8 Canadian Women Entrepreneurs to Watch

Updated: Mar 9, 2019

By Jessica Alex


For International Women’s Day 2019, we decided to feature eight Canadian women entrepreneurs in different industries who are doing amazing things. From beauty to tech and everything in between, here is our list of eight fabulous women making their mark.



Aisha Addo – The Disruptor

Toronto, Ontario

Founder of Power To Girls Foundation and DriveHER Transportation Inc.


Aisha Addo

Aisha Addo thrives on working to make the world a better place for women. Although a graduate in business administration accounting, her true passion and dedication lie in ensuring girls around the world are provided with the guidance and resources that help them identify their true purpose and calling to reach their full potential.


Her international organization, Power To Girls Foundation, offers programs, workshops, camps and conferences to empower Afro-diaspora girls through mentorship, community interaction and recreational activities.


She is also the founder and CEO of DriveHER, a ride sharing app and community designed for women by women. Named one of 14 Iconic Canadian Women by CBC Life, she was also a 2018 RBC Women of Influence nominee and chosen as one of 150 black women who have made a place in Canadian history by the CBC project HERstory in Black.


What inspires her to do what she does?

I am inspired by the next generation and all the opportunities that will be available to them because we all dared to inspire and to create change. They keep me going and it’s because of them that I am who I am.

Why she’s one to watch: She continues to defy the naysayers and is determined to create a better future for girls.


To keep up with Aisha, check out her links below:

www.powertogirls.com Instagram: @_power2girls Twitter: @_power2girls

Facebook: Power to Girls Fdn


www.driveher.ca

Instagram: @driveherapp

Facebook: @driveherapp

Twitter: @driveherapp


www.aishaaddo.com

Instagram: @aishaafua

Twitter: @aishaafua



Amanda Muse – The Influencer

Kitchener/Waterloo, Ontario YouTuber and host of the podcast, The Sandwich


Amanda Muse

While living as an expatriate in Malaysia, Amanda started her YouTube channel “AmandaMuse” to document her journey into motherhood with her two children, and connect with women around the world on a similar path.


As one of YouTube’s original moms, Amanda has created an engaged community online. Her authenticity and optimism through the highs and lows resonates with her audience.


Now living in Ontario, Amanda Muse has become a lifestyle brand, where she shares her views on life through videos on YouTube, traditional media, social media, a web series and her newly launched podcast The Sandwich. In 2018, Amanda was featured on TIME.com, appeared several times as a Lifestyle Expert on Global’s The Morning Show, and was nominated for Livestream of the Year Iris Award. Most recently Amanda’s podcast The Sandwich, was listed as New & Noteworthy by iTunes.


What inspires her to do what she does?

I’m on a mission lately to share with women that we can be more than just one thing; more than a mom, more than a boss, a wife or friend. We are layered and there is so much to explore and nurture within us and to prioritize the relationship we have with ourselves! We can’t fill from an empty cup – so let’s do our best to nurture ourselves while we nurture those around us. Seems simple, but it takes work and sometimes encouragement so I get to be that friend for my community. By sharing my life, the highs and lows, I get to offer that support to my online community and it brings me so much purpose and joy!

Why she’s one to watch: She is authentic and a breath of fresh air. Amanda uses her platforms to remind her followers that it’s 100 per cent okay to be all the versions of your true self and that self-care is important.


To keep up with Amanda, check out her links below:

www.amandamuse.com

Instagram: @amandamuse

YouTube: AmandaMuse



Ashley Jacot De Boinod – The Giver

Toronto, Ontario

Founder of Glory Hole Doughnuts


Ashley Jacot De Boinod

Ashley Jacot De Boinod started her journey through the culinary world in 2004 when she attended George Brown College for the culinary program. At the time Ashley wanted nothing to do with pastry. However, after several years on the line, Ashley decided to move away from her comfort zone and step into the world of pastry. Her journey began at Stubbe Chocolates where she fell in love with the art of chocolate.


After working at some of the top restaurants in Toronto for over a decade, Ashley decided to start on a new path. Ashley loved how transformative yeast-risen products are; how they start from such humble ingredients and end up as something completely different. Her dream of opening up her own place, along with the love of doughnuts and yeast risen products is what kick-started her into creating Glory Hole Doughnuts. Along with the creative help of her husband Rob Dean, Ashley grew the small independent company into a wholesale business which would eventually expand into a retail shop. To date, Ashley now has two locations in Toronto.


Ashley has also partnered with institutions such as George Brown College (who has partnered with CAMH) to offer people who suffer from mental health and addiction issues and help them build confidence through food. Ashley believes that owning a business is not only a great way to share her passion for food, it’s a perfect vessel and opportunity to support those in need in her community.


What inspires her to do what she does?

I’ve been in an industry that has long had a negative reputation in how staff are treated and cared for. And having been in some awful situations during my own career, I always wanted to create change in the environment I offer to my staff – a space where people could feel authentically themselves, and create a positive work culture. When I decided to add “Everybody’s Welcome” on both of my locations’ front doors, I truly meant it.
Also, I am so lucky to have had such an amazing support system through the hardest thing l have ever done in my life. In the end, I’m so thrilled and honoured to have the people of Toronto loving my product. This shop was truly a labour of love and continues to be the most exciting adventure I’ve ever had the pleasure of being a part of.

