9 Boss Ladies Rocking Innovative Businesses
2016.12.06

9 Boss Ladies Rocking Innovative Businesses

The Innovation Cluster works with so many incredible boss ladies, it was difficult to choose just one – so we decided to highlight 9 women who are rocking innovative businesses. We asked them to share what their business is, a short biography and some great advice and quotes to inspire you. Check out what makes these boss ladies tick!

1. Miriam Verberg – Bloom Digital
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The Business: A boutique game company that creates narrative driven games featuring authentic characters in the midst of pivotal moments and life-changing stories. Their latest independent release is LongStory Game, a dating sim/role-play game focused on helping players build healthy relationships through immersive and inventive choice-driven storytelling.
The Boss Lady: Miriam is a game designer and interactive producer with over 10 years experience developing new media. She has worked with non-profits, private sector companies and post-secondary institutions. Her areas of particular interest are creating meaningful games, organizing learning & advocacy events, digital strategy, & audience analysis.
What is one piece of advice you’d give to other female entrepreneurs?
“Keep your eyes peeled for opportunity and create strong allies, also play your own game, never compare.”
What is your favorite quote?
“Try as hard as we may for perfection, the net result of our labors is an amazing variety of imperfectness. We are surprised at our own versatility in being able to fail in so many different ways.”
What is your favorite hobby outside of your business?
“I try to exercise… I am not really a hobby-having person. I read a lot though, so I guess that is my hobby.”

2. Sheryl Loucks – Canuck Play
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The Business: Canuck Play Inc. is dedicated to bringing action packed games featuring Canadian Sports, heroes, and history to fellow Canucks.
The Boss Lady: Creative and driven, Sheryl Loucks has passionately pursued sharing the stories that make us all Canucks in award-winning journalism, non-fiction books, and now video games. An education junkie, Sheryl’s Carleton BA in History and Journalism, and post-grad pursuits have honed her ferret-like research skills and hawk-eyed editing style . As vice-president of Canuck Play, she uses more than a decade of experience in administration, management and grant writing to operate this new video game studio while providing creative input to game development.
What is one piece of advice you’d give to other female entrepreneurs?
“Use that female gift of gab to network and if you’re too shy to talk to strangers, I guarantee you have someone in your acquaintance that loves to talk – use that.”
What is your favorite quote?
“If you don’t ask, you don’t get.”
What is your favorite hobby outside of your business?
“Writing creative fiction. I love spinning word webs, giving new characters a voice and discovering my fingers somehow have a different pipeline to my brain than my conscious thinking because I’m constantly surprised by what appears on the page.”

3. Brooke Hammer – Chimp Treats
brooke hammer boss ladies 3
The Business: Chimp Treats is an innovative health food company dreaming up delicious 100% fruit products, like Nicecream, a sweet and creamy frozen snack made entirely from bananas that babies, children, and adults are all going bananas for!
The Boss Lady: Brooke Hammer founded Chimp Treats while studying at Trent University. She was always pursuing the next great thing growing up: competing in varsity athletics, founding multiple businesses, and founding new athletic teams and extracurricular clubs so she could carry out her passions. Creating something great where nothing had previously been, and the accompanying feelings of pride and accomplishment, is the main reason why she loves entrepreneurship. She credits much of her success to an amazing network of supportive family, mentors, friends, and organizations like FastStart and the Innovation Cluster.
What is one piece of advice you’d give to other female entrepreneurs?
“Decide, today, exactly who you want to be, and be that person. Confident, composed, powerful, attention-commanding, a visionary… whoever you aspire to be, start today. A little ‘fake it till you make it’ goes a long way.”
What is your favorite quote?
“If you don’t ask for what you want, you can’t be upset when you don’t get it. The worst they can say is ‘no’.”
What is your favorite hobby outside of your business?
“Creative anything! Aside from commercial projects, I’ve been known to spend my free time doing photography, writing, and drawing.”

4. Jane Zima – SimbiH20
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The Business: SimbiH2O is a Canadian company providing digital water & wastewater management services and software applications. Our digital tools and support services help responsible residential and commercial property owners to manage, protect, and optimize their water resource assets.
The Boss Lady: Jane is the founder of SimbiH2O, an innovative drinking water and wastewater management platform designed for service providers, technology manufacturers and rural homeowners. In addition to be being a passionate promoter for sustainable onsite and decentralized solutions and responsible community growth, Jane is an advocate for combating climate change and local water and energy resource management. Jane is very proudly Canadian, and adores the great outdoors and the adventures that come from exploring them.
What is one piece of advice you’d give to other female entrepreneurs?
“Take inspiration from the Greats:
Be deliberate. Think for yourself, out loud. Sit at the table. Lean in.
Be brave and brilliant and never apologize for it. Don’t wait for permission.
This will be worth it.”
What is your favorite quote?
“How wonderful is it that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” – Anne Frank
What is your favorite hobby outside of your business?
“I am a recreational yogi, amateur photographer and outdoor explorer in my spare time.”

