10:00 am - 10:15 am

Opening Remarks

Join Emcee Victoria Pichler as she kicks off StrikeUP 2024, joined by opening speaker Algonquin Elder and Knowledge Keeper Claudette Commanda, Minister of Small Business Rechie Valdez, and StrikeUP Co-Founder and StrikeUP Team Lead, Heather Cannings.

As part of the opening ceremonies, you will:

  • Learn about the goals and partners involved in StrikeUP 2024.
  • Acknowledge Canada's Indigenous land and the promise women entrepreneurs hold for economic recovery and a more sustainable and equitable future.
  • Gain an overview of the day, how to navigate the digital conference environment and how to optimize StrikeUP 2024 to grow your business.
  • Welcome from our co-presenting sponsors.

Heather Cannings

Hon. Rechie Valdez

Chris McMartin

Diana Render

Victoria Pichler

Catherine Beach

Claudette Commanda

10:15 am - 11:00 am

Building and Selling a Business On Your Own Terms: A Fireside Chat

A fireside chat between Joanna Griffiths, Founder and President of Knix and Jennifer Harper, Founder of Cheekbone Beauty Inc.

Joanna Griffiths launched Knix to transform a market no one else was paying attention to and wound up exiting in a record breaking deal - $400M CAD for 80 percent of her business. Joanna smashed the glass ceiling for Canadian women entrepreneurs and is trailblazing a new path showing us what entrepreneurship can look like post sale.

Jennifer Harper continues to grow and scale Cheekbone Beauty, a leading makeup brand in stores nationwide with a celebrity following throughout the United States. She’s growing and scaling, all while having her eye on what an exit could look like for her in years to come.

Join Jennifer and Joanna as they meet once again on the StrikeUP stage to talk about one of the largest sales in Canadian history and how entrepreneurship can look once a company has sold.

Audiences will learn:

  • The importance of being open to all possibilities on the future of your business
  • How to grow a sustainable business
  • The importance of valuation and knowing your company’s worth, and;
  • Why entrepreneurship doesn’t have to end once you sell

Joanna Griffiths

Jenn Harper

11:00 am - 11:45 am

Workshop: The Power of Authenticity: Growing Your Business Your Way

Presented by Export Development Canada

Being authentic and staying true to your values isn’t easy when growing a business in Canada or abroad. For many women entrepreneurs, making a positive change in the world, by solving a community gap, addressing social justice or reducing their impact on the environment is a top priority. But there’s no one-size-fits-all way to achieve success. It takes perseverance, trusted networks and unwavering confidence to grow a sustainable, values-based company.

Join Myriam Francisque, EDC’s national lead of Inclusive trade, Black and racialized exporters, for a 45-minute chat with three inspiring women entrepreneurs who grew their business based on their values and discovered it gave them a competitive advantage. Though they are at different stages of their business journey, our panelists never lost track of their vision as they scaled their business and expanded into new markets. To help women owners of small- to medium-sized companies, like themselves, they’ll share their stories and offer advice on how to:

  • Leverage authentic storytelling to strengthen your brand for long-term success
  • Position your business for its unique value proposition and use it as competitive advantage
  • Create meaningful change and sustainable growth without compromising your values
  • Find partners and clients aligned with your vision who can champion your business

Nita Tandon

Myriam Francisque

Lissa Appiah

Kenesha Lewis

11:00 am - 11:45 am

Workshop: Why Situational Leadership is Critical

Presented by MNP

So much is written about leadership that makes it sound like an intrinsic personal attribute—like something you can learn, practice and get better at over time. There may be some truth to that, but leaders of rapidly growing organizations may need to take those hard-won skills and think about putting them to use in very distinct ways, DRIVEN BY THE SITUATION THEY ARE IN. We will talk about three kinds of situations (of course there may be more) that call for very different leadership approaches:

  • Where getting the strategy right before taking action is paramount—and why relying on experience and tools just won’t cut it.
  • When recognizing that you don’t need to be heavy handed — where people share a common goal and are reasonably skilled.
  • When failure is not an option – what needs to be done.

In this session we will:

  • Discuss some of the basic principles of good leadership;
  • Walk through some examples of how taking different approaches to leadership can pay off;
  • Talk about how to take stock of the situations you find your organization in – so that you can adopt a leadership approach that is likely to be most successful.

Lea Trotman

Mary Larson

11:00 am - 11:45 am

Workshop: Supplier Diversity Edge: Selling to Large Corporations and Governments

Presented by WBE Canada

Women-owned businesses are still underrepresented in supply chains of large corporations and governments. Yet, some organizations and some women-owned businesses are on the path to changing the status quo. Join the discussion brought to you by WBE Canada to learn more about the changes taking place in Canada and abroad and the benefits it creates for your business.

