3 B.C. female founders named to top international entrepreneurship program

Jill Van Gyn, Angel Kho and Eleanor Lee are among just 27 business owners chosen to join EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women's North America Class of 2021.

There goes our province again, punching above its weight.

Three B.C. entrepreneurs are among the seven Canadian women founders chosen to join the EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women program’s North America Class of 2021.

One of them is Jill Van Gyn, founder and CEO of Victoria nut butter brand Fatso. The other two: Angel Kho and Eleanor Lee, founders of Loulou Lollipop, a Vancouver-based specialist in clothing and other goods for babies.

In total, 27 women from Canada and the U.S. were just named to this year’s edition of the program, which targets founding CEOs of private companies that are no more than 10 years old. Revenue for eligible businesses ranges from at least US$2 million to US$30 million.

Now in its 14th year, the program offers participants the network access, advisers and resources they need to help them scale their companies and achieve their full potential as market-leading innovators, according to organizer Ernst & Young.

READ MORE: The 2021 Women of the Year Awards: Entrepreneurial Leader

“This acknowledgement[, which] I share with my team, is a celebration of who we are and how far we’ve come,” said Van Gyn, winner of the Entrepreneurial Leader category in our 2021 Women of the Year Awards. “We’ve grown our legacy company with sustainability at the forefront of our guiding principles. Throughout this journey, we’ve learned to listen and learn from other leaders who have motivated us to achieve higher levels of success.”

Van Gyn and her fellow participants become part of an international peer community that includes some 800 Winning Women in 48 countries. They also get an intro to EY’s global entrepreneurial ecosystem, whose members include EY Entrepreneur Of The Year alumni.

READ MORE: B.C. women entrepreneurs have spoken: they want better access to capital

“Access to capital continues to be one of the biggest barriers for women entrepreneurs looking to grow and scale their businesses—a challenge that is often multiplied for women coming from diverse backgrounds and underrepresented communities,” said Tiki Cheung, Winning Women’s co-lead for Canada. “When women founders are supported in pursuing their ambitions, both business and society benefit through the creation of new jobs and venture funds that provide much-needed capital for other women founders.”