5. Sana Virji – Tectile/Ribbet
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The Business: Ribbet allows local businesses to sign up and post coupons onto their website and app. There, customers can become free members to see all the amazing deals that are happening in Peterborough and the Kawarthas!
The Boss Lady: Sana started her entrepreneurial journey in Pakistan, working in her mother’s clothing business. She came to Canada 5 years ago to study Business at Trent University. She knew that entrepreneurship was her calling when she won the $5 Challenge—turning that $5 into $6300 in just one week! She knew that she was onto something great, and that project later became “Ribbet” as she co-founded the business with her partner, Ribat. Now, in addition to all of her business commitments she also serves on the Trent Business Council and the board for the Women’s Business Network to support and grow Peterborough’s vibrant business community.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to other female entrepreneurs?
“Have a voice at the table because you can make a difference!”
What is your favorite quote?
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” – Wayne Gretzky
What is your favorite hobby outside of your business?
“Painting and enjoying unique culinary experiences.”

6. Andressa Lacerda – Noblegen Inc.
andressa lacerda boss ladies 6
The Business: Noblegen Inc. is an advanced bioproducts manufacturer dedicated to developing cost-effective, naturally-derived biomaterials and biochemicals for a wide range of consumer and industry sectors. We utilize a unique platform that combines proven industrial methods with our proprietary “directed expression” technique to commercially cultivate microorganisms. We want to create an avenue for a healthier, more balanced relationship between people and planet.
The Boss Lady: A native of Brazil, Dr. Andressa Lacerda first came to Trent as an undergraduate student in 2008. After graduating in 2011 with a BSc in Biology, and a specialization in Health Sciences, Andressa began work on her MSc at Trent University. Because of the advanced level of her research, she converted to the Ph.D. program, which she completed in 2015, at the age of 25. In 2013, during her time as a graduate student, Andressa co-founded Noblegen.
What is one piece of advice you’d give to other female entrepreneurs?
“Be strong, and be bold! Don’t be scared of being the ‘bitchy/bossy person’. Some people just confuse ‘bitchy/bossy’ with assertive and strong, which makes it their flaw, not yours.”
What is your favorite quote?
“My favorite quote is ‘I’m too old for this shit.’ Just kidding….I just came across a good one ‘If people doubt how far you can go, go so far that you can’t hear them anymore.'” 
What is your favorite hobby outside of your business
“Traveling, reading and walking my dogs (reads anything to do with my dogs).”

7. Alesia Blackwood – Unlock Math
alesia blackwood boss ladies 7
The Business: UnLock Math has been developed to be your math solution. Completely online. Easy to navigate. Available anytime. Utilizing the most advanced Testing & Assessment anywhere. UnLock Math will put your child into a safe virtual classroom where they are the only student. No distractions. Just math. With a passionate Math Teacher who has a proven ability to engage students and give them the skills and confidence to succeed.
The Boss Lady: Alesia Blackwood is the founder of UnLock Math, Inc., a cloud based math platform designed to unlock the math potential of children. Launched in December of 2014, it is currently experiencing 250% growth and helping numerous children succeed at math! Alesia studied at Trent & Queens University and is a member of the Ontario College of Teachers certified in Intermediate and Senior Divisions Mathematics & Computer Science.
What is one piece of advice you’d give to other female entrepreneurs?
“Find positive cheerleaders who can help bolster your spirits when things get tough! There are many ups and downs but with positive people to encourage you, it can make a tremendous difference on moving ahead!”
What is your favorite quote?
“Entrepreneurship is living a few years like most people won’t, so that you can spend the rest of your life living like most people can’t”
What is your favorite hobby outside of your business?
“*laughter*…with 4 young children and building a business…there is no time for hobbies. Someday… maybe.”

8. & 9. Gina & Penny Guimont – myPillCard
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The Business: myPillCard is a safe and secure place to store a pharmacist-approved list of your current medications, medical conditions, allergies, and emergency contact information. A personal health record that patients and their healthcare team can count on. All patients who register with myPillCard will receive a complimentary PillCard™. A PillCard™ is a wallet-sized list of your medications. PillCards are useful for doctor visits and are helpful in emergency situations. If your information changes, we’ll automatically send you an updated PillCard™.
The Boss Ladies: Penny and Gina are sisters that grew up in Cranbrook B.C. playing piano, camping and Equestrian riding (3-day Eventing). Gina has a degree in International Business and Supply Chain Management. Penny is a Certified Geriatric Pharmacist and Diabetic Educator. They are both married and hope to start families in the coming future.
What is one piece of advice you’d give to other female entrepreneurs?
“Being an entrepreneur can be a roller coaster of ups and downs. Persistence and determination are a must. Just when you’re ready to give up, the tables can turn. Stay committed.”
What is your favorite quote?
“Nothing worth while is going to be easy” – Mom
“A negative attitude is like carrying a bag of garbage around” – Dad
What is your favorite hobby outside of your business?
“Working out and riding horses!”

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