Kayla Maduk

Andrea Robinson

Charmaine Hammond

Silvia Pencak

11:45 am - 12:30 pm


Connect with other like-minded women entrepreneurs and industry partners in our virtual breakout rooms.

12:30 pm - 1:00 pm

How to Navigate the Money Maze: Financing Your Business Forward

Presented by The Scotiabank Women Initiative®, Export Development Canada & MNP

Obtaining funding for your business may be intimidating, but can significantly accelerate the achievement of your business goals. Join us as we host a panel of powerful women entrepreneurs representing a spectrum of industries that have one common thread: a relentless pursuit of their dreams, backed by strategic financing.

Discover how these trailblazing women identified opportunities, overcame gender-specific obstacles, and successfully harnessed the power of capital to propel their businesses to new heights. You'll hear firsthand accounts of the choices they made and why - whether bootstrapping, securing angel investments, obtaining venture capital, microloans, or exploring alternative financing avenues.

Audiences will learn:

  • Strategies for using capital as a key tool for growth
  • Identifying funding opportunities in your business
  • Practical tips on raising or securing funds for your business success

Robin Kovitz

Kulbinder Saran Caldwell

Claudette McGowan

1:00 pm - 1:45 pm

Workshop: Accelerate Your Growth with Grants and Tax Credits

Presented by The Scotiabank Women Initiative®

Did you know that there is $6 billion+ in grants and incentives available to businesses every year in Canada? Money to help you invest in innovation, subsidize new hires, expand to new markets, and upskill your team.

Join Pocketed, a women-owned partner of the Scotiabank Women Initiative, for a dynamic session to help you leverage the power of government funding!

In this session, you’ll learn how to:

  • Maximize Government Funding: Learn how to leverage government funding to accelerate your business growth.
  • Navigate the Grant Landscape: Identify the right grants and incentives programs for your business.
  • Access Pocketed: Explore the benefits of The Scotiabank Women Initiative and our partnership with Pocketed to support your funding journey.

You’ll learn from expert insights, practical stories, and funding strategies for growth.

Don't miss out on this opportunity to take your business to the next level. Join us to accelerate your growth with grants and incentives!

Brianna Blaney

1:00 pm - 1:45 pm

Workshop: Women Entrepreneurs and Sustainability: Equipping Canadian SMEs with Skills in the Transition to the Green Economy

Presented by Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH)

Join us for a workshop that explores the intersection of women entrepreneurship and sustainability within the context of small and medium-sized enterprises (SME) in Canada. Discover strategies, insights, and tools to help your business thrive in a more sustainable, green economy.

What will the audience take away from this workshop?

  • An understanding of how women entrepreneurs can lead the way in fostering sustainability
  • An appreciation of how women entrepreneurs are developing sustainable business practices
  • Gain insights on inclusive innovation in the green economy
  • Dr. Wendy Cukier

1:45 pm - 2:15 pm


Connect with other like-minded women entrepreneurs and industry partners in our virtual breakout rooms.

2:15 pm - 3:00 pm

Workshop: Go Global: Expanding Beyond Canada's Borders

Presented by the Trade Commissioner Service

In today’s ever evolving world, it is important to build resilience and capacity - diversifying your client base and growing globally helps you achieve this. With over 99% of potential customers located outside of Canada, exporting should be a crucial part of your business plan. Join us and learn from our panel of leading women in tech founders and the strategic key decisions they have made to grow their business globally.

Our panel, featuring tech entrepreneurs who have gone global at different phases of their business journey, will share their experiences, advice, and practical tips on how to enter and grow in new markets, including:

  • How to evaluate and choose which markets to explore
  • How to mitigate and manage the risks of exporting
  • Key resources to help you on your exporting journey

Sara Wilshaw

Nandini Jolly

Miriam Tuerk

Kathy Cheng

2:15 pm - 3:00 pm

Workshop: Investing and Building for the Future

Presented by Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)

Join us for an engaging and inspiring discussion that delves into the visionary world of responsible entrepreneurs who are shaping a sustainable future.

Why attend?

  • To discover how these passionate innovators lead with compassion and inclusivity, while focusing on the needs of generations yet to come.
  • To gain insights into the strategic choices they make today, with a keen eye on tomorrow's sustainability requirements.
  • And to learn how this forward-thinking approach not only benefits the environment but also fuels the success of their businesses.

Don't miss out on this dynamic discussion that promises to ignite your entrepreneurial spirit and drive positive change!

Laura Burget

Denise Taschereau

Sarah White

Carla Heim

3:00 pm - 4:00 pm

Closing Remarks + Networking

Connect with other like-minded women entrepreneurs and industry partners in our virtual breakout rooms.