Press release

15 Mar. 2017 Toronto, CA

EY calling on women entrepreneurs with bold plans

Women entrepreneurs aren’t getting the support, financing and sponsorship they need to grow their businesses into market leaders at the same rate as men. But EY is looking to change that. Today, the firm announced nominations are open for its 2017 North American Entrepreneurial Winning Women™ program.

Press contact
Sarah Shields

EY Canada Assistant Director, Public Relations

Passionate communicator and writer. Firmly believes Vancouver summers are worth six months of rain.

Related topics Entrepreneurship

2017 EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women™ program now open for applications

Women entrepreneurs aren’t getting the support, financing and sponsorship they need to grow their businesses into market leaders at the same rate as men. But EY is looking to change that. Today, the firm announced nominations are open for its 2017 North American Entrepreneurial Winning Women™ program.

“There’s a big gender disparity in entrepreneurship – and we’re not okay with that,” says Carrie Marchitto, EY’s Entrepreneurial Winning Women Leader in Canada. “Entrepreneurial Winning Women is one way we’ve committed to helping achieve gender parity. It’s something we know is more than just a ‘nice to have’ – it’s an economic imperative.”

The EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women program is an annual competition and executive leadership program that identifies a select group of high-potential women entrepreneurs whose businesses show real potential to scale — and then helps them do it. Currently in its tenth year, the North American program is open to businesses in Canada and the US.

The program encompasses ongoing educational programs, events, networks and media exposure — on both national and regional levels — designed to provide actionable guidance, contacts, tools and resources for leadership development and business growth. The program is evergeen, meaning entrepreneurs selected to participate are welcome to remain engaged in Entrepreneurial Winning Women for as long as it benefits them.

“The success of this program is indisputable,” says Marchitto. “According to an independent impact assessment directed by the Babson College Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership, North America program participant companies’ total 2014 revenue was 54% higher than their total revenues in the years before they joined the program. On top of that, individual participants average 20% revenue growth annually after participating in the program.”

In a recent blogFrançois Tellier, EY’s Canadian Growth Markets Leader and National Entrepreneur Of The Year Program Director, highlighted that women can grow their companies at a rate comparable to men – they just need the right support.

Are you a woman entrepreneur with big plans? Do you know a woman with the vision and passion for growing her company? Could your company be a multi-hundred-million- or billion-dollar enterprise? Nominate a deserving woman today.

Here’s what last year’s program participants have to say:

“The support, guidance and connections we have gained through the EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women program have had a far reaching impact on our business and perhaps, more importantly, on our development as leaders. We have learned how limitless the opportunities are and how to focus our attention to effectively to capitalize on all of the possibilities in front of us. The program has allowed us to stay focused on the growth and direction of the company. We can say with certainty that the impact of the recognition and participation in the program has continued far beyond the days and weeks surrounding the Strategic Growth Forum.”
– Jennifer Kelly and Rebecca Perren, Co-Founders, Petit Pehr

"There's being an entrepreneur and then there's being a leader. The EY Entrepreneurial Winning Woman program gave me the confidence, insight, and opportunities to merge the best of both. Through the program's relentless brand awareness efforts and access to exclusive networks, Velour Lashes has gained valuable publicity and built life-long relationships that continue to elevate the company as a whole. The Strategic Growth Forum was more than a gathering of CEOs, but a gathering of what I now call family that will help guide me as I continue to grow the business."
– Mabel Lee, Founder and CEO, Velour Lashes

Past Canadian Entrepreneurial Winning Women include:

  • Jennifer Kelly, Co-Founder, Petit Pehr, Toronto, Ontario
  • Rebecca Perren, Co-Founder, Petit Pehr, Toronto, Ontario
  • Mabel Lee, Founder and CEO, Velour Lashes, Toronto, Ontario
  • Rachel Mielke, Founder and CEO, Hillberg & Berk
  • Ariel Garten, Founder and Chairman, InteraXon
  • Leah Garrad-Cole, Co-founder and President, Love Child Organics
  • Aneela Zaib, Founder and CEO, emergiTEL
  • Kristen Wood, Creator and President, THE TEN SPOT
  • Kathy Cheng, Founder and President, Redwood Classics Apparel
  • Tonia Jahshan, Founder and President, Steeped Tea
  • Kelsey Ramsden, President, Belvedere Place Development Ltd.
  • Corin Mullins, Founder and CEO, Holy Crap cereal

