International Women's Week



Meet Womxn-Owned Business Owners’ of Invest Ottawa:

Womxn in Ottawa are building companies focused on long-term impact.
Get to know these inspiring entrepreneurs and leaders we are so proud to work with.


“I’m a teacher by training. I realised early on that it was the students who were slipping through the cracks, the ones that were marginalized and not succeeding, that I was drawn towards. And I kept getting frustrated looking at how many students weren’t getting diagnosed, so very quickly I made them the focus of my journey... I made the very scary decision to leave my job so I could do something on a larger scale, start my business and reach more people.”

Heather Desjardins quit her job. She had “no connections, no money, no anything” but she knew she had to follow her passion. Early on, she turned to the Small Business Enterprise Centre: attended workshops, booked consultations with our partners and built a network at Bayview Yards. Today she has three staff member and just shy of 40 educators working for her.

Heather Desjardins

Bree Jamieson-Holloway


Bree Jamieson-Holloway is a Corporate Lawyer by trade. In 2017, while pregnant with her second child, Bree discovered the benefits of daily meditation. Her passion lies in personal self-care and wellness, and she’s driven to make it accessible. That is why she co-founded Nurtured Life, a mobile health and wellness company - a platform that connects professionals to clients so they can access wellness services on their schedule and on their terms.

In 2018, Bree and her team joined the IO Pre-Accelerator program. Through the program, and specifically through their work with Invest Ottawa’s mentors, Nurtured Life was able to identify the “holes” in the foundation of their business plan, identify a customer acquisition strategy and prepare the company for investment. And, for her, the standout of the program was getting to work with female mentors.

To get to know Bree, founder and CEO, check out her interview in our C-Suite Leadership Series blog:


In 2017, Shanaz and her partner founded Airshare Inc and created the “world’s friendliest guided missile”, a product that safely and cost-effectively removes drone threats. This Ottawa tech scaleup has joined the IO Accelerator Program and their company has been moving at turbo speed. For help with the product design, they were able to look in-house at Bayview Yards. turned to the Prototyping Lab at Bayview Yards. Working with the Custom Manufacturing team they turned a 12-week mission into a 10-hour process.

Shanaz Sigouin

Thusha Agampodi


“I love what we do because of who we help with our software; we build tools for forensic examiners to solve crimes using digital evidence. And I also love working here because of my team I’ve built here - a great talent set of individuals from Ottawa.”

Thusha Agampodi is an Engineering Manager. Her company, Magnet Forensics, soft-landed in Ottawa only a few years ago. The Global Expansion team worked with this scaling company through the city selection process when they we’re deciding where to expand operations. Now, Magnet Forensics runs their research and development office from the west-side of Canada’s Capital City.

How can we help you achieve your goals?

Be a champion for women in leadership: help promote Ottawa’s initiative!

Have a question, suggestion, or want to learn more? Contact:

Katie LeClair, Corporate Communications Strategist, Invest Ottawa & Bayview Yards: [email protected]
Sonya Shorey, Vice President, Marketing and Communications, Invest Ottawa & Bayview Yards: [email protected]