reimagining the status quo.

Lastly, always prioritize customer needs and feedback. Understanding and responding to your customers’ evolving preferences is critical to long-term success and growth.

What’s the next?
Looking ahead, Cansulta has many exciting plans, including:

Partner Program Expansion – We continue to expand our Partner program – with several new, exciting partnerships launching soon! Our forward-thinking “win-win-win” model ensures that clients, Cansulta, and our partners all directly benefit from collaboration. Stay tuned to our socials for the news!

Live Event Series Expansion – We continue to emphasize community building by providing valuable networking and learning opportunities for entrepreneurs and business leaders globally through webinars, workshops, drop-in coaching, mini-conferences, and other events.

Broadening our Client Base – We’re targeting small- and mid-sized companies in the US and Canada to support businesses that require the proven expertise we offer. Many high-growth companies seek skills and knowledge that go beyond their current in-house capabilities. Our goal is to be the go-to resource for these companies, aiding in their growth and success with our comprehensive suite of services.

Anastasia Valentine

Top Female Founders Anastasia Valentine

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/anastasiavalentine/
Website: https://www.anastasiavalentine.com/

Describe what you do in less than 140 characters.
I lead the Carpe Omnia Group. We help startups and scaleups create amazing technology, achieve product market fit, launch successfully and generate demand and revenue. This is done on a fractional CRO, CMO or CPO basis to help out regularly, a one time intensive to solve a particular problem or on a project basis to see something through from idea through to launch.

Where do you see your industry in the next five years? What trends do you see?

I’m happy to see a growing commitment to AI transparency, ethics, privacy, security and data stewardship and believe this will not only be a trend, but ultimately mandatory for companies developing AI solutions. If legislation doesn’t demand it, investors, customers, partners and employees will. Any companies with AI components or at its core must focus on these key pillars as they develop new solutions and products.

What’s your best business advice?

Surround yourself with people who are different, who bring other valuable skills sets and lived experiences to the table and who challenge and inspire you to be a better human.
Never cheap out on legal and financial services.
When networking, talk to the person who is the quietest in the room. Usually they are the smartest.
Always keep learning. Always.

What’s next?

I love connecting with my peers in technology including other founders and joiners of startups and scaleups. Look for more announcements from Carpe Omnia in 2024! Hint – seize it all!

Meryl Kaye De Leon

Top Female Founders Meryl Kaye De Leon 2023

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/merylkayedeleon/
Website: https://www.peragrowthhub.com/

Describe what you do in less than 140 characters.
We bridge the gap of access to capital, and we help companies with their equity and/or debt financing. We’re passionate about helping small and medium sized businesses in the country, and uniquely positioning ourselves to serve this large, but underserved market.

What’s your best business advice?
There’s already a lot of rulebooks out there on what to do, and what not to do in business.

Instead, I want to focus on two things:

Identify the “why” in your entrepreneurial journey: As founders and entrepreneurs, it’s extremely important to have a very strong vision of why you are doing what you are doing. There’s a misconception that being an entrepreneur is glamorous. But in reality, it’s extremely hard work, and you can go for weeks and months on end without a scoring a win. In my opinion, what can get you through those hard times always goes back to the reason why you’re on this journey, and that is sometimes the last and only fuel you have to keep you going.

Don’t be afraid to admit you’re wrong, it will help you in the long run: As an entrepreneur, it’s easy to get excited when your product or service finally launches. It’s a milestone moment and something you’ve likely been working towards for a very long time. What happens after you launch is really where the rubber hits the road. Did you meet market expectations? Did you test all of your assumptions? Being open to what you’re missing and what you could be wrong at is key to your growth, and ultimately your business growth.

What’s next? 
I’ve been taking my own advice, and in the beginning I vowed to grow sustainably, and to find the right partners to grow PERA with. I’m looking forward to bringing on more team members in 2024, and establishing far-reaching, and deeper partnerships with firms the country. 

While we grow, we remain wholly focused and committed to providing value to our Clients. While the type of work we do is transactional in nature, our relationship and services to our Client is fully focused on providing value geared towards their full benefit.

Pj Lowe

Top Female Founders Pj Lowe

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/pj-lowe-5068aa1b/
Website:
https://www.chocolatesoup.ca/

Describe what you do in less than 140 characters.
We help companies celebrate their employees’ milestones with LEGO™ minifigs and thoughtful gifts – because every teammate is valuable!

Where do you see your industry in the next five years? What trends do you see?
I see the move towards flexible work arrangements continue to grow. More and more companies are adopting a remote component to their work environment. With that, the need for employee engagement and recognition will continue to grow. Employers are going to continue to search for solutions outside of just compensation to make sure their employees feel valued and cared for.

How are you leveraging AI in your organization?
We have started leveraging AI for content creation and messaging. We’ve trained a few models based on our Chocolate Soup’s data and positioning. The initial results are very promising and have created a significant time saving for the team.

What’s your best business advice?
Don’t start a business if you’re not passionate about the problem you’re trying to solve.

What’s the next? 
We’re very excited to be working on fully expanding our services into the US market in 2024.

