Three Canadian entrepreneurs inducted into 2016 class of EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women™

New winners demonstrate above-average growth rates, ability to scale

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(Toronto, 18 November 2016)  In Canada, women own just about 16% of small and medium size businesses – yet fewer than 2 percent of them break US$1 million in revenue. To close the gap and help women entrepreneurs accelerate the growth of their companies, EY created the EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women™ program, which today inducted 14 entrepreneurs into its 2016 North America class – including three Canadians:

“Each of these women saw a need in the marketplace, and harnessed their passions to build scalable – and successful – businesses,” says Carrie Marchitto, EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women leader in Canada. “The EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women program helps these talented women put the processes in place to expand their companies as they emerge from the start-up phase and face a crucial inflection point in their growth journey.”

Jennifer Kelly & Rebecca Perren | Petit Pehr

Mabel Lee | Velour Lashes

This year’s diverse class includes some of the most promising business leaders of today. They average US$9.8 million in annual revenue, with an average three-year combined annual growth rate of 42 percent and an average of 45 employees. Half of the 2016 Entrepreneurial Winning Women helm companies in science, technology and math (STEM) industries, and one-quarter have immigrated to North America.

"EY's Winning Women program supercharged my business, full stop,” says Kristen Wood, CEO of THE TEN SPOT, and a former program participant. “I was challenged to dream bigger than ever, and was given the tools and mentoring to scale to our full potential. I am outpacing my own growth projections, and our brand positioning is ultra-strong as a first mover in our category. I have nothing but love for the Entrepreneurial Winning Women program and the amazing sisterhood I am now a part of."  

Since its inception in 2008, Entrepreneurial Winning Women has spurred rapid growth among participating entrepreneurs. According to an independent impact assessment directed by the Babson College Center for Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership, 2014 revenue for participating companies was 54 percent higher than before they joined the program. Individual participants average 20 percent annual revenue growth, and can have up to 50 percent growth in their second year of participation. Winners also report increased confidence, growth goals, networks and more.

Ongoing access to knowhow

The program is evergreen, continuing to help its participants in the years that follow their initial selection. In so doing, in addition to access to knowhow, the program also offers the entrepreneurs a like-minded community of ambitious women business leaders with common objectives, challenges and paths to growth.  The relationships they establish with each other also serve to reinforce their efforts to scale, often getting the entrepreneurs through rough patches and creating opportunities for entirely new ventures with peer partners.

The program's panel of independent judges who selected the 2016 inductees include: Don J. Morrison, Co-Chair Caledon Capital; Pat Hedley, CEO, Path Ahead and Advisory Director, General Atlantic; Dr. Christina Lampe-Önnerud, CEO, Cadenza Innovation, LLC; Claudia Mirza, CEO and co-founder, Akorbi. The 14 members of the class of 2016 received an all-expenses paid trip to the EY Strategic Growth Forum® in Palm Springs, California, an invitation-only gathering of more than 2,000 executives representing high-growth companies. 

Members of the EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women Class of 2016 are:


Jennifer Kelly and Rebecca Perren
Petit Pehr | Toronto, Ontario
Children’s decor brand Petit Pehr was conceived to fill a gap in the market for sophisticated, high quality, modern children’s decor and accessories. It was launched in 2013 to immediate praise from retailers and media alike. Since then, revenues have skyrocketed, propelled by wholesale and emerging retail channels. Petit Pehr is now sold by more than 1,500 retailers globally, including Nordstrom, Indigo, Barneys New York, Bloomingdale’s and Anthropologie.

Mabel Lee
Velour Lashes | Toronto, Ontario
Velour Lashes is the preeminent name in the makeup industry for high-end, luxurious false eyelashes. Launched in 2011, Velour was the first company to introduce 100% authentic mink eyelashes. Now an internationally recognized brand, Velour has been featured in many beauty publications and has expanded its client list to include a roster of A-list celebrities. In 2015, Velour hit a transformational milestone, successfully launching its product line across the US and Canada in one of America’s largest beauty retailers — Sephora.

United States

Katie Warner Johnson
Carbon38 | Los Angeles, CA
Carbon38 is reinventing the wardrobe for the modern American woman by creating a new category of ready-to-wear that blurs the lines of active and fashion. It offers clothing designed for everyday life, focusing on emerging trends, impeccable execution and the combination of performance fabrics and fashionable silhouettes. Since its inception, Carbon38 has partnered with and sold more than 120 brands through its unique network of fitness instructors, launched four Carbon38-branded collections and created partnerships with award-winning designers and artists such as CFDA winner Jonathan Simkhai and Curtis Kulig.

