Two Alberta CEOs win thousands in investment at national pitch competition

Two Alberta CEOs have received thousands of dollars in financial investment through a nationwide level of competition for ladies and gender-assorted business owners.

Shelvie Fernan from Edmonton and Lourdes Juan from Calgary are two of the winners of the 2022 HerStory pitch competitors operate by Alberta Innovates and The51, an business that invests in startups and providers led by gals and gender-assorted founders. 

The pitch competitors, held in Banff before this month, featured 29 entrepreneurs from across the nation sharing tales of how they arrived up with the thoughts behind their providers.

Fernan is the CEO and co-founder of Fly & Fetch, a delivery corporation that aims to present more quickly and much less expensive worldwide bundle deliveries. Fernan won $51,000 for the enterprise through the HerStory levels of competition.

“I was definitely shocked,” Fernan claimed. “At the exact time, you just have to declare it since I also work really hard and my team operates seriously tricky.”

Rather than a regular shipping process, Fly & Fetch pays travellers with added house in their luggage to have and produce deals for consumers. The firm covers 50 to 100 for each cent of flight expenditures for travellers, Fernan stated, and it presently has a database of about 7,000 travellers who are keen to supply offers.

Fernan explained the notion for the organization arrived from her very own activities with intercontinental shipping and delivery. As an immigrant from the Philippines, when she despatched packages back again dwelling to her mom by traditional courier corporations, deliveries had been expensive and commonly took extra than a 7 days.

It is prevalent apply in immigrant communities to question persons travelling back again home to produce offers for friends and relatives, Fernan explained. 

“We’ve been accomplishing this for so very long,” she claimed. “We have to have to have a business model that would work since a good deal of other persons want that [quick] shipment as perfectly.”

Reimagining the pitch approach

Shelley Kuipers, co-founder and co-CEO of The51, said the thought driving the HerStory level of competition was to re-think about the pitch approach in a way that serves gals and gender-numerous business people. 

“You should not pitch us, but inform us your tale,” Kuipers explained. “Is there a lived working experience at the rear of this? Why are you the 1 to make this enterprise? Why will this company be thriving with you main it?”

Kuipers said the competitiveness is also meant to be a immediate way to maximize expenditure in corporations led by ladies and gender-numerous founders. She knows initially-hand how complicated navigating the enterprise ecosystem can be.

“My individual lived practical experience was it was very complicated to increase capital as a lady entrepreneur and founder,” claimed Kuipers. 

In 2020, feminine founders acquired just 2.3 for each cent of the billions of pounds handed out in world wide enterprise capital funds.

While there was initially only intended to be a person winner of the HerStory opposition, Kuipers claimed the contestants were being so amazing that four awards experienced to be handed out by the stop of the function. 

‘Increasing foods access throughout the world’

One particular of those awards went to Lourdes Juan, founder and CEO of Knead Systems, a Calgary-centered tech business that aids food rescue businesses deal with logistics via an app. Juan won $20,000.

Juan mentioned using portion in the competition was just one of the ideal encounters in her entrepreneurial occupation. 

“It was so excellent to to be in the place with that power, to just get to know so several persons who are who are carrying out just what I’m executing,” Juan said. 

Juan, whose qualifications is in city scheduling, has founded multiple companies and charities, such as a spa and the non-income Contemporary Routes, a cellular grocery retail store and pop-up current market that features generate and other foods at a discounted selling price.

A Calgarian inspects the high quality of make at one particular of Clean Routes’s pop-up current market at an LRT station. Clean Routes is just 1 of multiple businesses entrepreneur Lourdes Juan has founded. (David Bell/CBC)

Juan stated her passion for solving food access troubles comes from her very own daily life encounters. Her mom, who immigrated to Canada from the Philippines, used to get the job done 3 jobs, such as as a grocery retail outlet cashier, to put meals on the desk. 

“We ended up a person of the households that just wasn’t in a posture to squander food stuff,” Juan explained.

“Now, I really am committed to rising food stuff access across the entire world via via this new technological innovation.”

Even though Knead Technologies was only founded this 12 months, Juan said her workforce has previously gained calls from corporations throughout the globe from Jamaica to Ivory Coastline.

Programs for the foreseeable future

The different organizations that have invested in the HerStory winners will comply with up with each and every enterprise to see how they strategy to use their new money, Kuipers claimed.

“We will be likely by a due diligence course of action to make confident that all the things is checked out from an expense standpoint,” she stated. 

Juan explained the cash her enterprise received will probably go towards enhancing the app to far better to industry to companies across the world. 

Fernan said her company is wanting to develop its reach. When it at this time delivers mostly to Canada, the United States, the Philippines and Pakistan, the corporation is hoping to attain nations like Brazil and India too.