October 2018

The Hon. Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion to address the EC

11:30am-1:30pm | King Edward Hotel - 37 King Street East, Toronto

The 2015 Global Women Entrepreneurs Scorecard, ranked Canada 2nd out of 31 countries in the world for “women’s high-impact entrepreneurship,” just behind the U.S., and tied for second with Australia. Women have long made their mark on the Canadian economy, and according to a study conducted by First Round Capital, companies with at least one female founder performed 63 per cent better than all-male founding teams. 

And yet a noticeable gap exists. Female entrepreneurs and business owners face a number of challenges. Their businesses tend to be smaller, have a harder time attracting capital, are less likely to grow, and less likely to export. Today, just 16 percent of Canada’s small and medium-sized businesses are women-owned. What do we need to do to close the gap? 

Join us for a conversation with the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, as she provides insight on women entrepreneurship and details of the Government’s plan to double the number of women-owned businesses by 2025.

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*The views expressed on the Economic Club platform are not that of the Economic Club or its affiliates but of the speakers alone and the organizations they represent*

Amanda Alvaro

Co-Founder, Pomp & Circumstance

Amanda Alvaro

Amanda Alvaro is an award-winning communicator, equally inspired by fashion and politics. For fifteen years, she's advised a broad range of consumer, lifestyle, luxury and corporate clients from pharma to finance, beverage to beauty. Before launching Pomp & Circumstance, Amanda founded and ran another Toronto-based PR agency for almost a decade, growing it from inception to a small boutique to Strategy's Agency of the Year list 2014/15. As a former advisor to several Ministers, Premiers and Prime Minister, Amanda has worked as a political strategist, analyst, marketer and communications expert for nearly 15 years – most recently on the Trudeau campaign. She's also the founder of Canadian charity, Artbound, which has built arts schools and provided funds to children and communities in Kenya, India, Guatemala. Amanda is a regular commentator on CBC's popular political program, Power and Politics and can be found on the speaking circuit for topics like women in business, politics and arts education.

Jenn Harper

Cheekbone Beauty

Jenn Harper

Jenn Harper is a proud Anishinaabe woman, a mother of two beautiful children and a budding social entrepreneur. In addition to Jenn's full time career in sales and marketing, Jenn has started an online e-commerce cosmetics company with purpose and social direction. Cheekbone Beauty was born during a cathartic period in Jenn's life where she decided that, while there have been challenges in her life, there was also opportunity. Jenn started her online business with the intent to sell cosmetics and bring awareness of the challenges faced by First Nations and Indigenous peoples to the rest of the world. In doing so, Jenn committed to donating a percentage of Cheekbone's profits to not for profit organizations supporting the education and advancement of Native Canadians. Through her own personal struggles and a familial situation not uncommon in many Indigenous communities, Jenn sought to become part of the solution moving towards a positive state of change.

Jenn envisions a lifelong partnership between her company and the Aboriginal community providing educational and leadership programs to First Nations youth throughout Canada. Based on their incredible work and devotion to the First Nations community Jenn has identified Shannen's Dream of the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada as an initial partnership. As Jenn's business expands, so too will the partnerships and benefits to the Aboriginal community grow. Jenn strives to make a success of Cheekbone Beauty and most importantly to leave her relationships, both professional and personal better than she found them.

Jennifer Flanagan

Co-Founder, CEO & President

Jennifer Flanagan

Jennifer Flanagan is a social entrepreneur and national thought-leader focused on youth, innovation, STEM, digital literacy and inclusion. She is the co-founder, President and CEO of Actua, a national charitable organization that engages Canadian youth in building skills and confidence in STEM.

Actua is a national network of organizations across Canada that annually engage 250,000 youth in 500 communities. Under Jennifer’s leadership, Actua has become the national leader in engaging under-represented youth including First Nations, Inuit and Métis youth, girls and young women, youth living in rural and remote communities and other at-risk youth.

Jennifer’s long-time advocacy work has been focused on the empowerment of girls and young women, reconciliation, and future workforce development. She currently sits on the Board of the Canadian Women’s Foundation. Jennifer’s social entrepreneurship model has attracted significant investments from companies like Google, GE, Microsoft, Suncor as well as all levels of government. Her work been recognized with awards including RBC Entrepreneur of the Year, Top 40 Under 40, WXN Most Powerful Women and YWCA Women of Distinction.

She holds a Bachelor of Science from the University of New Brunswick and a Master of Management from McGill University in Montreal.

Maayan Ziv

Founder & CEO

Maayan Ziv

Maayan Ziv is an activist, a photographer and an entrepreneur based in
Toronto. From a young age, Maayan challenged norms and worked within her community to increase awareness of disability issues and improve accessibility. Living with Muscular Dystrophy, Maayan is a passionate and relentless advocate for creating a more accessible world. In 2015, Maayan founded Access-Now, a crowdsourced app to map the accessibility status of locations worldwide. She has since been a regular media commentator on topics such as disability and inclusion. In 2016, Maayan received the City of Toronto Access Award and the David C. Onley Leadership in Accessibility Award in recognition of her innovative solutions and commitment to improving the lives of people of all abilities.

As a photographer, she has worked with celebrities, fashion models and other influential individu-als. Focusing on black and white emotive portraiture, editorial fashion, and gritty street scenes, Maayan has been recognized as an influential Canadian talent. A Queen's Diamond Jubilee medal recipient, her work has been featured on television, in galleries and magazines. Sitting on a wheelchair gives Maayan a unique perspective that is evident in her work and as a freelance artist. Maayan also sits on the boards of the Toronto Arts Council and the Centre for Independent Living in Toronto.

She earned a Bachelor's degree in Radio and Television Arts and a Master's degree in Digital Media at Ryerson University.

Mary Ng

Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion
Government of Canada

Mary Ng

The Honourable Mary Ng was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Markham—Thornhill in April 2017 and was appointed Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion in July 2018.

Throughout her 20 years of public service, Minister Ng has been a passionate community leader and advocate with a proven track record of results in the areas of education, women’s leadership, job-creation, and entrepreneurship.

As Member of Parliament for Markham—Thornhill, Minister Ng helped to facilitate the Government’s commitment to invest in Canadian ideas and innovators in her riding by advocating for the inclusion of Markham’s tech-innovation hub, VentureLabs, in the Southern Ontario Supercluster. The Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster is expected to have a GDP impact of more than $13.5 billion in the next ten years and create more than 13,500 good, middle class jobs in the region.

As part of her work on the Standing Committee of Industry, Science, and Technology, Minister Ng worked alongside her committee colleagues on intellectual property best practices. This work guided the Government’s launch of Canada’s first comprehensive intellectual property strategy, providing tools to support the growth of Canadian businesses domestically while ensuring their ideas are protected in the global marketplace.

Prior to serving as a Member of Parliament, Minister Ng worked as Director of Appointments in the Prime Minister’s Office. She also served as the Director of Policy in provincial education where she built relationships, negotiated with teachers’ unions, and served students while helping to improve Ontario’s education system.

Minister Ng also served in the President’s Office at Ryerson University, helping to shape new initiatives that connected students and their innovative ideas with businesses, creating quality jobs for young Canadians. She has been a speaker and panelist on topics ranging from business, innovation, women in leadership and Canada-China relations.

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