Kristi Alford
E2 Optics, LLC | Englewood, CO
E2 Optics is a low voltage cabling and infrastructure systems integrator specializing in mission critical data centers, structured cabling, audio visual, electronic security and wireless/DAS solutions. With locations coast to coast in the US and recent additions in Europe, E2 Optics is one of the fastest-growing low voltage companies. The company covers design, engineering and implementation for all project requirements. Clients include some of the largest data center companies in the world as well as US government agencies.

Stephanie Kaplan Lewis
Her Campus Media LLC | Boston, MA
Her Campus is the No. 1 new-media brand for the empowered college woman. Written entirely by top college journalists, has more than 5 million monthly users as well as on-campus chapters at more than 300 colleges nationwide. This, coupled with large-scale conferences and events, a massive influencer network and a huge social media presence, enable Her Campus to provide award-winning, 360-degree marketing services to brands looking to reach the college market. Clients include Merck, Vera Bradley, TRESemmé and IKEA.

Leen Kawas
M3 Biotechnology, Inc. | Seattle, WA
M3 Biotechnology is an innovative pharmaceutical company with a primary focus on altering the course of Alzheimer’s disease progression and neuro-deterioration. Where current therapies are focused primarily on disease symptoms, M3 uses its patented and proprietary technologies to create a disease-modifying treatment with the potential to restore lost connections between brain cells, turning degeneration into regeneration.

Dr. Anastasia Gentles and Zawadi Bryant
NightLight Pediatric Urgent Care | Sugar Land, TX
NightLight Pediatric Urgent Care is an after-hours extension of your pediatrician, providing high-quality, affordable and compassionate pediatric urgent care for infants, children and adolescents. Most childhood emergency room visits are for non-emergency reasons, so NightLight is filling the gap with services such as treating minor illnesses, fractures, lacerations and minor procedures. NightLight intends to become the first full-service on-demand pediatric urgent care in the nation using technology to provide virtual visits and house calls in addition to on-site visits.

Neetu Seth
NITS Solutions | Novi, MI
Navigating the intersection of big data, technology and marketing analytics, NITS Solutions implements custom cloud-based solutions to help clients transform information into intelligent actionable insights. The company’s analytical solutions help solve clients’ problems by finding opportunities hidden inside their data. NITS’ team of industry leading professionals and a fast, flexible and innovative mindset help clients tackle even the most ambiguous challenges while never losing sight of the big picture: more effective marketing, enhanced operational efficiency and greater success.

Dr. Donna L. Milavetz
OnSite Care, Inc. | Salt Lake City, UT
OnSite Care helps employers manage rising health costs by delivering workplace primary care clinics that provide integrated care with a capitated cost model. OnSite aligns health plans and provider services, explains health data, pinpoints chronic health conditions and lowers health risks, resulting in better outcomes for employees. Using traditional methods and innovative technology, these medical “home” clinics focus on wellness, prevention and aggressive chronic disease management, quickly changing the employer’s risk status and leading to lowered health care costs.

Merrilee Alexander Kick
Southern Champion/BuzzBallz LLC | Carrolton, TX
Southern Champion/BuzzBallz LLC is an alcoholic beverage manufacturer located in Dallas, TX. The company specializes in ready-to-drink cocktails called BuzzBallz, and has expanded their offerings to include wine, premium spirits and private label bottling. What sets the company apart is its creativity, ability to create custom solutions and breadth of services in the liquor industry. Major customers include Walmart, Total Wine & More, American Airlines Arena and Spirit Airlines. Their beverages are sold in 40 states and they are expanding rapidly into international markets. 

Rita Gurevich
SPHERE Technology Solutions | Jersey City, NJ
SPHERE Technology Solutions is an award-winning cybersecurity company providing hyper-specialized services and software for data governance, security and compliance programs. SPHERE focuses on finding and protecting highly sensitive data, while providing solutions to manage data security long term. The company’s ability to go very deep in their unique niche has led to an intensely loyal customer base of Fortune 100 financial, health care, retail and energy companies in the US and around the world.

Katerina Vorotova
Try The World | New York, NY
What do you get when you combine delicious food from around the world, technology and inspiring storytelling? Try The World, a fast-growing subscription box service and online marketplace for authentic global cuisine, enhanced by exclusive content from leading chefs and food influencers. Sourced directly from local producers and sold directly to consumers, Try The World has already imported 5 million products from more than 25 countries. This holiday season, the company is partnering with Michelin and is opening a pop-up store in the World Trade Center in New York City.

An investment in the advancement of women that now spans more than 40 countries worldwide, Entrepreneurial Winning Women is part of EY Women. Fast forward, a global platform designed to accelerate the achievement of global gender parity.

Entrepreneurial Winning Women is conducted in collaboration with several organizations that encourage the development of women-owned businesses, including the Women Presidents' Organization (WPO), the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO), The Committee of 200 (C200), Golden Seeds, TEC Canada, the Kauffman Foundation and Babson College's Center for Women's Entrepreneurial Leadership. For more information on the program, visit the EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women website.

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