Nominees must meet all eligibility criteria in order to apply for the 27th annual RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards. To confirm your eligibility, please ensure you meet the following criteria. If you have additional questions, please email us at [email protected] for more information.

Please note:
– Certain eligibility criteria do not factor in if you are applying to the Social Change Award and the Ones to Watch Award
– Please review additional criteria that applies to each specific Award category

  1. She must be active in a business registered as a sole proprietorship or corporation for three full years as of April 30, 2019.
    • Not applicable to those applying for the Ones to Watch Award.
  2. Her business must have been profitable in the last fiscal year.
    • Not applicable to those applying for the Ones to Watch Award.
  3. For registered charities, not-for-profits and social enterprises, this means financially stable and meeting all spending quotas when applicable.
  4. She must currently own shares in the company.
    • Not applicable to those applying for the Social Change Award.
  5. She must hold the most senior executive title and/or be the chief decision maker.
  6. She must be the founder of the business and/or have had a significant impact on the company if acquired.
    • Nominees applying to the Social Change Award must demonstrate how they’ve had a significant impact as the leader of the organization.


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[woitoggle title=”Why is profitability a criterion?”]
In order to sustain the credibility of the awards, Women of Influence ensures that we honour women entrepreneurs who have well-rounded businesses. The applicant must prove profitability in the last fiscal year.

[woitoggle title=”What if I have been in business for less than three (3) years?”]
It is required that your business has been operational for three years, as of April 30, 2019.

  • Not applicable to those applying to the Ones to Watch Award.


[woitoggle title=”Are franchisors eligible?”]
Franchisors are eligible to apply, but franchisees are not. While franchisees may use innovative business strategies to grow their operations, they are not founders of the original business concept and structure.

[woitoggle title=”Are non-profit organizations eligible?”]
The program now includes registered charities, Not-for-Profits and social enterprise businesses. These organizations may only apply to the Social Change Award (more information below).

[woitoggle title=”Explain the criteria of ‘responsible for day-to-day management'”]
1. Own or control the majority of voting shares (n/a to Social Change applicants)
2. Hold the senior executive title or be the chief decision maker.
3. Be responsible for day-to-day management and the bottom line of the company.

[woitoggle title=”What if the business is a partnership with a man?”]
Women entrepreneurs in partnership with a man may apply if the applicant meets all other eligibility requirements as outlined above.

In essence: if the partnership were to break up, would the woman entrepreneur retain control of the company? If so, she is eligible to apply.

Proof of meeting these criteria can be indicated in the application within the business plan section.

[woitoggle title=”What if I am not the founder?”]
If you have purchased a business, and are not the founder, you still qualify! But it will be critical for you to explain how your leadership has turned the business around, or led to it achieving a substantially greater level of success.

[woitoggle title=”What if the business is a partnership with another woman?”]
If there are two or more women listed as owners of the business, we encourage female partners to submit a single application together. This application would require all names and roles of the partners.

[woitoggle title=”What if I’ve won before?”]
We are always thrilled to see the women who have participated in the program thriving and growing. To that end, a past winner is eligible to apply for the Award for Excellence in Entrepreneurship.


Read on to determine which Award Category is the best fit for your business at this time and get inspired by recent winners and finalists.

Ones to Watch Award Presented by
This award recognizes five entrepreneurs who may not meet the criteria for the other awards but who demonstrate incredible potential through their innovative ideas, keen business sense and solid plans for future profitable growth. The award is open to those who have been in business more than 1 but fewer than 3 years.

Recent Recipients of the Ones to Watch Award

• Kate Latos, Ecofence and Decking Ltd. – 2018
• Jessica Ching, Eve Medical – 2018
• Humera Malik, Canvass Analytics – 2018
• Thao Nguyen, Bonbon Collections Ltd. – 2018
• Sonja Mills & Alicia MacDonald, Port Rexton Brewing Company Ltd. – 2018


Micro-Business Award presented by Diversity Institute & Magnet Export Business Portal
This award honors entrepreneurs who own and operate small businesses that generate annual revenues of under $1 million. The applicant’s business is in any industry, at any stage and in any region, and must demonstrate a successful growth rate on the micro level.

Recent Winners of the Micro-Business Award
• Glain Roberts-McCabe, The Round Table, Toronto, ON – 2018
• Geneviève Lévesque, Artêria Gallery, Bromont, QC – 2017
Isabelle Primeau & Marie-Helene Primeau, Premier Continuum Inc., Montreal, QC – 2016
• Sharon Vinderine, PTPA Media Inc., Mississauga, ON – 2015
• Penney Murphy, Penney Murphy & Associates, Saskatoon, SK – 2014

Meet the 2016 Finalists
Meet the 2015 Finalists

Start-Up Award
This 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.

