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Entrepreneur Conference: Creating A Thriving Business


Unfortunately this event has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 situation. Stay tuned to this page for updates about potential rescheduling.

Note that the Felix SR&ED workshop is still moving forward. If you wish to attend the SR&ED workshop and networking session you can do that by purchasing your ticket here.

About this Event

Calling all Entrepreneurs and small to medium business owners! Are you looking to create a thriving business and take your business to the next level? The Alpha Woman Entrepreneur Conference taking place March 24th in Toronto will help kickstart your business and help you inhabit an optimal headspace to make your business thrive.

At Alpha Woman we welcome all genders, abilities and people requiring compassion pricing to make attendance accessible. Please contact leslie@alphawomanco.com for more information.

The Entrepreneur Conference is for you if you’re:

  • An entrepreneur
  • A start-up looking to hire staff in the near future
  • Small or medium size business owner looking to expand
  • An entrepreneur seeking to safeguard their mental health
  • Business owner looking for R&D capital
  • Small to medium size business owner interested in Government funding
  • Investors of dynamic female owned businesses
  • Services targeting small to medium size business owners
  • An SME looking to develop or hone a marketing strategy that drives business
At this conference we focus on 4 areas to help entrepreneurs create thriving businesses: Money, People, Marketing and Mental Health.

Topics we will explore:

  1. How to select a profitable niche and create sales from day 1
  2. How to get access to government funding
  3. How the entrepreneurship ecosystem can better support and approach mental health
  4. How to create and build brand identity through marketing strategies in the next digital age

Included in the conference will be:

  • Networking after-party with refreshments and snacks
  • Special start-up pricing
  • Door prize worth ~$200 provided by Foliee Skincare and Wellness products

Agenda to be confirmed week before the event.

Keynote Speaker

Jenn Harper

An award-winning social entrepreneur, Jenn Harper is the founder and CEO of Cheekbone Beauty Cosmetics INC.

Cheekbone Beauty is a digitally native direct to consumer brand that is helping Indigenous youth see themselves in a beauty brand while using the concept of a circular economy in the brands ethos and in developing their latest line of products. Creating a new segment in the beauty industry – Sustainable Socially Conscious Beauty.

Prior to building Cheekbone, Jenn had an award-winning career in sales & marketing within the food service sector and before that spent fifteen years creating memorable customer experiences in the hospitality industry.


Angela Wallace

Discover the three keys of business development to scale your dream, sell with soul and fulfill your higher purpose. Learn how to make magic in your market with clarity, focus and strategy.

Angela Wallace Impact Agency builds brave consumer brands for a better world, with a purpose beyond profit. AWIA delivers best in class strategies to maximize company mission, sell with soul, and share stronger stories to make magic happen in the market.

A majority of Angela’s partner brands are female founded and women-owned. She currently mentors start-ups on social impact and sustainability design in the global WeWork Labs network and will be officially certified as a Conscious Capitalism Consultant in 2020.

Her new podcast and training program, Launch Conscious, will address issues of company culture, authentic leadership, profit, purpose, social impact and sustainability for startups. She is based in Toronto, with her young daughter, where she bakes, cooks, cycles and swims in her spare time.

Khierstyn Ross

Select a profitable niche and create a waitlist for a wildly successful product launch

Khierstyn Ross

Khierstyn is a full-time product launch strategist, Ironman, dog mama, and business owner.

In 2015, Khierstyn began her own entrepreneurial journey when she partnered up with her first-ever Kickstarter client. Back then, she knew nothing. Her first product launch failed terribly.

But after a relaunch the campaign went from a $16,710 failure, to a $592,742 success story.

Since then, Khierstyn has raised millions of dollars in revenue on Kickstarter and Indiegogo for her clients and students.

That’s just the beginning – she’s helped her clients quit their jobs and create e-commerce businesses off of the momentum their products have generated.

Learn with Khierstyn how to select a profitable niche, create a waitlist and have sales from day 1, and have a wildly successful product launch (even if it’s your first product!).

Marketing Panel

Marketing for entrepreneurial success



Sara Rodrigues, PhD

Entrepreneurs and Mental Health

Sara Rodrigues

Across Canada, efforts to support entrepreneurs abound, including special financing products, entrepreneurship hubs, post-secondary programs and a growing number of government investments to scale small and medium-sized businesses. However, discussions about the mental health and well-being of entrepreneurs are markedly absent from all this activity.

This presentation shares key findings from the Canadian Mental Health Association’s nationwide study on entrepreneur mental health, highlighting what mental health issues entrepreneurs report, the impact of mental health concerns on their social and personal lives, the strategies and/or supports they use to manage, and the barriers they may face in accessing supports.

It will also share key recommendations for how the entrepreneurship ecosystem can better support and approach mental health.

Sara Rodrigues, PhD, is Senior Research and Policy Analyst at the National Office of the Canadian Mental Health Association.

