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The RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards do more than honour the most successful, they inspire.



Stephania Varalli, Co-CEO of Women of Influence, weighs in on why nominating an entrepreneur — or nominating yourself — for the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards is one of the best things you can do to ensure more women take the plunge into business ownership, and gain control over their careers. 


By Stephania Varalli



I owe a lot of who I am to my mother. When I was seven years old, she opened a Montessori school. In the years prior to her new venture she was a stay-at-home mom, earning her Master of Education degree while chasing after two kids. My sister and I were part of her school’s first cohort, and so I spent three years with a principal who also happened to be my mom. This gave me the lucky advantage of seeing my first female role model in action. Every day was take your kid to work day.

Twenty-five years later and the school has grown immensely from its modest start. I look at my mother now and see a woman who is a successful entrepreneur, a highly regarded expert in her field, and, perhaps most important of all, she is someone who obviously loves what she does. I understand the fulfillment she gets from her career. And I know about the challenges that it brings as well.

With my mother as a role model, it’s no surprise that I ended up on an entrepreneurial track myself. I’ve been the co-owner of Women of Influence for over two years, and it has been some of the most challenging and rewarding work I have ever done. Being a part of an organization that pushes for women’s workplace equality 

has also made me realize that few women grow up with an entrepreneurial role model for a mother.

Which is why it’s so important for other female entrepreneurs to be put in a spotlight. To share their stories. To be celebrated. It’s why the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards, presented by Women of Influence, have been handed out twenty-five times already. As the premier national awards program recognizing female business owners — of all company sizes, working in various industries, and from across Canada — the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards do more than honour the most successful, they inspire the entire group.

We’re currently looking for nominations for this year’s recipients. If you know a woman entrepreneur, take two minutes of your day and nominate her. And if you happen to be a woman entrepreneur, go ahead and nominate yourself — you deserve to be recognized.


Staples Canada sponsors the Staples Start-Up Award at the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards presented by Women of Influence. The award celebrates the achievements of an entrepreneur who, in a minimum of three years and a maximum of five years, has developed her business into one that’s ready for the next level of growth. The recipient has been successful in building a profitable business since its inception, and can share a comprehensive and sustainable business plan