Advice from the RBC Momentum Award Finalists: 2016 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards
The RBC Momentum Award Finalists are entrepreneurs that have overcome obstacles, capitalized on opportunities to deliver 10% growth or more, and have done so for more than three years. Through their expanded management, empowered employees, and demonstrated success, these entrepreneurs have created a flexible and responsive business that is able to adapt to changing market environments and leverage opportunities for continued growth.
We asked this year’s winner and finalists for their best advice for other entrepreneurs.
Winner: Kate Ross LeBlanc, Saje Natural Wellness
Saje Natural Wellness provides 100% natural product solutions that help the body detoxify and recover from the elements’ harmful effects. Their extensive product line includes natural remedies for a variety of everyday health concerns, including headaches, stress, allergies, colds, and more, with a vision of global wellness inspired by Ross LeBlanc’s husband’s own health challenges and chronic pain and her own love for retail. Their mission is to connect people with the healing power of plants, through living, sharing and inspiring holistic wellness daily.
Q: What do you wish you knew at the beginning?
A: That it’s ok to be a leader. Growing up in a small town, I had a few painful experiences early on around standing out too much, and in many ways I resisted my own growth into leadership. I wish I had known earlier that it could be so incredibly rewarding; that ‘boss’ and ‘bossy’ are not the same thing. Yes, it’s a big responsibility to help shape someone’s career, but moreover: it’s an honour and I wish I had started this part of my own development earlier.
Finalist: Alyssa Furtado, Ratehub
RateHub.ca is an online platform that aggregates and compares mortgage rates, credit cards and other financial products offered by Canada’s major banks, neighbourhood credit unions and brokers. Furtado’s service allows Canadians to compare thousands of rates from hundreds of providers, with a few easy clicks, saving them time and empowering consumers to better evaluate their options so they can make smarter financial decisions.
Q: What would you tell a room full of aspiring entrepreneurs?
A: I would tell aspiring entrepreneurs to start today. Launching a business and taking on substantial financial risk only gets harder as we get older. Your job and salary become harder to walk away from and life’s responsibilities from mortgage payments to growing a family only increase over time. The younger you start the more risks you can take.
Finalist: Sylvia MacVey, G. E. Barbour
G E Barbour Inc (Barbours) is a 149 year old food processing, family owned corporation, traditionally focused on servicing the regional Atlantic Canadian retail market with forays into the Canadian and US private label markets. Under MacVey’s leadership, Barbours has established itself as an innovative co-packer and product development partner in Canada and the US.
The collective impact of our country’s female entrepreneurs cannot be overstated. The RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards is the premier national awards program celebrating the achievements of the most successful in this inspiring group. Now in its 24th year, over 120 women have been recognized for demonstrating excellence—from economic growth to social change, from local to global reach, across multiple sectors. We’re honoured to shine a spotlight on them.