Recent Winners of the Start-Up Award
• Joanna Griffiths, Knix, Toronto, ON – 2018
• Trina Bailey, Bailey Veterinary Surgical Specialty Ltd., Mount Pearl, NL – 2017
Angela Marotta & Melissa Paolicelli, Two Sisters Vineyard, Niagara Region, ON – 2016
• Dr. Wendy McClelland, Vets to Go Inc., Calgary, AB – 2015
• Mia Pearson, North Strategic, Toronto, ON – 2014
• Lisa Tuningley, President, T-RAIL Products Inc., Surrey BC – 2013

Meet the 2016 Finalists
Meet the 2015 Finalists

RBC Momentum Award
This entrepreneur has successfully capitalized on opportunities to deliver 10% or more growth, year-over-year for three years or more. Through expanded management, empowered employees, and demonstrated excellence, she has created a flexible and responsive business that is able to adapt to changing market environments and leverage opportunities for continued growth.

Recent Winners of the RBC Momentum Award
• Dr. Marjorie Dixon, Anova Fertility, Toronto, ON – 2018
• Mandy Rennehan,, Oakville, ON – 2017
Kate Ross Leblanc, Saje Natural Wellness, Vancouver, BC – 2016
• Allison Grafton, Rockwood Custom Homes, Calgary, AB – 2015
• Kyle MacDonald, Phoenix Interactive Design, London, ON – 2014
• Victoria Sopik & Jennifer Nashmi, Kids & Company, Toronto, ON – 2013

Meet the 2016 Finalists
Meet the 2015 Finalists

Social Change Award
Awarding an exceptional leader of a registered charity, social enterprise or not-for-profit that is dedicated to their unique brand of social change. Applicants have garnered extraordinary support from the community by being champions for philanthropy and volunteerism in Canada.

Recent Winners of the Social Change Award
• Latha Sukumar, MCIS Language Solutions, Toronto, ON – 2018
• Melissa Sariffodeen, Ladies Learning Code, Toronto, ON – 2017• Jennifer Flanagan, Actua, Toronto, ON, Vancouver BC – 2016
• Marcia Nozick, Eastside Movement for Business and Economic Renewal Society (EMBERS), Vancouver, BC – 2015
• Jennifer Gillivan, IWK Foundation, Halifax, NS – 2014

Meet the 2016 Finalists
Meet the 2015 Finalists

TELUS Trailblazer Award
This entrepreneur is a true trendsetter. She has recognized a new market, product, service, technological advancement or opportunity and led the way. She has demonstrated outstanding leadership within her company and her market and she has set standards for originality, quality and successful management.

Recent Winners of the TELUS Trailblazer Award
• Toni Desrosiers, Abeego, Victoria, BC – 2018
• Claudia Sjoberg, The Pedalheads Group, Vancouver, BC – 2017
Eva Sun, The Rice People, Richmond, BC
• Janice Larocque, Spirit Staffing and Consulting Inc., Calgary, AB – 2015
• Jennifer Carlson, Baby Gourmet, Calgary, AB – 2014
• Shannon Rogers, Global Relay, Vancouver, BC – 2013

Meet the 2016 Finalists
Meet the 2015 Finalists

Excellence in Entrepreneurship Award
Through timely innovation, strategic thinking and smart execution, the recipient of this award has built and managed one or more successful businesses over a period of 10 years. With a proven track record of growth, profitability, and industry leadership, this entrepreneur’s exploits have generated an uncommon degree of economic growth, and she has shown to possess the drive, managerial acumen and leadership traits that others aspire to have. Past finalists in this category have annual revenues in excess of $30M+.

Recent Winners of the Award for Excellence in Entrepreneurship
• Victoria Sopik & Jennifer Nashmi, Kids and Company, Richmond Hill, ON – 2018
• Janet Zuccarini, Gusto 54 Restaurant Group, Toronto, ON – 2017
Kathy Gregory, Paradigm Quest Inc., Toronto, ON – 2016
• Ann Kaplan, iFinance Canada Inc., Toronto, ON – 2015
• Julie Cole, Cynthia Esp, Tricia Mumby, Julie Ellis, Mabel’s Labels, Hamilton, ON – 2014

Meet the 2016 Finalists
Meet the 2015 Finalists


Still unsure if you’re eligible? Trying to decide which category you should apply for? We’re here to help!

Access our Frequently Asked Questions page and check out our Video Tutorials. If you still need help, please email [email protected].