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Growing Your Business & Access to New Markets

Moderator: Dr. Patricia Greene, Professor of Entrepreneurship at Babson College

Dr. Greene is a Professor of Entrepreneurship at Babson College, where she holds the Paul T. Babson Chair in Entrepreneurial Studies. Dr. Greene’s research focuses on the identification, acquisition and access to new markets with various entrepreneurial resources, particularly by women and minority entrepreneurs.

Panelist: Ilse Treurnicht, CEO, MaRS Discovery District, Toronto

Ilse Treurnicht is the CEO of MaRS Discovery District, a leading innovation hub in Toronto. MaRS supports entrepreneurs building young high-growth firms in the health, clean tech, work & learning, finance & commerce sectors, and works with partners to catalyze, scale and adopt innovation. MaRS has raised over $750 million in capital, earned over $375 million in revenue and hired over 3,500 workers into knowledge economy jobs.

Panelist: Lisa Will, Stonz Wear

Lisa Will is the CEO and Founder of STONZ, a Vancouver company that makes high quality children’s outer wear allowing parents and kids to enjoy the outdoors comfortably. Lisa was awarded the RBC Women Entrepreneur of the Year Finalist, Earnshaw’s Best Shoe Company Finalist and the Best Kids’ Shoes Award Winner sponsored by Red Tricycle Awards. Stonz ships around the world including the US, Canada and nearly 40 countries in Europe.

Panelist: Meghan Athavale, CEO, Lumo Interactive

Meghan Athavale drives business development and marketing at Lumo Interactive, which provides the world’s most widely used content creation and management platform for interactive displays. Meghan was among the three finalists in the 2016 SXSW Innovation Award in the Visual Media Experience category for her Lumo Play interactive projection project.

Panelist: Anne Whelan, CEO, Seafair Capital

Anne Whelan is the President of Seafair Capital, a Newfoundland-based company that provides residential care specializing in health and community care, hospitality, industrial and real estate. Seafair Capital is a certified Woman Business Enterprise (WBE) and adds specific value to those industries seeking diversity in their supply chain.

Panelist: Mairead Lavery, Senior Vice President Business Development, EDC

As Senior Vice President of Export Development Canada (EDC), Mairead Lavery is responsible for EDC’s business origination and client coverage across all industry sectors, product lines and customer segments within Canada and internationally. EDC focuses on supporting and developing Canada’s export trade by helping Canadian businesses respond to international business opportunities.

Social Innovation Panel

Remarks: Minister Patricia A. Hajdu, Minister of Status of Women

The Honourable Patty Hajdu, Minister of Status of Women Canada, is well known and well respected within her community for her work on substance use issues, harm reduction, housing, and public health. As Minister of Status of Women, Minister Hajdu is working to address the challenges that women and girls face in Canada today, including ensuring that all new federal legislation and policies consider the impact they will have on women, and taking steps to address the wage gap between women and men in Canada. 

Moderator: Vicki Saunders, Founder, SheEO

Vicki Saunders is the Founder of SheEO, a two-decade long initiative to dramatically transform how to support, finance and celebrate female entrepreneurs. She co-founded and run four ventures in Europe, Toronto and Silicon Valley.

Panelist: Victoria Lennox, Startup Canada

Victoria Lennox is the Co-Founder and CEO of Startup Canada, which is Canada’s first-ever entrepreneur-led national movement. An expert in entrepreneurship policy and building enterprise networks, Victoria has helped build a network of more than 80,000 entrepreneurs and 400 partner organizations.

Panelist: Tonya Surman, Centre for Social Innovation

Tonya Surman is one of Canada’s leading social entrepreneurs and is the co-founder of the Centre for Social Innovation, a pioneer in the co-working and social enterprise movements that has catalyzed more than 100 world-changing initiatives.

Panelist: Ilana Ben-Ari, Twenty One Toys

Ilana Ben-Ari is the founder of Twenty One Toys, a social purpose enterprise that designs toys that teach empathy, failure and other key 21st Century Skills in over 1000 schools and offices worldwide. She is a multiple award winning industrial designer, TEDx speaker, and Ariane de Rothschild Fellow and has been working at the intersection of design and social innovation for over 7 years at studios in Montreal, Helsinki, London and Toronto, Ontario.