April Hicke

Top Female Founders List April Hicke

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aprilhicke/
Website: https://www.trytoast.ca/

Describe what you do in less than 140 characters.
We transform tech hiring with AI, prioritizing gender diversity. Beyond placements, we support and empower women to thrive in their tech careers.

Where do you see your industry in the next five years? What trends do you see?
I foresee a dynamic landscape over the next five years. AI will play a pivotal role in reshaping recruiting processes, aiding in the identification of diverse talent and fostering inclusivity. The industry will witness a surge in demand for specialized tools that mitigate unconscious biases in hiring decisions – especially with the recent change in laws in Ontario surrounding international experience. Remote hiring practices will become more prevalent, contributing to a more accessible and diverse talent pool. Additionally, a heightened emphasis on mentorship programs and support networks will be essential for nurturing and retaining underrepresented talent in the tech sector. Overall, Toast aims to be at the forefront of these trends, driving positive change and fostering a more inclusive future for technology teams.

How are you leveraging AI in your organization?
We have built out algorithms to support our job matching and this has been a complete game changer for us. This technology plays a crucial role in eliminating biases and promoting equity in our clients’ hiring processes, ensuring that opportunities are accessible to all talented women in tech. As well, as a founder with ADHD I have struggled to stay organized, I have been leveraging Fathom to help me keep track of my meetings, calls and clients and allows my team line of sight to the work I’m doing without them having to chase me down as often. It has been a game changer for me – especially the HubSpot integration!

What’s your best business advice?
Trust your gut – it’s the most important tool you’ve got.

What’s the next?
I am very excited to be working closely with our clients and helping them build out strong diverse teams over this next year. As well, I am excited to be expanding into the US this next year!

Megan Hall

Top Female Founders Megan Hall

Website URL: https://www.chocolatesoup.ca/
Linkedin profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/meganhall76/

Describe what you do in less than 140 characters.
We help companies celebrate their employees’ milestones with LEGO™ minifigs and thoughtful gifts – because every teammate is valuable!

Where do you see your industry in the next five years? What trends do you see?
Employee recognition is not going away, it’ll continue to be an important piece of creating great cultures. The companies that truly understand this, will thrive.

How are you leveraging AI in your organization?
We’ve started leveraging AI in our sales efforts. With our newly trained models based on Chocolate Soup’s content, we’ve been able to save time and create very engaging and informative content.

What’s your best business advice?
Don’t be afraid to do things manually to best serve your clients – efficiency can come later once you know that what you’re doing is the right thing

What’s the next? 
We’re very excited to be launching our brand new website in Q1 of this year. We’ll also be launching our new Ambassador program to best reward our clients who keep referring and recommending our services!

Marissa McNeelands

Top Female founders Marissa McNeelands

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/marissamcneelands/
Website: https://www.trytoast.ca/

Describe what you do in less than 140 characters.
We help women in tech get the jobs they want and the pay they deserve by flipping the hiring dynamic on its head.

Where do you see your industry in the next five years? What trends do you see?
I am hopeful that more organizations will embrace skills-based hiring, fostering a gender-diverse Canadian tech workforce. This approach will replace outdated power dynamics that currently favor a narrow candidate profile. As the workforce evolves, there’s a growing expectation for recruitment processes that genuinely value diverse experiences and perspectives. This shift will move us away from the outdated ‘golden ticket’ system, where success is narrowly defined, towards a more inclusive and multifaceted understanding of professional achievement. Additionally, with the rise of AI, a diverse workforce is absolutely critical. It helps prevent the embedding of biased decision-making against certain groups in our everyday technologies. By ensuring diverse perspectives in tech, we can create AI that is fairer, more equitable, and representative of the broader society.

How are you leveraging AI in your organization?
At Toast, we are harnessing AI to build an inclusive workforce for tomorrow. Our AI-driven approach helps identify a diverse range of candidates by focusing on their skills and potential rather than just their past experiences. This technology plays a crucial role in eliminating biases and promoting equity in our clients’ hiring processes, ensuring that opportunities are accessible to all talented women in tech.

What’s your best business advice?
Do what’s right, even when it’s hard.

What’s the next?
We are excited to build on what we’ve learned from our members and clients in our first year of business and take these lessons into our programming in 2024 and expansion into some emerging tech hubs in the US.

Paola Ruiz

Top Female founders List Paola Ruiz

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paolaruizglobal/
Website: https://www.thestrategysolution.com/

Describe what you do in less than 140 characters.
I am building a P2P financial app in Canada, revolutionizing how people invest, lend, and save using cutting-edge technology and community trust.

Where do you see your industry in the next five years? What trends do you see?
Over the next five years, we anticipate a continued surge in technology-driven financial solutions, with a particular focus on user-centric designs and services. Technology solutions that incorporate AI, blockchain, and data analytics will play a crucial role in enhancing the security, efficiency, and personalization of financial services. I do expect demand for online and mobile financial solutions will persist and as the industry matures, a move towards profitability and sustainable business models is likely, along with increased regulatory scrutiny.

