The women on the PROFIT/Chatelaine W100 Ranking of Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneurs run some of the country’s most successful businesses. The smart strategies, creative ideas and tenacious determination that they have employed to write their inspiring success stories are lessons for anyone who’s every run a business.

It’s vitally important to celebrate these businesswomen, because women are still sadly underrepresented in the business world. Statistics Canada data released in a special edition of the Key Small Business Statistics report suggests that only 15.5% of SMEs are majority-owned by women, and 92.7% of the firms owned by women had fewer than 20 employees.

Beyond their inspirational example, here’s what some of Canada’s Top Female Entrepreneurs are doing to empower and support the next generation of successful businesswomen.

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“People make assumptions because women are still underrepresented in the boardroom. These attitudes and stereotypes will only change over time as more women take on roles of increased responsibility, profile and leadership. I have high hopes for the women of the future, because young women now have more strong female role models than ever, and I know that this will only encourage them to pursue careers in leadership.”
—Aimee Chan (No. 49), Norsat International, Richmond, B.C.

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“Seeing the shocking statistics about the small number of women in C-level positions in this country, I feel it is my duty to invest my time and help the next generation of female leaders. It’s important for me to not only act as a mentor to my employees and through programs like the Women’s Executive Network, but also as a speaker at major events and forums to help inspire women to own their personal brand and act as role models for the female business leaders of tomorrow.”
—Mia Pearson (No. 4), North Strategic, Toronto

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“My partners and I believe that it’s time to run the workplace differently and think outside of the box. Now that women are starting businesses at three times the rate of men, we need to think differently. Businesses don’t have to be run the way they’ve always been run in order to be successful. Allowing for more work/life balance is just as effective, and Mabel’s Labels is proof of that.”
—Julie Cole (No. 28), Mabel’s Labels, Hamilton, Ont.

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“I am passionate about supporting female empowerment and entrepreneurship, which is why I co-founded SHe Accelerates. The mentorship initiative works as a think tank and resource center for women and students to make key business resources, tools, and networks more accessible.”
—Karina Hayat (No. 9), Prizm Media Inc., Vancouver

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“We are changing how people view females in the construction industry, which is still a male-dominated industry. We are setting a tone that we as females can do anything we put our minds to and we deserve respect as we are more than capable in the construction industry. We mentor young women coming into this industry and support our local schools by taking the initiative to lecture and advise them as they enter our work force.”
—Shannon Lestra (No. 99), Kon-Strux Developments, Calgary

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MORE ESSENTIAL ADVICE FROM THE PROFIT W100:

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