The Forum, a Canadian charity that mentors, educates and empowers women entrepreneurs announced the results of The Odlum Brown Forum Pitch Finale. Brianna Blaney and Aria Hahn, Co-founders of Pocketed, won the competition and $25,000 to support their business vision and growth.
“It’s an honor to be selected as this year’s winner,” says Brianna Blaney, CEO and co-founder of Pocketed. “The $25,000 in funds will significantly contribute to growing our platform to help more businesses access grants and tax credits. Whether you’re building a start-up, small business or side hustle, there is money out there to help you grow.”
“The mentorship provided by Ali Pejman throughout this entire process has been invaluable. A big thank you to The Forum for providing us with mentorship, community and opportunities to access capital,” says Aria Hahn, CTO and co-founder of Pocketed.
About the Finale
The Finale took place at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver on April 28, 2022, and was also streamed to audiences across the nation. It saw over 2,000 attendees. A diverse group of women entrepreneurs pitched their business visions for the opportunity to walk away with the prize. The event raised over $675,000 to support The Forum’s ongoing programs as the charity marks its milestone 20th anniversary year.
“We congratulate this year’s finalists. Each one is a game changer in their respective industry,” says Paulina Cameron, CEO of The Forum. “As more women in Canada turn towards building businesses, The Forum grows and expands programming supporting and connecting women entrepreneurs.”
Television personality Sonia Mangat hosted the celebratory evening along with special guest appearances by three-time Juno Award nominated singer-songwriter Jill Barber. Musical band M’Girl also shared a special Indigenous musical welcome. The event production was made possible by numerous talented partners, including women-owned CountDown Events.
To watch the virtual show, visit https://youtu.be/zu7hwgSsIHE.
Finalists included Ashwaq Al-Hashedi, co-founder and CEO of INViCARE from Montreal, Quebec; Brianna Blaney and Aria Hahn, co-founders of Pocketed from Vancouver, British Columbia; and Yasemin Emory and Whitney Geller, co-founders of Jems from Toronto, Ontario.
Over the last three months, finalists worked with their mentors including Amielle Lake, co-founder and Chief Commercial Officer of CarboNet; Ali Pejman, managing partner at Fort Capital Partners; and Leah Nguyen, chief investment officer of InBC Investment Corp, to prepare for The Odlum Brown Forum Pitch Finale and gain clarity and exposure for their businesses.
The Forum Pitch is a national program that addresses the barrier of access to capital and helps self-identified women entrepreneurs navigate and fast track their funding journey. Since launching in 2016, The Forum Pitch has received over 1,200 applications. Odlum Brown Limited has been a long-time supporter of The Forum and returned as Title Sponsor for the event. Wheaton Precious Metals, who returned as the Pitch Capital Sponsor, generously donated this year’s prize of $25,000.
The Forum is a national, registered Canadian charity with a mission to help women entrepreneurs access the resources and community they need to thrive in business. As The Forum celebrates its 20th anniversary year, the organization continues to see a rise in the need for programming across the country as more women turn towards building businesses. In the last three years, program participant numbers have grown 345 percent. The Forum is now serving 1,900+ women from 193 unique communities across 11 provinces annually through its programming.
To date, the charity has supported over 10,000 women entrepreneurs across Canada through its programs and events including The Forum Pitch, The Forum Mentor Program, The Forum E-Series program and more. Visit theforum.ca for more.
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