Panel Saturday, January 21st, 4:00 – 5:30
Gender, Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Feminism, gender and entrepreneurship are words not often found in one sentence, but exploring the intersections between them can result in an interesting look at how gender shapes entrepreneurial choices, support, access to capital, and the overall experience. In this session we will take a look at the concept of feminist entrepreneurship, using venture creation as a tool for social change, and the state of entrepreneurship in Ontario through a gender lens. We will also reframe your understanding of venture types and forms. Most think of it in binary terms, non-profit, for profit, but there are today, many hybrid options in between.
If you are an art-trepreneur, maker-facturer, sole proprietor or startup looking to grow to become financially sustainable, social entrepreneur, feminist entrepreneur, or aspire to become one, don’t miss this opportunity to engage with five experienced feminist entrepreneurs.
Petra Kassun-Mutch, Publisher and Co-founder of LiisBeth Magazine, and Eve-volution
A former publishing company Executive, acquisitions editor, and VP sales working for John Wily & Sons in both New York and Toronto, Petra decided to pursue a career as an entrepreneur. Her last venture was the Fifth Town Artisan Cheese company, an award winning, sustainable, Platinuum LEED certified goat and sheep milk dairy based in Prince Edward County. The dairy won the Premier’s Award for Agri- food innovation in 2010. The dairy sold in 2013, and since then Petra have been working in Toronto’s startup space including two years as Executive Director and Strategic Advisory for the Imagination Catalyst at OCAD U. Her new company, Eve-Volution Inc helps middle kingdom entrepreneurs, innovators, and organizations succeed. Out of a growing concerns about gender bias, ageism and the limitations of the still dominant neo-liberal narrative around entrepreneurship, LiisBeth, a media company focused on feminist entrepreneurship and innovation was born. LiisBeth responds to entrepreneurship, start-up culture, and the innovation eco-system via progressive, feminist lens.
Jack Jackson, Founder, Alljackedup
Jack Jackson is my loving adopted androgynous genderqueer punk parent and founder of alljackedup. In 2011, Jack left the small island of Guernsey to live in Toronto, Ontario. Once in Toronto, Jack decided to never tone down their dress sense (which was so intrinsically tied to identity) ever again. Jack unapologetically refused to abide by the heteronormative binary dress codes that had previously been suffocating. Herein lay the problem, most of the clothes Jack loved didn’t fit their body or gender – they had been designed for cisgender men. With the encouragement and help of their adopted Canadian mum, Pauline Sullivan, and their wife, Lisa Simpson, Jack took out a loan, bought a sewing machine and started on a passionate love affair with fashion on Jack’s terms.
As with all good fashion houses, alljackedup also caters to the extended queer family, us pooches, so that we too can walk proudly down the street like we own it (we do). I like to help Jack look as dapper as possible, and we can often be spotted on Queen Street rocking our matching bow ties. Alljackedup launched and was very well received at World Pride in Toronto, June 2014. The founder, Jack Jackson is a fiercely proud member of the queer, gender non-conforming and trans community within Toronto.
Renish Kamal, Founder, Fidget Toys
Renishaki, well known as Renish, is an Arts and Environment Graduate from the University of Waterloo. She’s got passion for people, which was her driving force to purse her studious majors in Sociology and Geography. Being the big picture thinker, Renish wanted to pursue her passions within the humanities she came up with theBIKEproject (B-I- K-E: Believing in Kinesthetic Education), now called Fidget and the vision behind it. She faced many challenges bringing her ideas and inventions forward as she would be among a crowd of other entrepreneurs who were in the hardware industry with an engineering background. She has been using her differences to her advantage and continuously strives to make her vision come to life, being a courageous individual to highlight her perspective on the hardware world, and Fidget Toys Ltd., she’s working on today would not have been possible without her train of thinking; “…putting the people and their behaviour first before the creation of the next cool gadget”. Her engagement within the Waterloo and Scarborough community, and her ability to connect and build relationships around her has given her the opportunity to build the right team to support her to share her vision and bring it to life.
She has been named one of the The 55 Rock Stars of Waterloo – “CYBERNORTH VENTURES PRESENTS THE NEXT POTENTIAL $1 BILLION COMPANIES” and was one of the top 25 to participate in the Women Entrepreneurs Bootcamp hosted by Communitech and Google for Entrepreneurs #40Forward, she was one of the Top 10 companies to participate at the final competition.
Priya Ramanujam, Founder, Urbanology Magazine
Priya Ramanujam is a journalist, writer, and the Co-Founder and Editor-in- Chief of Urbanology Magazine, a nationally and internationally distributed urban lifestyle & culture magazine for the hip-hop generation. Over the last nine years she has built up the Urbanology brand and established herself as a well-respected journalist and entrepreneur. She has been able to interview individuals such as Miguel, Boi-1Da, T.I., Jermaine Dupri, Damon Dash, Faith Evans, Ky-Mani Marley, Trey Songz, Kardinal Offishall and Juelz Santana to name a few. Her work has been published in The Toronto Star, The Scarborough Mirror, Post City Magazines, Today’s Bride and many more. Understanding the true meaning of youth engagement, having been a trailblazer herself, Priya has dedicated her young career to creating mentorship and capacity building opportunities for youth coming up by using journalism and multimedia as a tool to engage and empower. She currently coordinates the Say Word youth-led journalism project at East Metro Youth Services’ Violence Intervention Project in Toronto’s Scarborough community and teaches a Magazine course at Humber College.
Emily Rose Antflick
Founder and Chief Community Cultivator, Shecosystem
Emily Rose Antflick is a facilitator of journeys through inner and outer worlds. In her workshops and retreats, Emily holds space for deep connection with self, others, and the environment. Her work stems from a feminine paradigm that values collaboration, creativity and ‘showing up’ with your authentic self. Emily is the founder of Shecosystem Toronto: a coworking and wellness community where women can work in integrity, cultivate personal and professional wellbeing and connect with a supportive ecosystem. With an MA in Education and over ten years in classroom and experiential education in Canada and internationally, she is a versatile teacher and program designer with rich perspectives on learning and community building. Emily is the Community Leader of G Day for Girls Toronto, a rite of passage for adolescent girls and their adult champions. She is a facilitator of Erica Ross’s award winning Dance Our Way Home healing freestyle dance program. Connect with Emily on twitter & instagram @shecosystem
Allison Hillier has more than two decades’ experience as an entrepreneur. Her first business was as a jewellery maker. Then she went on to own a bar in Italy and a café in Germany. She is now a learning and development consultant and instructional designer who helps organizations plan, design and deliver training programs. Allison has a long history building entrepreneurship learning and support communities. She started the Foreign Entrepreneur Support Network in Berlin and also had the pleasure of researching, designing and developing an entrepreneurship program aimed specifically at creative people for Artscape here in Toronto. She has been facilitating and coaching creative people through that program for more than 4 years and has worked with more than 100 artists, designers, makers, performers and writers to help them navigate the world of small business.