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Six outstanding female entrepreneur winners awarded out of a record-breaking 6,400 nominees





TORONTO, NOVEMBER 22nd, 2017 – The 25th annual RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards have named six winners of this year’s prestigious awards, including: the founder of a non-for-profit that pioneers STEM education for women nationally, a blue-collar CEO of one of the most successful retail maintenance businesses in the country and a restaurateur and real-estate mogul whose empire is now exploding into the US market.

“RBC is honoured to partner with women entrepreneurs—the creators, innovators and problem solvers that drive business success in Canada,” says Greg Grice, executive vice president, Business Financial Services, RBC. “These awards are one way we are able to place a spotlight on the passion, dedication and contributions of these exceptional business women. It demonstrates the leadership role they have in the business community and how they inspire the next generation of Canadian entrepreneurs to pursue their dreams.”

Presented by Women of Influence and now in their 25th year, the awards recognize the country’s leading female entrepreneurs who have made impressive and substantial contributions to the local, Canadian or global economy. This year’s judging panel is comprised of twelve of Canada’s top business leaders, including: Karen Greve Young, VP, Corporate Development & Partnerships MaRS Discovery District Toronto; Karen Brookman, Vice President, Services, Ricoh Canada Inc.; Sandra Altner, CEO Women’s Enterprise Centre; Larkin Mackenzie-Ast, General Manager, Forum for Women Entrepreneurs and Director for the BC Innovation Council.

The announcement was made at a gala reception on November 22nd, hosted by Diane Francis, Singularity University, Atlantic Council and editor-at-large for the Financial Post. Following a record-breaking 6,400 nominees, this year’s winners are:


Following a record-breaking 6,400 nominees, this year’s winners are:


  • Geneviève Lévesque, Artêria Gallery, Bromont, QC, Micro-Business Award

  • Trina Bailey, Bailey Veterinary Surgical Specialty Ltd., Mount Pearl, NL, Staples Start-Up Award

  • Mandy Rennehan, Freshco, Oakville, ON, RBC Momentum Award

  • Melissa Sariffodeen, Ladies Learning Code, Toronto, ON, Social Change Award

  • Claudia Sjoberg, The Pedalheads Group, Vancouver, BC, TELUS Trailblazer Award

  • Janet Zuccarini, Gusto 54 Restaurant Group, Toronto, ON, TEC Canada Award for Excellence in Entrepreneurship


Alicia Skalin, Co-CEO and Head of Events and Programming, Women of Influence Inc., congratulated the winners for their incredible achievements, and for inspiring future generations of female entrepreneurs. “We are honoured to recognize the contributions of women entrepreneurs in Canada for 25 years running.” explained Ms. Skalin. “The incredible growth of our program reflects the growing number of successful women-owned businesses in our country. The 2017 winners have turned their personal passions—from art and artisans to construction to hospitality – into thriving businesses. They have earned the esteem of their peers and their communities, and are truly paving the way for future female entrepreneurs.”

For more information on this year’s award winners, visit


About the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards

The RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards are the pre-eminent national business awards recognizing the country’s leading female entrepreneurs. The awards are an initiative of Women of Influence, an award-winning organization dedicated to advancing women globally.


About Women of Influence Worldwide Inc.

Women of Influence, now in its 23rd year, is one of North America’s leading organization offering solutions to further women’s career advancement. With courses in executive leadership, global events, and print and digital content, Women of Influence annually reaches over 200,000 professional women and men across Canada and internationally. Signature events include the Women of Influence Luncheon Series and the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards. For more information, please visit



For interview requests or further information please contact:

Amanda Kruzich, Women of Influence, 416 456-8633, ak******@wo**************.ca

Rob Merk, Corporate Communications, RBC, 416 955-6665, ro******@rb*.com