Startup & Slay Digital Series

Startup & Slay Apply Now

How She Hustles, with proud sponsor CIBC, is excited to produce the second annual Startup & Slay digital series featuring Canada’s diverse women entrepreneurs. Apply now. The entrepreneurs profiled in this series will share inspiring stories about starting, sustaining and scaling their small businesses, despite uncertain economic times.

The entrepreneurs will be featured in weekly video chats during October’s Small Business Month 2020. We welcome applications from non-binary entrepreneurs while we work on a more gender inclusive framework for How She Hustles.


Submit your story today! Please ensure you meet the following criteria:

  • Diverse self-identified women & non-binary* entrepreneurs from these underrepresented groups:
  • Women of Colour (visible minorities, racialized), Indigenous (First Nations, Metis, Inuit), immigrants & refugees, 2SLGBTQ+, persons with disabilities
  • All industries are welcome – especially where the groups above are underrepresented
  • Must have a registered small business with 99 employees or less
  • Founder(s) be at least 18 years of age by May 30, 2020
  • Founder(s) must be English speaking or bilingual in both Official Languages (French/English)
  • Companies headquartered and operating anywhere in Canada
  • Companies willing to share non-proprietary insights about their business operations, growth, trials and triumphs – especially during 2020

“We welcome applications from non-binary entrepreneurs while we work on a more gender inclusive framework for How She Hustles.”


  • National media and marketing exposure for your business
  • Build buzz on social media for your brand
  • Share your story to inspire other entrepreneurs
  • Expand your network by connecting with other small businesses
  • Learn from peers in the start-up ecosystem
  • Access to experts and insights from our sponsors
  • Chance to win! Excluding Quebec, all eligible applicants will be entered for a chance to win a $250 pre-paid VISA gift card and (1) hour consultation with a CIBC small business advisor. See contest rules.

Stay tuned for an article featuring entrepreneurs profiled in the 2019 edition of Startup & Slay with helpful tips and reflections on the experience.


May 30 – Applications Open

July 31 – *New* Application Deadline & Story Shortlist Selected

August 14 – Story Finalists Selected & Production Begins

September – Production continues

October – Launch (digital campaign, weekly virtual chats)


  1. When and why did you start your business?
  2. What products and services do you offer?
  3. What makes your business unique?
  4. What is the size and scope of your operation?
  5. Why do you think your business is a good fit for the Startup & Slay digital series?
  6. What examples can you share to demonstrate how your business has grown or scaled over the last 2 years?
  7. What lessons have you learned by growing and scaling your business over the last 2 years that may help other entrepreneurs?
  8. Before the pandemic, what was your vision for growing your business? 
  9. How has your business been impacted by the recent global pandemic?
  10. How have you sustained or pivoted your business during the pandemic?
  11. How you see your business growing in the next 3-5 years?



  1. Will this story inspire other diverse women & non-binary entrepreneurs? 
  2. How does this story demonstrate the innovation and resilience of entrepreneurs who have started, sustained or scaled a business during these challenging economic times?
  3. Will this story bring unique value to the digital storytelling of this series?


2019 – The Startup & Slay Digital Series was produced by How She Hustles with proud sponsors CIBC, Futurpreneur Canada and Ryerson University. After a national call for stories, How She Hustles profiled six start-ups led by diverse women entrepreneurs from British Columbia, Ontario and Nova Scotia. These entrepreneurs profiled in videos, digital articles, a social media campaign and media coverage during October’s Small Business Month. The entrepreneurs then attended a breakfast panel and evening celebration in Toronto to recognize the success, share their insights, and to connect with influential business executives and stakeholders. The Startup & Slay project was produced by a women-led team of diverse creatives led by Emily Mills, founder of How She Hustles.

2018 – Startup & Slay began as an event series in Toronto to provide a platform for diverse women entrepreneurs to amplify their lived experiences, share their business expertise with others and help to nurture a peer-community. How She Hustles hosted the inaugural event in May at Spaces Queen West with 150 guests along with speakers Kiana ‘rookz’ Eastmond (Sandbox Studios), Eva Wong (Borrowell), Devon Fiddler (She Native), Tanya Walker (Walker Law) and Lisa Mattam (Sahajan Skincare) with sponsors CIBC and Startup Toronto. The follow-up Startup & Slay event was held in Toronto at Artscape Sandbox featuring 150 guests, 18 speakers and four panels focused on navigating the start-up ecosystem, managing money, how to slay on social and mastering media interviews with sponsors CIBC and Vistaprint Studio.