President & CEO, Tangerine Bank & Executive Sponsor, The Scotiabank Women Initiative
Co-Chief Executive Officer, Overlap Associates
Lisa Grogan, Co-Chief Executive Officer of Overlap Associates, a boutique strategy design firm, attended Scotiabank’s Un-Mentorship Boot Camp™ in Waterloo, ON this past June. Grogan says the key to Overlap’s success is a consistent focus on its vision and culture. She credits the Boot Camp, attended by everyone from fledgling business owners to seasoned industry vets, with having played an important role in cementing that focus.
“The Boot Camp model, for me, is about shining a light on what’s possible,” says Grogan. “It brings together women who are both mentoring and being mentored, because there’s such a range of attendees. It was inspiring, super accessible, and definitely time well-spent. You’re cheering on brand new entrepreneurs while also hearing no-holds-barred stories from some of the most successful women out there.”
Three pillars of the program: Access to Capital, Mentorship and Education
The Un-Mentorship Boot Camp Grogan attended — one of many Scotiabank has run across Canada over the past year — is part of The Scotiabank Women Initiative™. The program, designed to support Canadian women-owned, women-led businesses, celebrated its one-year anniversary and expanded to its capital markets business, Global Banking and Markets, on December 5, 2019. Among other milestones, the Initiative locked in a commitment to allocate $3 billion in capital to women-owned, women-led businesses over its first three years, but it’s about much more than access to funding.
“I feel very proud of what we’ve been able to do to support women entrepreneurs over the past year,” says Gillian Riley, President and CEO of Tangerine Bank and Executive Sponsor of The Scotiabank Women Initiative. “When we launched the program, we knew it had to be about more than access to capital, and that’s when we came up with the three pillars. We focus on providing mentorship and education alongside funding to really propel women through the process of starting, building, and growing their businesses.”
That effort includes collaboration with researchers to furnish the educational side of the program and events like the Un-Mentorship Boot Camps and group mentorship sessions, which have been attended by more than 1,000 women so far.
We focus on providing mentorship and education alongside funding to really propel women through the process of starting, building, and growing their businesses.Gillian Riley, President and CEO of Tangerine Bank and
Executive Sponsor of The Scotiabank Women Initiative
Women-owned businesses are a growing part of the Canadian economy
Businesses owned by women represent over $117 billion in economic activity in Canada1 and employ over 1.5 million Canadians2. Historically, women have experienced higher loan rejection rates than men. That’s starting to change.
A recent survey by Scotiabank found that women entrepreneurs lag men entrepreneurs in applying for business loans. Seven percent of the 499 women respondents had applied for a business loan in the 12 months leading up to the survey, compared to 11 percent of men respondents. Yet, women were more likely to have their loan applications approved compared to men (88 percent versus 77 percent, respectively).
“As a result of some of the work we and others are doing, we’re starting to see an improving trend in Canada as women access more tools, resources, networking opportunities — and, of course, capital,” says Riley. “The overall opportunity for the country and economy as a whole is enormous.”
Fostering collaboration and support between women in business will be part of delivering on that opportunity. “We all know it takes time and energy to nurture our professional networks,” says Grogan. “It’s so important to have people around you who believe in what you’re doing. At the Boot Camp, not only did I connect with people from the bank who were excited about my business, but I connected and reconnected with so many other women. It really offers a whole new channel for me to tap into resources like mentorship, financial education, and capital when we need it.” Grogan, who has already been to two Boot Camps, says she hopes to attend more in the future.
Focused support for women-owned and women-led businesses from established financial institutions like Scotiabank holds tremendous potential for economic and social impact.
1. The Canadian Taskforce for Women’s Business Growth, 2011.
2. Startup Canada