Ingredients for Success: Women Small Business Owners and What They Have in Common with Women in Payments

Jan 27, 2023 | Articles

Canada’s economy and workforce can largely be attributed to the collective power of small businesses, making up 98 per cent of all Canadian businesses.[1] Often stretched for resources, small business owners need our support, particularly women small businesses owners where research shows that 58 per cent of Canadian women who start their own business make less than their male counterparts.[2]

Women small business owners are uniquely inspiring because they carry a strong mix of strength and determination with kindness and empathy – at Mastercard, we call it their “Secret Sauce.” We recently launched a campaign that profiles some of these women and shares how Mastercard supports them to address daily challenges.

This prompted me to reflect on how we support one another in the payments industry and the many parallels between entrepreneurship and career development. Here are some special “ingredients” for how we as women can support each other to achieve success.

1. Build and nurture your network


Through Mastercard’s networking groups, I’ve established relationships with women outside my team and even outside of Canada, who I can go to when I need advice or inspiration.

It’s worth while to make connections with people outside of your company too. Having a reliable and supportive group of women who share the same passion for pushing the industry forward as I do is so meaningful to me. That’s why I’m proud to be a part of the Women in Payments community.

For small business owners, having a network is also of critical importance. If you’re a solo entrepreneur, like most women small business owners are, it can be incredibly helpful to have a group of like-minded people in your corner who have varying expertise for support.


2. Continue your mentorship journey


As you progress into management roles and take on more mentees yourself, it’s important to continue your own learning and development. With new and greater responsibility, having a mentor can be essential to sustaining your confidence and success.

When it comes to mentoring, it’s a mutual learning opportunity. There’s so much to gain from spending time with someone who has a newer perspective on what it’s like to be in the industry. Your experiences and knowledge can be helpful to them too, as they learn about themselves and what areas of work they want to pursue.

The same applies to small business owners. When women share experiences and perspectives with each other, both the mentor and mentee gain from it. Those who opened a business during the pandemic are addressing a different set of demands than those that have a much more established business. But the mentors, or the ones often with more years of experience, can still help guide mentees through early stages of growth and development and learn from the mentees on new areas to explore.


3. Elevate the people around you


When I think about my impact at work, it’s not just about my individual contribution. I’m lucky enough to work with great colleagues that love to collaborate and develop impactful solutions.

As a leader and someone who has been in the payments industry for some time now, I ensure my team members have opportunities to grow. This can be as simple as suggesting someone volunteer to speak at an event or take the lead on a new project to help them build their skills, confidence and expand upon their knowledge and expertise.

Recognizing that when one of us shines, we all do is something that those of us in payments have in common with women small business owners. Sharing success beyond ourselves can be really rewarding.

Women small business owners and women in our industry have many ingredients in common but we all bring our own flavour. This makes us unique and gives us an opportunity to champion each other and bring our “Secret Sauce” to the table.

[1] Statistics Canada. (2021). Table 33-10-0304-01 Canadian Business Counts, with employees, December 2020 [Data table].

[2] 17+ Inspiring Small Business Statistics for Canada in 2021 (


Aviva Klein

Aviva Klein

oversees the commercialization and scale of Mastercard assets for Canadians and businesses transitioning to digital payments. She also leads Mastercard’s cybersecurity product strategy.