Her research focuses on mental health promotion, student and employee mental health, and mental health for newcomers and underrepresented groups. Most recently, Dr. Rodrigues led CMHA’s nationwide study of entrepreneur mental health and is the author or co-author of numerous reports and papers on workplace diversity, mental health, and women’s health.

She is a frequent commentator on these issues for CBC, The Globe and Mail, The Toronto Star, among others. Prior to joining CMHA, Sara held a range of research roles, including in academic research institutes focused on workplace diversity and skills development, and in not-for-profit organizations that advance the social and economic inclusion of people with disabilities. She received her PhD from York University.

The CMHA is a nation-wide, charitable organization that promotes the mental health of all and supports the resilience and recovery of people experiencing mental health issues. The CMHA accomplishes this mission through advocacy, education, research and service. Visit cmha.ca to find your local branch.

Dr. Rodrigues will also moderate the panel on Mental Health and Entrepreneurs, which will follow her presentation.

Joanne Acri

DIY Talent Recruitment (or why I just hired a recruiter)

Joanne Acri is a recruiter from Toronto, but please don’t hold that against her. After nearly two decades in marketing working at great companies like The Globe and Mail and Yahoo, she jumped into executive recruitment in 2014 and has never looked back.

Joanne has recently co-founded The Junction Collective to bring consistency, simplicity and transparency to recruitment at all levels. A natural networker and connector of people, she is taking the mystery out of recruitment one person at a time.

Joanne will help conference attendees develop real-life talent recruitment strategies, troubleshoot hiring pitfalls for SME’s, and understand when it’s time to bring in a professional recruiter.

Erin Gratton, CHRL

Onboarding in Startup Culture

Erin has dedicated the past 18 years to workplace education, and her contributions have evolved in unique and interesting ways over this time. As a nationally accredited HR leader, Erin has focused on learning strategy, employee onboarding, and employment law education initiatives.

Following a career in global corporate HR & Learning, Erin founded her first HR practice, Gratton Consulting, in 2012. Gratton Consulting helps small and medium businesses implement learning strategies and programs to empower teams to meet organizational goals and growth demands.

In 2018, Erin transitioned into Canadian cannabis, and to this day she remains a fierce patient advocate voicing concerns for vulnerable communities. Erin educates leaders and employees on cannabis in the workplace and associated workplace impairment policies and practices. In early 2019, she founded, High Values, an HR education support organization dedicated to the cannabis workforce and industry.

Hiring is challenging for startups and small businesses; and the work isn’t over when the ink dries. Onboarding is the process for helping new hires adapt to their role quickly and smoothly. It’s also an employer’s first opportunity to demonstrate inclusion through actions. With some forethought, onboarding reduces time-to-productivity, increases social integration, and optimizes team performance.

Join Erin to learn the foundation of effective onboarding, and how to easily implement practices. In doing so, new hires can see your commitment to your people, and feel confident in their decision to join the team.

Mahlena-Rae Johnson

Show up for success and release your Black Unicorn.

A Speaker, a Writer, a Digital Storyteller, and a 4-time Author, Mahlena-Rae Johnson leads professional development workshops on social media storytelling and personal branding.

At the Alpha Woman Conference, Mahlena will help you level up your confidence in your business and your life, as she teaches you how to show up for success by releasing the black unicorn inside of you.

SR&ED Workshop

Catherine Frelin, PhD

How to access R&D Funding in Canada


Presented by: Felix Medical SR&ED

3 to 4pm, 3rd floor boardroom

Please note that this workshop is ticketed separately with limited seating of 30 people only. 

Access to capital for R&D projects can be a crippling problem, especially when companies are at the discovery and emerging phases of their development where it is more difficult to receive private-sector funding.

In this workshop we will discuss how to get access to government funding, especially for early stage companies. The following programs will be discussed:

· The Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax incentive program. This program is offered by Canada Revenue Agency to encourage Canadian businesses of all sizes and all sectors to perform R&D

· The collaborative MITACS program for innovation. The program was created to support R&D partnership between industry and academia.

· Funding programs for women entrepreneurs: overview

This workshop is ticketed separately and is limited to 30 people only so get your ticket today. Conference attendees attend for free, use the code AlphaWoman when checking for your complimentary tickets.

Panel – Entrepreneurs and Mental Health

Moderator: Sara Rodrigues


Event Partners:

Prize Partner: Foliée

Don’t forget to bring your business card to be entered into a draw to win this fabulous prize package from Foliée

Included in the full collection prize pack are Foliee’s Revitalising Face Cream, Brightening Eye Serum, Ultra-Rich Body Butter, Wellness: Muscle & Joint Cream, Skin Healing Salve and Sensual Oil.

You can only win this gorgeous gift to your skin and overall wellbeing by attending our conference, so get your tickets today!


Venue Partner

Proceeds of venue rental go towards helping women living at the YWCA Toronto Elm Centre.

Lunch Menu:



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