Leading up to this year’s Dell Global Women Entrepreneurs Summit in Cape Town, South Africa, June 26-28, I connected with some of the Canadian women entrepreneurs who will be participating. With the theme of “Innovate for a future-ready world,” I was curious to get their take on why this is an important conference for them, and to share the various roles technology and innovation plays in their businesses.
“I started my journey into entrepreneurship as a tech entrepreneur. Technology is always a the core of what I do,” says Katherine Hague, who founded ShopLocket, which was bought by PCH. Now as the founder of Female Funders.com she observes how “Every business owner in today’s globalized market needs to make understanding — and utilizing — enabling technologies a pillar of their business in order to remain competitive. It’s not optional, it is table stakes.”
As the leader of Female Funders, an educational platform for female angel investors and entrepreneurs raising capital, she considers the DWEN Women Entrepreneurs Summit to be a venue to gain new perspectives from women around the world. “DWEN Summit is an opportunity to take a step back from the day to day and look at the big picture. Am I on the track I’m supposed to be in my business? Can I think bigger? What impact am I having at a global scale? Those are the questions I’d like to reflect on at the event, coming back with the fuel to take the business to the next level.”
Lori Kennedy, co-founder and co-owner of Louisbourg Seafoods Limited, a family operated Seafood business that is a leader in sustainable fishing practices, answered my question saying “The role technology plays in my company is profound!”
“Our ocean industry depends on technology for all day to day operations. Whether it’s measuring weather patterns, ocean health or the marine life in and around our oceans, it’s critical.” We talked about how mobile and location-based technology, dockside surveillance and data collection enables the complete traceability of every catch, where, when and how the catch was made, who caught it, where and when the seafood was processed. With a strong commitment to both sustainability and innovation, the company’s adoption of new technology provides a key to their certification as a sustainable seafood company by the Marine Stewardship Council.
With a business that exports to China, Japan & Denmark, and a seat on the board of the World Oceans Council, Kennedy is no stranger to global business and issues. She is very concerned about ocean health, not just fishery business. Louisbourg seafood also uses and integrates technology to undertake and collaborate on ocean research, such as to enhance protein in seaweed, or observe salinity of the ocean and more.
As for the Summit, “The wisdom and knowledge on DWEN’s world stage is powerful!” says Kennedy. “My hopes are to connect and build partnerships within Africa and Canada. I believe that this back and forth economic tool will lead to greatness. Even though thousands of miles separate our two countries, I will continue to share with my colleagues in Africa the value placed on global networking and sustainability within these networks.”
Out of the ocean and into the pool, Diana Goodwin, Founder and CEO of aquamobileswim.com also answered my questions. “Technology is a component but we also offer a curated customer service. We are very much leveraging technology and that is what has allowed us to expand to 1500 swim instructors, and thousands of clients in Canada and the US.”
At aquamobileswim, they are continually investing and innovating in technology and striving to make both customers or swim instructors have a better experience.
I was curious and asked “Are you a tech company — or are you a service company that uses tech?” Goodwin replied, “That’s not where the game is at. Technology is a competitive advantage, but can’t be the only competitive advantage. Driving to create the best customer experience using technology is the key.”
She’s looking to DWEN for business expansion to new markets and meeting potential connections — and for inspiration & ideas — with other women who are passionate. “DWEN elevates everyone. I’m passionate, and it becomes even more so with this network.”
Personally, I’m looking forward to the DWEN energy I felt at the Summit in Austin Texas. It’s the energy of women entrepreneurs learning together, leveraging relationships and technology to create new business opportunities, and truthfully to inspire and even change in the world.
I will be blogging about the DWEN Summit for ITBusiness.ca over the coming week, and on Twitter @csylvester. Follow along for insights from women entrepreneurs about entrepreneurship, innovation, and technology leadership!