Leveraging AI in Your Organization:
AI is central to our platform’s capabilities, from improving financial matching algorithms and personalizing investment opportunities to enhancing risk assessment and fraud detection. It also plays a key role in user engagement, with AI-driven interfaces simplifying complex financial decisions for our users. We leverage AI to analyze large datasets to uncover market trends and user preferences, ensuring our services are not only technologically relevant but user-friendly.

Best Business Advice:
Focus on building a financial and operational business. Also, make sure you are a customer’s first company. This includes your workforce and clients. In our space, we are being very meticulous about building a secure, transparent, and user-friendly platform. In the fintech space, trust is paramount but in any industry is important to keep abreast of evolving regulations to ensure compliance, and always prioritize your users’ privacy and data security.

What’s Next:
We are actively seeking partnerships in the fintech ecosystem to enhance our platform’s capabilities, particularly in advanced data analytics. Plans are underway to validate our user base. We’re also exploring new features like AI-driven financial advising and integration with other financial platforms to provide a comprehensive financial solution to our users.

Dilara Cossette

Top Female Founders Dilara Cossette

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dilaracossette/
Website:
https://focusimagepro.com/

Describe what you do in less than 140 characters.
I specialize in providing fractional demand generation solutions tailored for B2B companies. With almost a decade of focused expertise in the dynamic field of demand generation, I have mastered the art of crafting innovative strategies that deliver tangible results. I don’t just see myself as a digital marketer; I am a strategic partner dedicated to driving businesses toward remarkable achievements. I offer strategic consultations and hands-on support, assisting B2B organizations in implementing digital marketing tactics that yield tangible results through growth strategies.

Where do you see your industry in the next five years? What trends do you see?
In the next few years, businesses are going to change a lot. They’ll use more smart AI to make things work better, like using systems that can learn and improve on their own. People are also paying more attention to being eco-friendly, meaning companies will try to do things in a way that’s good for the environment.

Another big shift is how everything is becoming more digital. This includes how companies do their work and make money. They’ll use fancy AI tech to do things faster and smarter. Overall, the future looks like it’s going to be all about using smarter AI, being mindful of the environment, and doing things in a more digital way.

I truly believe in the power of intent data and think that the easiest way to create demand is by doing it at the right time, catching buyers before they realize there are solutions to their problems. Ideally, even before they acknowledge the problem. As a demand generation consultant, I use intent data signals and ABM platforms to create demand and convert leads into potential customers.

Be empathetic and patient in every business strategy. If you’ve chosen to invest in specific channels or projects, it means (I hope) you’ve spent enough time analyzing the market or tactics and selected them as the best options. Support other individuals, especially those at the beginning of their careers, and be patient with your tactics. When it comes to marketing and lead generation, nothing is built in one day.

What’s next?
I have pretty aggressive goals for 2024 – I aim to position myself as a fractional demand generation leader in the market (as I haven’t noticed anyone offering similar services in Canada) and triple my revenue by the end of the year. I’m very excited about networking opportunities and would like to meet as many people as possible, attend events, and build connections. I truly believe that #sharingiscaring is the best way to grow, so let’s grow together.

Vidhi Gulati

Top Female Founders Vidhi Gulati 2023

Linkedin URL: https://www.linkedin.com/in/vidhi-gulati/
Website: https://www.canadamentors.com/

Describe what you do in less than 140 characters.
I am an entrepreneurial HR leader with over a decade of experience across Talent Acquisition, Strategy, Team Building, Coaching and Mentorship. As a business, Canada Mentors helps North American startups and scaleups build diverse teams and find senior technical talent. Our talent ranges from product, engineering, and data, to finance and accounting.

How are you leveraging AI in your org?
Aside from using AI-enabled tools and automated workflows that make our team efficient, we use our proprietary AI platform and human expertise in matching our clients with niche skills candidates, reducing cost per hire by 50% while delivering results 3x faster.

Where do you see your industry in the next 5 years? What trends do you see?
The recruitment industry will likely witness a seismic change in the coming years.
From sourcing, and screening to bias-free skills evaluation and employee engagement – AI is becoming the core of every Talent function today. It has not just improved team productivity and role dynamics multiple folds but also made human interaction and authenticity all the more important.
I expect community and network connections to become all the more important than ever.
AI will be a part of every platform, every business, and every role. You’ll be expected to be hands-on with AI Tools alongside your functional domain expertise.
All this coupled with evolving dimensions in tech (No Code, Generative and Actionable AI, Quantum, Blockchain ++) will elevate the skills that are valued in Talent and how companies thrive in the market.

What’s your best business advice?
There is never a “perfect” time to start or venture into a new business. If you want to live a different life tomorrow, you have to action TODAY to enjoy the change.

What’s next?
Quite a few exciting changes lined up for Canada Mentors in 2024. We are currently going through a rebranding exercise. We have expansion into new categories and North American markets lined up for H1 2024

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1260 657 Eric Rafat

Eric Rafat

Eric Rafat is a passionate founder with expertise in startups, building high-performing teams, and growth marketing. He is a top ranked tennis player and always up for a conversation about startups and tech. Eric also writes on EricRafat.com

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