Panelist: Adam Jagelewski, MaRS


Adam leads the Capital Advisory practice as well as the day-to-day operations of the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing. Since 2009, Adam has been contributing to national and international market development initiatives in the field of impact investment. He was behind the scenes of the Canadian Task Force on Social Finance in 2010, helped create the Centre for Impact Investing at MaRS in 2011, and has supported several non-profit organizations with non-traditional financing arrangements throughout his current tenure at MaRS. The Centre for Impact Investing is a social finance hub and project incubator that acts as a neutral collaboration space for all sectors – government, community and private – to strengthen our collective ability to mobilize private capital for public good.


Keynote Speaker

Farah Mohamed, G(irls)20, Social entrepreneur and storyteller
Farah Mohamed is an award-winning social entrepreneur with a specific interest in empowering youth, girls, women and diverse populations. She is an expert in communications, partnerships, government relations and female labour force participation. She is the Founder & CEO of G(irls)20 which was launched at the Clinton Global Initiative in 2009. The organization cultivates a new generation of female leaders while working with G20 leaders to keep their commitment to create 100 million new jobs for women by 2025.

Career Sponsorship & Mentorship

Speaker: Karen Schulman Dupuis, Curator of Dialogue, President, Hive Waterloo Region

Karen Schulman Dupuis is a Business Designer with a specialty in digital and social media, who brings her extensive experience in the fields of sales, education, operations, process design, business analysis, project management, marketing and communications together to guide businesses on how to integrate their marketing, operations and strategy goals. She is an intrapreneur, and an award-winning communicator, who has worked in technology since the early 1990s, and with startups and entrepreneurs for almost 20 years.

Speaker: Amy Matchen, startGBC

Amy Matchen has more than twenty years of international executive marketing experience. Most of her career has been devoted to growing venture-backed technology companies, including Indigo Ltd, the digital printing pioneer, which was acquired by HP for some $850 million, and Check Point Software Technologies, the Internet security software leader with annual sales topping $1 billion. Amy is a mentor for Futurpreneur.

Speaker: Glenn Nishimura, Nishimura Consulting


Glenn Nishimura is the Principal and Chief People Strategic at Nishimura Consulting. As an advisor and consultant to entrepreneurs, startups and small business owners across North America and Europe, he helps to build strong company cultures and smart people practices. He is a frequent keynote speaker - talking about the challenges that companies face when building their workforce, and how to turn people and culture into a competitive advantage. He also sits on the advisory board for Venture For Canada, mentors young entrepreneurs through Futurpreneur and the Ontario College of Art & Design.




Access to Capital & Women Angel Investors

Moderator: Sarah Kaplan, Director, Institute for Gender & the Economy at Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto


Sarah Kaplan is Director of the Institute for Gender and the Economy and Professor of Strategic Management at University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management. She is also author of the New York Times business bestseller, Creative Destruction. The Institute seeks to uncover business, career and investment opportunities in finance,  management, entrepreneurship and the economy by promoting gender analysis in research and education.  She is currently studying the role innovation accelerators can play in changing outcomes for women entrepreneurs.

Panelist: Alison Nankivell, Vice President, BDC

Alison Nankivell was appointed Vice President, Co-investment and Government Initiatives of BDC Capital in 2015. In this role, she leads BDC Capital’s efforts as the key execution agent for the Government of Canada’s Venture Capital Action Plan (VCAP) and oversees other government initiatives. She also manages the development of BDC Capital’s co-investments and private equity framework as well as the Diversified Portfolio and GO Capital teams.

Panelist: Janice McDonald, President, the Beacon Agency, Author of ‘A Force to Reckon With’

Janice McDonald is the President of the Beacon Agency which offers customized insights in social entrepreneurship, business strategy and leadership training. An advisor and strategist, Janice is an award-winning serial entrepreneur with expertise in the music industry, apparel/accessories and start-ups. The report ‘A Force to be Reckon With’ offers a comprehensive review of Canadian female entrepreneurs, based on two years of research and interviews with more than 100 entrepreneurs across the country.

Panelist: Nathaly Riverin, President and CEO, Femmessor Quebec

Nathaly Riverin serves as President and CEO of Femmessor Quebec, a funding organization that has helped finance 550 projects for a total of $45.3M since its creation in 2008. Each Femmessor dollar invested generates $4.9 in direct spinoffs for the Quebec economy.

Panelist: April Dunford, Founder, Rocket Launch Marketing

April Dunford is the Founder of Rocket Launch Marketing, providing marketing and sales expertise for startups, including help with marketing strategy, lead generation, market positioning and messaging, marketing and sales alignment.

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