Why she’s one to watch: Not only is she a baker, she has made giving back a part of her business. She thinks outside the (doughnut) box and has created a loyal following of doughnut lovers. Ashley recently opened her second location, and we are secretly hoping for more.


To keep up with Ashley, check out her links below:

www.gloryholedoughnuts.com

Instagram: @gloryholedoughnuts



Doris Chung – The Publisher

Toronto, Ontario Founder of PPS Publishing


Doris Chung

Doris Chung comes from a heritage of graphic designers and book printers. Having graduated from OCAD University & George Brown College, she continued in her family book printing business, and then in 2008 branched out on her own with her first company, Publisher Production Solutions. Her company offered self-published authors writing services, marketing support and print production.


Doris continued with her entrepreneurial spirit and founded several more of her own companies, including the most recent one, PPS Publishing with a focus on non-fiction publications written by women. She proudly has over 10 years of experience helping experts, authors and entrepreneurs discover their true specialties before putting pen to paper, expertise which she has brought to PPS Publishing. PPS Publishing looks to give a voice to female thought leaders and entrepreneurs where they might normally be overlooked.


Doris volunteers her time with organizations like Local Talks presented by Fall for Local and The Ace Class and is a mentor for Women in Biz Network and Forum for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE). Most recently she, along with her daughter, launched a women-focused fundraising initiative called Girl Love Fund, where 30% of proceeds goes to programs for the empowerment of girls.


What inspires her to do what she does?

My grandmothers, my mother and my daughter are who truly inspires me. The strong women, the female entrepreneurs whom I have met over the years also greatly inspire me. Their ideas, their passion, and their drive, inspires me as well. I’ve always been the type of person that loves to help others shine. Everything that I do now is to help promote, feature, highlight someone’s expertise, business or major event in their lives.

Why she’s one to watch: She created a publishing company dedicated to telling the stories of women.


To keep up with Doris, check out her links below:

ppspublishing.com


girllovefund.com


Instagram: @dorisdays



Dwania Peele – The Connector

Mississauga, Ontario Founder of Canadian Small Business Women


Dwania Peele

Dwania Peele is the owner and executive director of Canadian Small Business Women (CSBW). A lover of entrepreneurship, volunteering and networking, Dwania strives to inspire aspiring and current entrepreneurs in Canada. A chemist by training and education, but an entrepreneur at heart, Dwania has started two successful businesses in the past 11 years. For the past six years, CSBW has served as a platform for aspiring and current small business women in Canada. Through e-courses, blogs, online chats, seminars and expos, CSBW provides avenues for entrepreneurs to showcase their expertise. Dwania continues to make an impact by appearing as a guest speaker at various entrepreneur events and by participating in various panels across the Greater Toronto Area, providing valuable insight to those in need. She has been nominated for several awards and was the winner of the 2018 Brampton Board of Trade Top 40 Under 40 Award and the 2015 IWAA Entrepreneur of the Year Award.


What inspires her to do what she does?

I have always been a believer that if you are lucky enough to wake up and be healthy and of sound mind, you should set out to achieve something in your day. I set out to live each day to the fullest. With CSBW, I am motivated to continue to do what I do in order to help others. Just to hear a simple “thank you” from a guest at one of our events is enough to keep me going. The end goals are to make a positive impact and to provide quality services to aspiring and current entrepreneurs. So in a nutshell life inspires me to live and make an impact!

Why she’s one to watch: She continues to find solutions for female entrepreneurs and aspiring female entrepreneurs.


To keep up with Dwania, check out her links below: www.canadiansmallbusinesswomen.ca www.immigrantsmallbizexpo.ca Instagram: @canadiansmallbusinesswomen

Facebook: CanadianSmallBusinessWomen

Twitter: @CdnSmallBizWmn

LinkedIn: Dwania McLarty-Peele



Eunique Thomas – The Artist

Toronto, Ontario

Founder of Faces By Eunique


Eunique Thomas

Faces By Eunique was founded by Eunique Thomas and is a luxury mobile makeup and hair service that specializes in day and evening beauty customization. For 13 years, Eunique has been in the beauty industry, a field she knew she was destined to be a part of. She grew up around the entertainment and beauty industry, and while studying fashion arts at Humber College, she instantly fell in love with makeup in particular.


Eunique has worked with celebrities such as Cardi B, Kevin Hart, Neyo, Sting, Tracy Moore, Norah Jones, and Sandra Rinomato. Her work has taken her to places such as Los Angeles, New York and the Caribbean.


She is also dedicated to working with youth who want to learn more about healthy skincare, and the everyday woman from all walks of life looking to be pampered. Her goal is to create an experience with her clients by also helping them to embrace their beauty from within, because Eunique strongly believes that “when you inhale confidence, you exhale inner beauty.”


What inspires her to do what she does?

