Fostering inclusion and cultural understanding helped propel Signifi Solutions as a leader in global innovation
Signifi Solutions Inc. won the Supplier of the Year Award at CAMSC’s 17th annual Business Achievement Awards Gala in October. Accepting the award was CEO Shamira Jaffer. “The acknowledgement is amazing because of how purposefully we have developed our Supplier Diversity program, “she says.
Signifi develops and installs innovative software solutions for international businesses, like touch-screen automated retail sales machines and BOPIS (Buy Online Pick Up In-Store) solutions. In the wake of COVID-19, Signifi’s self-serve technology powered with their enterprise software platform became wildly popular—tripling the size of the company.
“In the beginning of the pandemic I was worried. wondering, if people will want to touch a touchscreen?” Jaffer shares. “But with COVID, we saw more growth than ever before because people preferred to use touchscreen technology rather than being in front of another human being.” In the coming years, Signifi expects their team to double as the demand for self-serve vending kiosks continues to grow domestically and globally as a result of the pandemic.
Throughout this expansion, Jaffer has worked to build up a diverse team of employees, and supplier and vendor partners. “We are very conscious in the way we plan our purchasing,” Jaffer says. “We actively look for partners we can have a relationship and grow with.” While Signifi does try and source most of their business from within Canada, they understand that different cultures and countries can do certain things better. “If you’ve got a global client base, you should want global minds from different cultures within your organization to communicate more effectively,” she adds, explaining that it maximizes opportunities and creates stronger partnerships.
On top of reaping the benefits of a broadened collective skillset, Signifi credits their competitive edge to having an innovation-based mindset and being a full-service operation that includes everything from engineering and software development, to manufacturing and global deployment capabilities. Being a CAMSC Certified Diverse Supplier is a bonus. Jaffer notes that during requests for proposals, being able to say that Signifi is CAMSC-Certified reflects well on their company and attracts clients. Often, clients will directly inquire about their internal diversity, and it’s valuable to have concrete proof showing exactly what Signifi is doing to diversify their organization. “We provide internal coaching for our employees to understand the importance of diversity and international business cultures. It gives us an added advantage.”
Jaffer’s real-life experience and understanding of cultural diversity has helped direct her efforts in creating an inclusive environment, empowering diverse employees to succeed, and building meaningful connections with diverse clients.
Born in Africa to East Indian parents, growing up in Canada, and living throughout Europe, Jaffer is familiar with many cultural nuances and communication differences that can act as barriers in international business. She credits her father’s influence in instilling a resourcefulness, entrepreneurial spirit, and awareness of cultural differences. His thirst for new undertakings and eagerness to find new markets instilled a business ethic in Jaffer that helped her get to where she is today—championing innovation in technology, bringing diverse talent together, and helping them succeed.
In 2020, at CAMSC’s 16th annual Business Achievement Awards Gala, Signifi won the Technology and Innovation award, which Jaffer says is particularly exciting because technology and innovation are the heart of what they do—and their excellence in innovation is intrinsically tied to their diversity program. Jaffer says it’s incredibly gratifying for Signifi to also be recognized for their efforts in building an inclusive and diverse organization, because the impact is so important. As more organizations adopt these beliefs and values, it’s a bonus to be recognized as a leader in diversity as well as innovation.
With the growth Signifi has seen in the past year, Jaffer is confident that their efforts to continually innovate and diversify will propel the company to keep expanding, with a projected growth target of 40% next year. Their success story stands as an excellent example for suppliers and corporations to follow, and we’re delighted to shine the spotlight on their fantastic work as a CAMSC Certified Supplier and winner of the 2021 Supplier of the Year Award.