Applicants will be expected to demonstrate the keen interest needed to take the fullest advantage of this opportunity, including successes to date that exhibit the creativity, tenacity and plan necessary to take high-potential companies and scale them into market leaders. The 2017 EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women panel of independent judges — representing successful entrepreneurs, investors and business leaders — will name up to 12 Entrepreneurial Winning Women for the Class of 2017 by September 8, 2017.

Eligibility Requirements:

To apply for the Entrepreneurial Winning Women program, applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Women business owners who are the founding CEOs (at least a 51% owner) of any privately held company in Canada or the US. For those with outside capital, the founding woman entrepreneur may still apply if she retains a majority ownership stake of what is left after deducting all outside investments.
  • The company must be less than 10 years old.
  • The company must have reported at least $2 million in sales during each of the past two fiscal years. Typical applicant company revenue ranges from $2 million to approximately $30 million annually.

As part of the program, the Entrepreneurial Winning Women Class of 2017 will also join our elite network of North America’s best high-growth company leaders and receive an all-expenses paid trip to the EY Strategic Growth Forum® 2017. By invitation only and held November 15-19 in Palm Springs, California, the Forum convenes more than 2,000 leaders of some of the most successful high-growth companies, their investors and advisors to share growth strategies and discuss current marketplace opportunities and challenges.

To obtain an application form, nominate a deserving woman entrepreneur or learn more, visit: The application deadline is June 9, 2017. For updates follow @EY_WFF and #winningwomen

Collaborating organizations:

The North American program is conducted in collaboration with TEC Canada, Babson College’s Center for Women’s Entrepreneurial Leadership, Golden Seeds, the Kauffman Foundation, the National Association of Women Business Owners, the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council and the Women Presidents’ Organization.

Want to learn more about EY’s initiatives for women in business? Accelerating achievement of gender parity — within EY and in business at large — is not just a fairness argument but an economic imperative. We believe the world can’t afford to wait another century for women to achieve gender parity in the workplace. In 2015, we asked ourselves what more we could be doing within our firm and externally to advance women. We unified our gender parity efforts through our Women. Fast forward platform to inject greater urgency into our own initiatives and inspire people to do more. What is needed now to accelerate change is purposeful action by both men and women to recruit, retain and advance women in equal proportion to their numbers and commensurate with the limitless potential they offer the workplace. Together, we can redefine opportunities for future generations of women, forging a lasting legacy of growth, increased prosperity and stronger communities throughout the world.

– 30 –

About EY’s Growth Markets Practice
EY’s worldwide Growth Markets Network is dedicated to serving the changing needs of high-growth companies. For more than 30 years, we’ve helped many of the world’s most dynamic and ambitious companies grow into market leaders. Whether working with international mid-cap companies or early-stage venture-backed businesses, our professionals draw upon their extensive experience, insight and global resources to help your business succeed.

About EY
EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, transaction and advisory services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

EY is proudly celebrating 150 years in Canada. For more information, please visit Follow us on Twitter @EYCanada.

EY refers to the global organization and may refer to one or more of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. For more information about our organization, please visit

– 30 –

About EY

EY exists to build a better working world, helping create long-term value for clients, people and society and build trust in the capital markets. Enabled by data and technology, diverse EY teams in over 150 countries provide trust through assurance and help clients grow, transform and operate. Working across assurance, consulting, law, strategy, tax and transactions, EY teams ask better questions to find new answers for the complex issues facing our world today.

EY refers to the global organization, and may refer to one or more, of the member firms of Ernst & Young Global Limited, each of which is a separate legal entity. Ernst & Young Global Limited, a UK company limited by guarantee, does not provide services to clients. Information about how EY collects and uses personal data and a description of the rights individuals have under data protection legislation are available via EY member firms do not practice law where prohibited by local laws. For more information about our organization, please visit  Follow us on Twitter @EYCanada.