What inspires me the most is the connections I build with my clients and being able to express my creativity while creating a (e)unique experience.

Why she’s one to watch: She’s worked with celebrities, designers and companies both domestically and abroad to consistently create works of art. And she is quickly becoming one of Canada’s in-demand makeup artists.


To keep up with Eunique, check out her links below:

www.facesbyeunique.com

Instagram: facesbyeunique



Francine Gomes and Nicole Gomes – The Dynamic Duo

Calgary, Alberta

Co-founders of Cluck N Cleaver



Top Chef Season 5 All Stars winner and Iron Chef runner up Nicole Gomes teamed up with sister Francine Gomes to provide simple and tasty crispy fried and French style rotisserie chicken. Their first location, situated in a busy Beltline location in Calgary has created cravings that have made people come back again and again. Francine’s 20 plus years of experience in restaurants and her intimate knowledge of chickens from her time raising them on her home farm has been the perfect complement to Nicole’s 25 plus years of expertise and ingenuity in commercial kitchens. Together they continue to focus on what they do best, which is to share their passion for one of their favourite foods, chicken. Providing restaurant quality preservative free food to those in a hurry, Cluck N Cleaver has been recognized as one of the best joints in Calgary. Keep an eye out because they plan on expanding across North America.


Francine Gomes

Francine Gomes

From a young age Francine Gomes was destined to create. At the age of 15 she pursued her education specializing in the arts at Cambridge Arts and Sciences College, in Cambridge, England. Then upon receiving scholarships she furthered her love, to complete her Bachelor of Fine Arts majoring in film studies at Ryerson University.


Being inspired by her self-employed single mother and her very successful sister Nicole Gomes, she was motivated to create and define her own career. Francine has had a passion of living a sustainable life, and began her life of farming. She has used her eight years experience of raising heritage chickens as a motivation to provide better quality food. After pursuing her love of crafting and living a sustainable life in small country towns, she returned to Calgary in 2015. Francine and her sister formed Cluck N Cleaver, and since opening, it has been named the best fast casual/take out restaurant by Alberta’s Avenue Magazine.


With her background in the arts, over 20 years in food and beverage, and more than five years in finance, Cluck N Cleaver has provided Francine with the perfect melting pot to utilize her versatility of interests and inspirations.


What inspires her to do what she does?

Opportunity – the opportunity to create something from scratch. I have always loved a challenge. Especially of creating something new, innovative, captivating, inspiring, and most of all delicious from scratch. My family also inspires me, my mother most of all, she’s a brilliant, resilient, and relentless doer.

Nicole Gomes

Nicole Gomes

Crowned as Canada’s Top Chef by Food Network’s Top Chef Canada: All-Stars, a competition that pitched the best of four seasons of Top Chef Canada, Nicole Gomes fought her way to the champion spot to become the first female winner of Canada’s most prestigious high-stakes culinary competition. Also, as a semi-finalist on season two’s Iron Chef Gauntlet, Nicole’s position has been confirmed as one of Canada’s premier culinary talents.


With over 22 years of professional experience and currently as chef-owner of the highly successful Nicole Gourmet Catering, now in its twelfth year, Nicole has been intrigued by the kitchen from the very young age of 8. Her first exposure to professional cooking came during an apprenticeship at a Paris bistro. She has since cooked across the globe aside many accomplished chefs, and has travelled extensively as a guest chef including the James Beard House, in New York City.


Nicole has been recognized with several awards including Western Living’s Top 40 Foodies under 40 in 2013, Avenue Magazine’s Top 40 under 40 in 2014, Alberta Women’s Entrepreneur nominee in 2014, and Calgary Herald’s Compelling Calgarians in 2015. In 2016, Nicole partnered with her sister Francine to open Cluck N Cleaver, a crispy fried and French style rotisserie chicken take-out joint, priding itself on providing good food, fast.


Nicole donates her time to a large number of charitable causes, such as Calgary Health Trust’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and a variety of food and children-related organizations. Collectively throughout her Top Chef Canada viewing parties, Nicole has raised over $120,000 for a variety of charities close to her heart.


No matter what Nicole is cooking from her large repertoire of culinary experience, this busy chef, caterer, entrepreneur and passionate media personality remains committed to innovative, personalized cuisine served with personality and flair. Nothing gives her more joy than sharing her craft by bringing people together to enjoy great food.


What inspires her to do what she does?

My answer – I love eating and have a deep passion for my career!

Why they’re ones to watch: These sisters are poised to take over Calgary’s fast-food scene by offering quality food and delicious flavours. What’s even more exciting are their plans to expand across North America!


To keep up with Francine and Nicole, check out their links below:

cluckncleaver.com

Twitter: @cluckncleaver

Instagram: @cluckncleaver

Facebook: Cluck N Cleaver


Francine:

Twitter: @phaible

Instagram: @phaible


Nicole:

Twitter: @nicolegourmet

Instagram: @nicolegourmet

Facebook: Nicole Gourmet


Instagram: @chefngomes



Thank you to these incredible women for their contributions, and we look forward to seeing what they have coming up next!

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