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2017 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Award Finalists announced today

TORONTO, September 28, 2017 - Women of Influence today announced the finalists of the 2017 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards program. A record breaking 6,400 women entrepreneurs from coast to coast were nominated for this year’s awards, and 18 finalists have now been selected. These exceptional women were chosen for their accomplishments in industries as diverse as finance, technology, construction, hospitality and health services.

The winners will be announced and celebrated at the 25th Annual Awards Gala, hosted by Diane Francis, editor-at-large for the Financial Post on Wednesday, November 22, 2017 at the Fairmont Royal York in Toronto.

The RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards recognizes female business owners from across Canada who make impressive and substantial contributions to the local, Canadian or global economy. Candidates share a strong entrepreneurial vision and a relentless passion in pursing their dreams. These awards recognize women in business from three major regions across Canada: East, Central and West.

The scope of the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards is vast. Over the 25 years of the program, RBC and Women of Influence have seen an impressive 75,000 women nominated, 450 finalists selected and have awarded 75 exceptional women entrepreneurs with this prestigious honour.

“RBC is proud to profile the achievements of these extraordinary entrepreneurs” said Greg Grice, Executive Vice President, Business Financial Services, Royal Bank of Canada. “With their incredible passion, leadership and dedication to business excellence, each plays an important role in inspiring and empowering others looking to turn business ambition into reality.”

All nominees are required to submit through applications, which are reviewed and judged by a panel of prominent business leaders and subject to due diligence performed by Deloitte Private Client Services.

The 2017 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Award Finalists are:

Micro Business Award
West:  Angel Guerra and Angela Dione, Market Collective
Central: Kalpana Kundra, Unstick by Daughkun
East: Geneviève Lévesque, Arteria Gallery

Staples Start-Up Award
West: Marlo Brausse, Barre Body Studio
Central: Rula Sharkawi, My Little Chickpea
East: Trina Bailey, Bailey Veterinary Surgical Specialty Ltd.

RBC Momentum Award
West: Rachel Mielke, Hillberg & Berk
Central: Mandy Rennehan, Freshco
East: Kara Angus, Go Go Group Inc.

Social Change Award
West: Glori Meldrum, Little Warriors
Central: Melissa Sariffodeen, Ladies Learning Code
East: Cathy Deagle-Gammon, Dartmouth Adult Services Centre DASC

TELUS Trailblazer Award
West: Claudia Sjoberg, The Pedalheads Group
Central: Sharifa Khan, Balmoral Marketing Inc.
East: Natalie Voland, Gestion Immobilière Quo Vadis/Complexe Dompark

TEC Award for Excellence in Entrepreneurship
West: Allison Grafton, Rockwood Custom Homes
Central: Janet Zuccarini, Gusto 54 Restaurant Group
East: Christiane Germain, Groupe Germain Hôtels

The 2017 RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards are presented by Royal Bank of Canada. Award sponsors include Staples, RBC, TELUS, TEC Canada and our official Due Diligence partner, Deloitte.

“Women of Influence is thrilled to be celebrating 25 years of these prestigious awards. As a community, Canadian female entrepreneurs represent a powerful economic force is that is truly impressive and their impact is growing,” said Alicia Skalin, Co-CEO, Women of Influence Worldwide Inc. “Over the history of the program, we have been honoured to contribute to their future success by recognizing the achievements of this remarkable group, not only offering increased exposure and a new source of credibility, but the opportunity to become an inspiring role model for future leaders.”

About the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards
The RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards are the pre-eminent national business awards recognizing the country’s leading female entrepreneurs. The awards are an initiative of Women of Influence, an award-winning organization dedicated to advancing women globally.

About Women of Influence Worldwide Inc.
Women of Influence, now in its 23rd year, is one of North America’s leading organization offering solutions to further women’s career advancement. With courses in executive leadership, global events, and print and digital content, Women of Influence annually reaches over 200,000 professional women and men across Canada and internationally. Signature events include the Women of Influence Luncheon Series and the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Awards. For more information, please visit

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For interview requests or further information please contact:

Amanda Kruzich, Women of Influence, 416 456 8633,
Rob Merk, Corporate Communications, RBC, 416-955-6665,