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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.

It is required that your business has been operational for three years, as of April 30, 2024*

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

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.

Yes! The program  includes registered charities, Not-for-Profits and social enterprise businesses. These organizations may only apply to the Social Change Award (more information below).

  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

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.

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.

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.

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 Excellence Award.


A nominator can nominate an unlimited number of candidates to the Awards program. Nominators cannot nominate the same person twice.

Nominations are open to the public and are not screened at this stage. A nomination does not constitute an endorsement by WOI or RBC. In order to become a finalist, nominees must complete a rigorous application which is then reviewed and vetted by independent judging committees.

Once the top regional applicants in each category have been selected, they and their business will undergo a thorough due diligence audit to verify not only the accuracy of the information provided, but positive standing in their community.

Only when an exemplary due diligence audit has been completed will the top regional applicants be named as official Award Finalists.

On the night of the Gala, one Award Finalist in each category will be announced as the Winner.

Yes! Entrepreneurs are welcome (and encouraged) to nominate themselves.

Nominees will receive an e-mail automatically after being nominated. The email will ask you to fill out a one page form to confirm your eligibility. In order to receive the application package, candidates must fill this out.

If you do not receive this email, your nomination was not received by our offices. Please check your spam folder before contacting us.

We know that women entrepreneurs work hard, and are one of the most modest groups of people we have come across. The benefits of being nominated include recognition for hard work, immediate business credibility, and the opportunity to advertise your nomination on your website and other marketing materials. This is an invaluable opportunity to take your business to the next level by making new connections with fellow women entrepreneurs from across Canada.

Yes. In the nomination notification email, you will be informed of who nominated you! 


Once you have been nominated, and have submitted your Eligibility Confirmation, you will receive a link to the Application. This will be a link to an online application where you can save your progress along the way.

In the Application we have identified 3-4 guideline questions to ask yourself as you’re selecting the best Award Category for you. Remember we’re looking for areas in which you are MOST extraordinary, so be sure to select the category that recognizes your accomplishments to date.

For a full description of the Award Categories, please visit our Choosing an Award Category page.

Women of Influence is not able to recommend the Award category that is best suited to you because we operate as an unbiased supporter of this process.

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 Excellence Award only.

At this time, applicants may apply to one category only.

You may only submit one application to the Awards. But if you are a serial entrepreneur, then you should consider applying to the Excellence Award which recognizes women who have run multiple businesses, who generate more than $25 million per year.

This is based on the address of your business:

WEST:   British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and the Territories
CENTRAL:   Ontario
EAST:   Quebec, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland & Labrador

The financial information is an important and quantifiable indicator of success for our judges. It is required that this section be completed for all Award categories. All the information submitted is confidential. Our judges are bound by a strict confidentiality agreement and this information is not shared with the public or any sponsors.

Congratulations! We know you’re on the right track. Some of our applicants apply 2-3 years in a row before even making it to the finalist round. But we often see that this perseverance is met with great rewards—like winning!

The good news is that if you are a recent applicant, much of your previous content can be reused for the new application. You just need to update your most recent achievements and financials!

The judges are comprised of past lifetime achievement award winners, business leaders, and other professionals fluent in evaluating business plans and financial statements. The judges are women from across the country

Please note: Judges names are not released until after judging is complete.

Judges are asked to comment on all qualifying candidates and share their scoring for the benefit of the applicants, however this is not mandatory.

Women of Influence will share this feedback with applicants if applicable.

We recognize that the information you provide in your application is sensitive and as such, it is treated with the strictest confidentiality. Only select WOI+ executives and the category judges are authorized to view this information. Every individual who has access to your application has signed a Confidentiality Agreement. If you make it to Finalist Status, your application will be shared with a representative at our Due Diligence partner – Deloitte.