The stereotype of the risk-averse, rejection-phobic female business owner doesn’t apply to members of the 12th annual PROFIT W100, our list of Canada’s Top Women Entrepreneurs. The women on our ranking have been through it all—including a nasty recession—and have honed their business skills in the process.
Take Mandy Farmer, president and CEO of Accent Inns (No. 12), who, when forced to breastfeed her daycare-less newborn while interviewing a job candidate, used it as a tool to measure the person’s poise. Or Pat McNamara, CEO of APEX Public Relations (No. 62), who opted to keep staff working on the firm’s marketing during the downturn—a gamble that netted some big new clients. Or Gabrielle Chevalier (No. 1), Ann Kaplan (No. 13) and Gloria Rajkumar (No. 4)—profiled on pages 48, 51 and 55, respectively—each of whom has found profitable gaps in established sectors.
All told, the W100 firms generated an impressive $2.2 billion in revenue and provided the equivalent of 10,792 full-time jobs. Over the past three years, their businesses have grown by an average of 115%. A full 95% turned an operating profit last year. The W100 firms span many industries (with service industries representing most), but they share one thing in common: they represent the elite among Canadian entrepreneurs, regardless of gender.
How we ranked them
The W100 are ranked by a composite of the size, growth rate and profitability of their businesses. All growth rates were based on base-year revenue of at least $200,000, and figures were verified through financial statements. To qualify, women must be owners or significant stakeholders who at least share chief decision-making responsibilities. This is a ranking of entrepreneurs, not companies, so some participants are ranked on the combined performance of several qualifying firms. PROFIT solicited entries through an entry form in PROFIT and on PROFITguide.com, as well as through: the PROFIT-Xtra enewsletter; Canadian Business, Chatelaine, Flare, Today’s Parent and Maclean’s magazines; direct mailings to past winners and other female entrepreneurs; and several organizations that support Canadian women in business.