The Forum is pleased to announce Connie Stacey of Growing Greener Innovations is the winner of the 2020/2021 Pitch for the Purse program and the $50,000 prize. Stacey pitched to a live audience of more than 1,850 viewers alongside two other finalists during the virtual Odlum Brown FWE Gala: Pitch for the Purse Finale. The Forum, previously known as Forum for Women Entrepreneurs or FWE, also awarded $5,000 prizes to the two runner ups as determined by the audience’s votes. The event raised more than $600,000 to support The Forum’s work.
A star-studded show
The Odlum Brown FWE Gala: Pitch for the Purse Finale, co-chaired by Christina Anthony and Lara Dauphinee, went virtual for the first time and featured cameos from Sarah McLachlan, actor Ryan Reynolds, Dragon’s Den’s Michelle Romanow, Today Show’s Savannah Guthrie and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. All in addition to the celebrity judges Frank Giustra and Nathalie Molina Niño, who were joined by the show’s host Monika Doel.
Down to three finalists
“The Forum’s Pitch for the Purse Finale is an absolutely spectacular display of women’s ingenuity and business acumen,” said Paulina Cameron, CEO of The Forum. “We are so proud of all of our finalists and are excited to see what is next for Connie Stacey. She has an extraordinary vision and I’m confident will make an impressive mark on the business community.”
Finalists Connie Stacey of Growing Greener Innovations, Karen Danudjaja of Blume Supply Inc. and Rachel Bartholomew of Hyivy Health with the support of their mentors, Nanon de Gaspé Beaubien-Mattrick, Christian Chia, Sophie Gupta, each impressed the live audience with their passionate and well crafted pitches. More than 1,850 people tuned into the live event and voted to decide the winner.
“I am so thrilled to have been selected as the winner of The Forum’s Pitch for the Purse,” said Connie Stacey, Owner, Growing Greener Innovations. “It is an absolute honour and I’m excited to use this injection of capital to support our mission to end energy poverty globally. I want to thank The Forum and Christian Chia for the incredible opportunity and mentorship I’ve received throughout this process, it has been such an amazing learning experience and I know my business will thrive as a result.”
Finding Pitch for the Purse participants
The Odlum Brown Pitch for the Purse Finale is the culmination of the five month long program that began with more than 466 applicants from across the country, the largest number of applicants the program has ever received, narrowed to 12 semi-finalists and ultimately the three finalists. Along the way, participants benefited from community, support and amplification of their business visions along with dedicated 1:1 mentorship and for the finalists, capital.
Supporting the event
“This year’s virtual gala harnessed all of the magic that is The Forum’s Pitch for the Purse Finale and allowed us to share it with a bigger audience than ever before,” said Christina Anthony and Lara Dauphinee, Gala Co-Chairs. “We want to express our sincere gratitude to all of the mentors, judges, celebrities and sponsors who came together to celebrate these amazing entrepreneurs. We’re proud of every woman who has started or grown a business, especially during the last year, and we are happy to play a part in supporting women entrepreneurs every day.”
Odlum Brown Limited has been a long-time supporter of The Forum providing key sponsorship for this event. This year’s prize was double that of previous years thanks to the generosity of Galvanize, who provided an additional $25,000 on top of the longstanding $25,000 grand prize provided by Wheaton Precious Metals. The other top two finalists, Rachel Bartholomew of Hyivy Health and Karen Danudjaja of Blume Supply Inc., were each awarded a $5,000 prize.
This virtual event was made possible by numerous talented partners, including women-owned CountDown Events that has been supporting this event for 10 years. More information about The Forum and Pitch for the Purse can be found here. If you missed the show and would like to watch, a video of the full Pitch for the Purse Finale can be found here.
About The Forum
The Forum is a Canadian charity that provides education, mentorship and community to women entrepreneurs across Canada. With a mission to leave no woman behind, The Forum reached over 5,000 women in the first 7 months of the pandemic alone and continues to grow the community of women and allies coming together to ensure women entrepreneurs not only survive, but thrive.
Through its programs, The Forum supports women who are venturing into new business opportunities or ready to ramp up and grow their existing business. Since its inception 19 year ago, The Forum has curated over 2,300 Mentor pairings, counts 670+ E-Series Alumnae, has educated and mentored 475+ women with Pitch for the Purse, and supported 79 women in accessing capital through Money Moves.
More importantly, when you help a woman entrepreneur through The Forum, she will go on to create 10 more jobs and grow her revenue by over 30% each year. Although 50% of new businesses fail after the first 5 years, women who are educated and mentored by The Forum are beating the odds stacked against them and are 3 times more likely to still be in business than the Canadian average. The forum was previously known as The Forum for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE). Learn more at their website.