The Time is Right: Salesforce Brings Together Canada’s Leading Female Entrepreneurs

As Small Business Month passes its midway point, it is important to look at how every kind of business owner is working through the challenges entrepreneurship brings and how to succeed in a rapidly evolving workplace.

Salesforce looked to bring a focus on women in the tech industry with their latest event, FemaleForce, a panel discussion featuring some of Canada’s leading female entrepreneurs, including Tribalscale president Kirstine Stewart, author and TV host Amber Mac, Venture Out co-founder Jeanette Stock and more. In total, six tech leaders came together to discuss exactly how to push a business forward and succeed through example.

The FemaleForce discussion was underpinned by a recently released report, The New Canadian Entrepreneurial Experience: Women and the Future of Small Business in Canada. The eye-opening report illustrates the small-to-medium business (SMB) dominance over the Canadian business landscape, and how one-third of these businesses are now led by females – a number that will continue to grow, as the report also found that women are starting businesses at a greater rate than men. Also on hand at FemaleForce was David Herle, the president of Gandalf Group, the organization responsible for the study research.

Amber Mac facilitated the FemaleForce discussion, held at WeWork Toronto. Photo by Techvibes.

“98 per cent of businesses here in Canada are small, which only means one thing: small business is big business,” Salesforce’s SVP of SMB marketing Marie Rosecrans told Techvibes. “But what’s even more exciting about that is that one-third of those small businesses are female owned and founded, and there’s a huge opportunity for women to really come forward, to lean in, to disrupt and innovate.”

Many of the panelists saw technology as an integral component of this increased opportunity for female-led businesses. The report supported their thoughts, illustrating large generational disparities with regards to technology adoption. This may be contributing to the prominence of younger entrepreneurs – with 27 percent of female entrepreneurs in Canada under the age of 35.

“I think the time is right because ultimately we have a democratization of ability and of openness,” said Kirstine Stewart. “I think women are at the leading forefront of understanding how to take advantage of those opportunities. Women are stepping in because they can.”

“There is now so much opportunity for people to jump into and own their own business and own their own space because technology has provided us the tools to do so.” – Kirstine Stewart

Discussion topics aligned with BDC’s Small Business Week with the panelists explaining what supporting female-led small businesses actually looks like–from funding to community building, to systemic change.

“We want to support women entrepreneurs and do more for women entrepreneurs. We do that through our financing as well as our advisory services. We want to ensure that women entrepreneurs have the strongest foundation so that they can succeed with their business,” said Lesley Lawrence, the SVP of Ontario at BDC.

This notion of preparing entrepreneurs for success is clearly reflected in the community that Salesforce has built through FemaleForce, one that the company hopes will continue to grow. The event was filled with entrepreneurs and small business owners, both male and female, interested in not only advancing the Canadian SMB landscape but supporting each other in the process.

“It’s not just about technology,” explained Rosecrans. “It’s about giving small business owners and founders resources and information so that they can grow their businesses holistically, and access to a community that they can depend and rely on.”

Techvibes is the official Media Partner of Salesforce FemaleForce Small Business Week.