Meet Shamira Jaffer, RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards Innovation Finalist
Shamira Jaffer is the founder and serves as the CEO of Signifi Solutions, where her unwavering passion for innovation has propelled the company to become a global leader in automated workplace and retail solutions. Raised in both Kenya and Canada, Shamira possesses a profound appreciation for cultural diversity, which she has translated into a commitment to fostering inclusivity and collaboration within her organization. An accomplished inventor and entrepreneur, Shamira’s expertise extends to the realms of engineering, robotics, AI, and automation. Her mission revolves around two core objectives: providing innovative solutions that empower customers and cultivating a thriving environment for her team and all company stakeholders. Shamira’s relentless advocacy for workplace innovation underscores her identity as a visionary and strategic leader.
I knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur when… in my first job, I realized that I wanted to fix things. I found that I was constantly innovating, and developing ideas of how to improve systems, but was stuck at the bottom of the administrative ladder. Being an entrepreneur allows me the autonomy and agility to implement my ideas and make a positive impact.
Entrepreneurship is made for me because… I thrive in environments of constant change, where opportunities exist for innovation. I am solution-driven and drive progress continually. I see entrepreneurship as a way to turn my vision into reality, to create meaningful solutions, and to make a lasting impact.
The impact I hope to make through my work is… creating innovative solutions that give back time to employees and customers, making their work experiences more efficient and frictionless.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned on my entrepreneurial journey is… that perseverance is key — never give up, keep pushing forward even when it gets tough or takes longer than you expect. A diverse team with different strengths and abilities is essential to success. I’ve been humbled by the support and belief in our mission from the team, especially during the toughest and most unexpected times.
My proudest accomplishment is… in a highly competitive bidding process, we won a project for the World Food Programme to build a 40-foot large food dispensing kiosk to be placed at refugee camps in Sudan. This allows people to safely and equitably receive their rations.
The biggest risk I took that paid off was… investing in certifying our products to be sold globally when we were not yet a global company. The payoff was that large global enterprises started reaching out to us.
My biggest setback has been… the limited access to great resources during our early years. This had an impact on the pace of our growth trajectory.
I overcame it by… being persistent in convincing people to take a risk on the vision of the company in which I had unwavering faith.
The best advice I’ve received as an entrepreneur was… the importance of focus. This advice has been a principle in my entrepreneurial journey, urging me to maintain a relentless focus on my core objectives, vision, and goals.
I surprise people when I tell them… I am an inventor, not an engineer.
If I had an extra hour in the day, I would use it to… learn more in a different field — perhaps a musical instrument and another language.
If you googled me, you still wouldn’t know… that I worked in a camp for children with different abilities and wanted to be an archeologist.
The future excites me because… our team is creating solutions for the future. Signifi’s solutions are integrated into various industries from retail, to transportation and government. These industries are poised for transformation and I’m excited to be part of that journey.