EY Canada reveals new 2023 Entrepreneurs Access Network cohort

 EY Canada reveals new 2023 Entrepreneurs Access Network cohort

Image courtesy: EY

EY Canada has recently inducted 13 black and indigenous founders in the EY Entrepreneurs Access Network Class of 2023. The program provides learning and network support to black and indigenous founders to overcome key obstacles in scaling their businesses. First launched in the US, the program previously inducted its first cohort in Canada in 2022. The 2023 Cohort comprises fast-growing companies in diverse industries, with a common focus on social good and sustainability, while also innovating and creating a lasting positive economic impact.

The EY Entrepreneurs Access Network is a program designed to support Black and Indigenous entrepreneurs, particularly to address historically propagated disparities. Besides offering a curated executive curriculum for business owners, it also provides dedicated 1:1 coaching with an EY Relationship Ambassador. Furthermore, networking opportunities are also provided to guide and support the founders through their growth journey. Participants also get access to EY tools and services, and work with industry partners to help overcome traditional funding obstacles.

“Companies owned and operated by underrepresented groups traditionally face funding, capital and connection challenges. Through the Network, we empower entrepreneurs to overcome barriers and soar to new heights by bringing to bear the benefits of EY knowledge, network, tools and professionals. And we couldn’t be prouder to join them in their entrepreneurial growth journey.”

Christopher Gordon, Co-Director of EY Entrepreneurs Access Network Program

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Complete list of the EY Canada Entrepreneurs Access Network 2023 cohort

Here is a complete list of the EY Canada Entrepreneurs Access Network cohort startups:

  1. Neuz Acres (Founders: Anthony and Nancy Wingham) — Seed-to-skin waterless beauty brand. It harnesses the power of pecan oil through completely natural products for skin, hair, and body.
  2. Gulf Island Seaplanes (Founders: Alison and Sean Evans) — Seaplane services across British Columbia. The company differentiates by embracing diversity and focusing on personal, memorable interactions.
  3. Canurta Inc. (Founder: Akeem Gardner) — Reversing chronic disease with powerful polyphenols. Pioneering the discovery and production of novel, polyphenol-rich ingredients to improve chronic disease prevention and recovery for humans and animals.
  4. Brown Diva Dolls Inc. (Founder: Clara D. Lewis) — Creating inclusive and diversity-oriented dolls. It especially aims to break the low self-esteem cycle targeting Black girls and foster a culture of acceptance.
  5. Ellie Bianca (Founder: Evelyne Nyairo) — Manufacturing and distributing natural skincare products. It focused on products that are sustainable, ethically sourced, organic and based in Canada without a doubt.
  6. Workind (Founder: Farnel Fleurant) — WellTech solution allowing companies to offer targeted and catered products and services to their employees through an e-commerce app.
  7. Breakfast Culture Inc. (Founder: Jefferson Darrell) — Helping organizations cultivate equitable and inclusive workplace cultures, and garner new and diverse audiences. It helps create new lines of business and foster productivity, by working at intersection of marketing communications, diversity and belonging.
  8. Indigenous Box Inc. (Founder: Mallory Yawnghwe) — D2C and B2B social-impact gifting service. A retailer that champions, supports and develops Indigenous businesses by strengthening Indigenous supply chains.
  9. SIMKHA Biocosmetiques Inc. (Founder: Muriel Koucoï) — Promoting health and well-being using the power of nature through organic, vegan, and cruelty-free skincare products.
  10. N/A & Company Inc. (Founder: Nicole Antoine) — Full service experiential agency. It provides turnkey solutions for internal and external marketing initiatives.
  11. Athlete Technology Group (Founder: Randy Osei) — Strengthening athlete readiness for life after sport. Supports athletes through a community platform that delivers on-demand programs curated for them.
  12. VersaPile Inc. (Founder: Stan Higgins) — Engineered helical pile solutions for important infrastructure projects.
  13. Happly.ai (Founder: Thierry Lindor) — Revolutionizing the way entrepreneurs find, apply and qualify for opportunities. It leverages an AI platform that empowers business owners.

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High diversity of sectors and entrepreneurs in the cohort

The selected startups in the 2023 cohort are working in vastly diverse sectors, ranging from skincare products to artificial intelligence. Some of the founders have also gained recognition in the past for their efforts. For example, Edify Magazine recognized Mallory Yawnghwe, the Founder and CEO of Indigenous Box, as Top 40 under 40 in 2022. In addition, CIBWE named Muriel Koucoï, the CEO of SIMKHA Biocosmetiques Inc., among Canada’s Top 100 Black Women to Watch in 2022.

Addressing the diverse industries of the selected startups, Daniel Baer, co-director of the EAN Program, said that each selected startup delivers new solutions to market in their unique approach to addressing our most pressing issues. He expressed that the diversity found in both the industries and entrepreneurs that make up this year’s cohort was a testament to Canada’s vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem and to the inclusivity and excellence it embodies.

Reaffirming EY’s purpose, Myriam Gafarou, Co-Director of the EAN Program, stated that the Entrepreneurs Access Network is a concrete way for EY to fulfill its purpose of “Building a Better Working World – every day”. She further said that by working together with entrepreneurs, they can create an inclusive economy and a stronger economy.

EY also promotes entrepreneurship and diversity through their Entrepreneurial Winning Women Program and the Entrepreneur Of The Year Award. In addition to the Entrepreneurs Access Network, these programs enable businesses to overcome obstacles, while helping create an entrepreneurial ecosystem for all. 

Also read: Nova Scotia tech startups get more boost; Propel lands CA$1M


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