Thursday, October 25, 2007

Recherchez la Femme

PROFIT Magazine has just published its 2007 list of Canada’s top 100 women-owned businesses.

You can view the whole list here.

I've often been asked what purpose this list serves. Unlike performance-based lists such as the PROFIT 100 (ranking companies by five-year growth) or PROFIT’s Hit 50 (ranking new companies by two-year growth), or even the growth-oriented Entrepreneur of the Year, the W100 lists businesses based on size (i.e., annual sales revenue).

Among other things, this makes the list predictable: Rebecca MacDonald’s Energy Savings Income Fund tops the list for, I don’t know, the fourth year in a row?

But here’s why I think it’s important, and why I credit PROFIT for continuing this project long after two of its sister magazines, with many more resources, walked away from it.

1) Women owners of substantial businesses are still a fairly new force in society. Chronicling the growth, evolution and increasing diversity of these firms is an important social project.

2) It's an inspiring list of role models that helps other entrepreneurs realize there are more ways to get to the top than through the Old Boys' Club of Bay Street.

3) There are legitimate questions about whether women treat business or manage organizations differently from the way men do. PROFIT’s research focuses on the W100’s management techniques – bringing their business philosophies and best practices into the spotlight for all to see and learn from. (Even the men!)

You can read about the W100’s best HR tips and tactics here.

Learn from their positive approach to building productive banking relationships.

And check out how W100 leaders are using their business skills to give back to society – and why it's also good for growth.


Anonymous said...

Indeed, even some women — and even some women who've been ranked on the PROFIT W100 list — have questioned the need for this project. You've nicely articulated our primary reasons for sustaining the effort.

While we would like to base the ranking on a more performance-oriented metric than annual revenue, female entrepreneurship is still an emerging sector, and it would be difficult to obtain the critical mass of companies necessary to meet our editorial needs. (Consider the just-released list, co-produced by Women Presidents' Organization and Entrepreneur magazine, of the 50 fastest-growing women-run businesses in North America, which has no Canadian firms on it.) However, I'm confident that we will make such a move in the future.

Ian Portsmouth
Editor, PROFIT Magazine

Anonymous said...

As woman entrepreneur myself, I believe this is a great initiative. I was recently a participant in a round table about women entrepreneurship in Quebec and we were dismayed that some participants had so much trouble naming successful women entrepreneurs. They are out there. Thank you for covering them.