How Hyping Up Your Bright Idea Can Get the Right People Talking

For Global Entrepreneurship Week, FLARE is profiling boss Canadian women from diverse backgrounds who have one thing in common: they're running their own shows. It’s estimated that female-run small- and medium-sized businesses have contributed $148 billion annually to the Canadian economy. That number is set to climb to $198 billion over the next decade, according to a report by RBC Economics. This is Aisha Addo's story

Aisha Addo

Aisha Addo

THE PITCH: Aisha Addo hit the road with Toronto’s first ladies-only ride-sharing platform with barely a business plan—and no name in place. (Apparently 52 percent of Canadian entrepreneurs don’t create a formal plan prior to launching their biz.) The 25-year-old entrepreneur from Mississauga, Ont., originally shared her women-driving-women idea on her personal Facebook page, and her post got people talking. She decided to publicize the concept by writing a formal press release and sharing it with various media outlets. And so, DriveHer was born.

THE PROCESS: After Addo’s media blitz, more women responded on social media, opening up about uncomfortable experiences involving taxi or Uber drivers, and encouraging Addo to avoid parking the idea. “Sharing my concept online created a community that felt connected to the issue we were trying to solve,” she says. “It also helped inform certain decisions that shaped DriveHER.” By crowdsourcing opinions, Addo was able to address additional concerns spotted by the general public, such as how to make the service available to people who do not identify as a particular gender. That part is still a work in progress: Addo says she’s reached out to LGBTQ groups to figure out ways to make DriveHER a safe space for everyone.