Arlene Dickinson is one of the most recognizable business titans in Canada, a television personality you may recognize from CBC’s “Dragon’s Den”, a best-selling author and an entrepreneur. She’s also the founder and general partner at District Ventures Capital, where they invest in innovative Canadian companies. She came on the show to tell us about some important Canadian businesses we should know about.
One of the biggest challenges for entrepreneurs in any industry is to raise money. Dickinson recently wrote a piece in the Globe and Mail about that challenge from a female perspective and how women have a harder time funding their businesses. In Canada, women are only getting 4% of venture capital while companies founded by women in the United States got 2.2 % in 2018.
There is a lot of research coming out about the co-ownership model of businesses and the top executive position being shared between two people. We asked Arlene if she thinks this model is a good idea for women to consider. She says women are often characterized as better leaders just because of the soft skills they bring to the table. But, women are also proven to take more initiative, care about results, be authentic and honest. According to Arlene, that’s what drives and creates good business. So, co-ownership is a good idea if you want to bring those skills into a company, but it shouldn’t be used to simply balance out a male’s lack of soft skills.
Arlene has a new show called “Under New Management”, where they consult people interested in buying businesses. She feels best investing and working with companies who are authentic, innovative and have a strong ethical message. Here are some companies she’s been working with and that you should know about:
Sarah, Canadian and Dave from Great Britain met in British Columbia in 2008. They spent five years in Taiwan indulging in the culture, studying Mandarin and the art of hand-crafted artisan teas. The pair gathered valuable experience and knowledge and came back to Canada to share their love of tea with others.
Genuine Tea was founded in 2015 and since then, their company’s focus has been on sustainable agriculture, ethical practices and supporting small growers. They also pride themselves on providing fresh tea, being transparent about their process and compensate farmers fairly.
This is a female-run company that supports local businesses, local farmers, fair wages and works hard to create jobs and strengthen Canada’s agriculture sector. They selectively source beekeepers that support their hives with healthy locations and proper care, on fields that give bees diverse nutrients. Drizzle Honey is better for you and for the bees!
A female- founded company selling nutritious meal options since 2015. They provide pasta products made out of organic chickpeas and lentils. Their mission is to create good in the world through wholesome meals.
A female-founded company selling plant-powered energy balls, made from scratch, with flavours like salted caramel, crunchy peanut butter and chocolate chip cookie dough. It all started with the founder, Laura, making healthy snacks for farmer’s markets in 2015. Her passion comes from her love of food and creativity.