Specialized candy fills Canadian market gap
Sarah Segal, founder and President of SQUISH Candy, is 1 of 13 women recognized in the EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women™ Class of 2017.
The Montréal-based candy retailer specializes in artisanal gummy candies in more than 100 flavours, made with high quality ingredients in unique varieties and shapes. The company also sports the widest vegan and vegetarian options on the market.
Sarah exemplifies what women, and all early-stage entrepreneurs, should strive for in Canada’s business community, finding something you’re passionate about and not letting anything get in the way,” says Tiki Cheung, EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women™ leader in Canada. “We built the EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women™ program to help women like Sarah put the processes in place to thrive beyond the start-up phase. Overcoming common obstacles on the path to growth is crucial to seeing more representation of women in business.”
That’s something EY continues to see reflected in the numbers. Statistics Canada research, for instance, shows that fewer women occupy leadership roles in the private sector than the public sector. What’s more, the Global Government Forum recently reported that Canada leads the G20 and European Union when it comes to women in leadership positions within civil services.
“Canada’s public sector is setting a benchmark for gender parity across the country – but there’s always room for improvement,” says Cheung. “As the representation of women continues to move towards greater parity, the private sector can learn from the best practices established in civil services.”
Since its inception in 2008, the EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women™ program 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% higher than before they joined the program. Individual participants averaged 20% annual revenue growth, and some saw up to 50% growth in their second year of participation. Winners also report increased confidence, growth goals and networks.
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 know-how, 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 2017 inductees include: Don J. Morrison, Co-Chair of the Advisory Commitee, CBRE Caledon Capital Management Inc.; Pat Hedley, CEO, Path Ahead and Advisory Director, General Atlantic; Stephanie Kaplan Lewis, Co-founder, CEO, Editor-in-Chief, Her Campus Media; Dr. Christina Lampe-Önnerud, CEO, Cadenza Innovation, LLC; The 13 members of the class of 2017 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 2017:
Sarah Segal | Montréal, Québec
SQUISH Candy: SQUISH is a leading Montréal-based retail candy company specializing in artisanal gummies. With an emphasis on quality ingredients and a creative flavor palette, SQUISH offers more than 100 gummy varieties in unique flavors and shapes with the widest vegan and vegetarian options in the market. Focused on a personalized shopping experience, SQUISH offers retail, online and social media experiences that engage directly with customers.
Dr. Nazli Azimi | Irvine, CA
Bioniz Therapeutics: Bioniz Therapeutics is a biotechnology company dedicated to the discovery and development of first-in-class therapeutics for the treatment of autoimmune diseases and cancer. Bioniz is introducing a new class of therapeutics for several unmet medical conditions such as T-cell leukemia, a rare form of blood cancer, alopecia areata, an autoimmune mediated hair loss disease, and celiac disease, an autoimmune disease of the gut.
Nina Tandon | Brooklyn, NY
Epibone: EpiBone is developing revolutionary technology that will allow patients to receive bone grafts, made from their own stem cells. EpiBone’s pioneering process utilizes a scan of the patient’s bone defect, and the patient’s own stem cells to construct and cultivate a defect-specific bone graft. The result is a precision-engineered bone graft, simplified surgical procedure and shorter recovery time for the hundreds of thousands of patients who undergo bone-related surgeries each year.
Christina Stembel | San Francisco, CA
Farmgirl Flowers: Farmgirl Flowers is an eCommerce flower company that aims to change the way flowers are delivered by offering better options using ethically and honestly sourced materials. This approach has enabled the company to offer designer-quality flowers at e-commerce prices, featuring an eco-friendly design aesthetic (think upcycled burlap coffee bags acquired from local roasters) that appeals to a new market of consumers.
Saryu Nayyar | El Segundo, CA
Gurucul: Gurucul is changing the way government and enterprises protect themselves against insider threats, cyber fraud, login credentials hijacking and data breaches. The company’s advanced security analytics technology uses machine learning and predictive anomaly detection algorithms to identify suspicious activity that appears “normal” to traditional information security products. Its mission is to help organizations protect their intellectual property, regulated information and brand reputation from insider threats and sophisticated external attacks.
Ellen Bennett | Los Angeles, CA
Hedley & Bennett: Hedley & Bennett is a premium apron and workwear brand that outfits some of the best chefs in the world. The company’s products are handcrafted from start to finish using top-grade materials and are built to handle the rigorous hustle and bustle of professional kitchens. Hedley & Bennett outfits more than 4,000 restaurants in the US and sells to major retail stores. The company’s goal is to become the top outfitter to the culinary world and beyond, cultivating a lasting community of chefs who wear their aprons and work gear loudly & proudly.
Lori Torres | Irvine, CA
Parcel Pending: Parcel Pending is a package management solutions provider that makes life easier for residents, property managers and couriers. Parcel Pending’s electronic locker systems provide a secure and simple way for couriers to deliver packages and offer 24/7 access to residents, allowing them to pick up packages on their own schedule. The company’s proprietary software assumes all the customer service responsibilities for package delivery, notification and retrieval, delivering peace of mind for property managers and residents at the same time.
Sarah Ribner & Jess Edelstein | Philadelphia, PA
PiperWai: PiperWai Natural Deodorant is an aluminum-free deodorant made with the absorbent power of activated charcoal. Its all-natural, uniquely effective ingredients neutralize odour and absorb moisture without irritating sensitive skin, and best of all, stand up to the most active lifestyles. This American-made innovative deodorant solution from PiperWai has redefined an entire category in the demarket, and has influenced the way consumers achieve their wellness goals. By bringing a safe, effective and easy solution to the masses, PiperWai is empowering consumers to make better choices in their everyday personal care regimens.
Laura Behrens Wu | San Francisco, CA
Shippo: Shippo provides the platform to help businesses succeed through shipping. Its multi-carrier API and dashboard help merchants get real-time rates, print labels, automate international paperwork, track packages and facilitate returns to reduce shipping costs, streamline process and enhance customer satisfaction.
Cathy Forsyth | Wyckoff, NJ
Strongbow Group: Strongbow helps drive network transformation for the world’s largest enterprises by optimizing global voice and data networks to better connect the data centers, applications and people that run your business. In today’s market there are few places for enterprises to turn to for impartial counsel and support. Strongbow prides itself on its ability to provide unbiased guidance, working hand-in-hand with clients to make positive change a reality. The company unlocks the best possible solutions for enterprises, yielding better performing, more reliable global networks that return millions in savings to the bottom line.
Fran Dunaway | Seattle, WA
TomboyX: TomboyX — bearing the slogan, “We are not for everybody, but we are for anybody” — is rethinking underwear, loungewear and swimwear and fulfilling the need for comfortable, functional underwear for active, plus size, and unconventional women and people. The brand promise is inclusivity, body positivity and celebrating you for being unapologetic about who you are. TomboyX’s mission is to help customers feel comfortable in their own skin.
Sarah Dusek | Bozeman, MT
Under Canvas: Under Canvas Inc. creates luxury safari-style camps at scenic US sites, currently in several National Park locations (Yellowstone, Glacier, Moab and Zion). Under Canvas also creates pop-up style luxury camps for private corporate retreats, adventures, weddings, private events and experiential marketing events and brand activations, providing a green, luxurious solution to experiencing beautiful places. Under Canvas creates an eco-friendly experience that makes the great outdoors accessible in comfort and style, acting as a bridge for people to get outside and enjoy nature.
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About EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women™
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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