Scotiabank Women Initiative

Scotiabank Women Initiative. Originally published in WBE Canada Magazine; Issue 12. Read our full magazine HERE.

“BE BOLD, BE BRAVE AND BE YOU,” VIRTUAL GURUS FOUNDER URGES WOMEN TO BELIEVE THEY CAN DO IT.

When Calgary’s Bobbie Racette says that “resilience and passion” are essential for women entrepreneurs, you can believe her.
The founder and CEO of Calgary’s Virtual Gurus faced numerous rejections from the male-dominated VC sector when she tried to fund her HR tech firm. As an LGBTQ+, Cree Metis woman, Racette was passionate about building an inclusive virtual talent marketplace for everyone.

“I was turned down 170 times by investors and told that my business was not ‘scalable’ even though I had so many clients coming to my site. I turned those criticisms around to put ‘fuel on my fire,’’ Racette says.

As the first Indigenous woman in Canada to close Series A VC funding, Racette advises women to “be bold, be brave, and be yourself.”

FROM LAID-OFF TO LIFTING UP OTHERS

At the helm of a company classified as one of Canada’s top-growing 100 companies in 2023, Racette admits she never anticipated such success. The Virtual Gurus model came to her as she was cobbling together an income as a virtual assistant herself.

“I realized that I could build this into a massive platform and give meaningful work-from-home opportunities to others like me,” recollects Racette.
With that inspiration, Racette drafted the Virtual Gurus business model, by which the company finds and trains skilled ‘Virtual Assistants’ within Canada and the U.S. and, with its proprietary AI software – combined with efforts of the Virtual Gurus team – matches them with client companies.

Likewise, the VG On Demand app allows people to send one-off type tasks, as opposed to dedicated assistants.

HELPING BUSINESSES SCALE

Initially focusing on executive assistants and general admin, Virtual Gurus expanded its services due to high demand from organizations. The company caters to various support needs, including bookkeeping, marketing admin, social media support, HR admin and more, allowing leaders to delegate tasks and focus on growth. The company is trusted by big names including IDEO, Mastercard, and The Scotiabank Women Initiative.

FIND BELIEVERS WHO REALLY SEE YOU

Racette credits Roynat Capital, a wholly owned subsidiary of Scotiabank that provides creative financial solutions to mid market companies, for aiding Virtual Gurus in meeting its 2022 funding targets. Roynat’s support was chosen over other financial institutions due to their market expertise, embrace of diversity and alignment with the company’s vision. Currently, Roynat and Scotiabank offer bespoke lending and business banking support through a dedicated Technology & Innovation Banking group.

Beyond financial support, Virtual Gurus is excited to join forces with The Scotiabank Women Initiative, a flagship program aimed at enhancing economic and professional opportunities for women and non-binary individuals. As part of this partnership, Virtual Gurus is proud to extend an exclusive discount on its services to participants of the program, fostering a commitment to empowerment and diversity within the entrepreneurial landscape.

Visit https://thevirtualgurus.com/swi-smb to learn more about Virtual Gurus’ partnership with The Scotiabank Women Initiative.