An incomplete list of Canadian tech events, programs, and organizations supporting women’s initiatives

women in VC

Each International Women’s Day, BetaKit seeks to highlight and amplify conversations, resources, and individuals in the Canadian tech ecosystem supporting women’s initiatives.

This year, BetaKit turned its focus towards the numerous events, programs, and organizations seeking to provide that support across the country.

As indicated in the title, this list by its very nature is an incomplete one, and should not be considered definitive. We ask that gaps on this list be taken as an opportunity to add to it, in our efforts to amplify the hard work of those that seek to create a more diverse and equitable ecosystem (not just for one day, but year-round).

Please read, share, and tell us what we’ve missed.

 


 

EVENTS

International Womxn’s Week 2021 – March 1-12

From March 1 to March 12, Invest Ottawa is hosting International Womxn’s Week (IWW) 2021, a 12-day virtual conference that aims to inspire, equip and empower womxn professionally in the Ottawa region and beyond. Events include storytelling, presentations, and workshops.

Benchmark’s International Women’s Conference – March 8

On March 8 at 8:00 am EST, Benchmark Corp. will host a virtual breakfast event that will explore how the COVID-19 pandemic affects emerging female leaders. The event will host a panel discussion featuring a number of female trailblazers, including Sarah Paquet, CEO of FINTRAC, Jillian LeBlanc, senior analyst at the gender and technology Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, and Riya Karumanchi, CEO of SmartCane.

Women Founders: Stories of Resilience – March 8

On March 8 at 1 pm EST, Ryerson University’s DMZ will host its annual International Women’s Day event virtually. This year’s focus will be on the stories of women founders. The event will be moderated by Amoye Henry of Pitch Better, and panellists will include Stephany Lapierre of Tealbook, Shelby Yee of Rockmass Technologies, and Sophie Howe of Xesto.

Women in leadership: achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world – March 8

At 8:30 am EST on March 8, Newfoundland-based innovation hub Genesis is hosting a virtual event featuring Granville Biomedical that aims to highlight the women-led startups’ efforts to shape a more equitable future.


RELATED: Report reveals inequities for women of colour in Canadian C-suite roles that echo tech sector


Skills Ontario International Women’s Day Conference – March 8

On March 8 at 10:30 am EST, Skills Ontario will host a virtual event focused on women working in skilled trades and technologies. The event plans to focus on topics like how tradeswomen combat stigmas and stereotypes surrounding sexism while working in a male-dominated industry, inspiring female entrepreneurs, and how to maintain a work-life balance.

Forging New Frontiers – March 8

Beginning on March 8, Female Foundry, an initiative powered by Dentsu Canada, is hosting a week-long conference for Canadian female entrepreneurs focused on providing them with the tools and resources they need to grow their businesses.

Smashing Barriers – March 8

On March 8 at 4:00 pm, TechAlliance, Women in Communications and Technology, All Women L.E.A.D., Pillar Nonprofit Network and SWO Angels will present a keynote and panel discussion calling women and allies to action. The keynote address will be given by Claudette McGowan, Global Executive Officer of Cyber Experience at TD Canada.

The Untold Stories of Refugee Women’s SUPERPOWERS – March 8

On March 8 at 4:00 pm, non-profit Jumpstart Refugee Talent will host an event targeted to newly settled refugees and refugee claimants residing in Canada. The event will provide participants with the opportunity to share their stories and lived experiences, and ask questions of women leader guest speakers.

HERHalton Women’s Day Social – March 10

On March 10 at 9:30 am, Haltech Regional Innovation Centre is hosting its fourth annual Women’s Day Breakfast. This event’s theme is to celebrate the efforts by women and girls around the world in shaping a more equal future and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. The event will feature networking, a panel discussion, guest speakers, and raffles.

HCL Technologies’ SheInspires Roundtable – March 16

On March 16 at 10:00 am EST, HCL Technologies plans to host a free virtual LinkedIn roundtable event that aims to celebrate the achievements of women in leadership positions and inspire the next generation of women leaders. Participants are set to include Bonnie Crombie, the mayor of Mississauga, and Angela Sim, the senior VP of engineering and technology operations at Bank of Montreal, among others.

 


 

PROGRAMS

Fifth Wave Initiative

Fifth Wave Initiative is a suite of programs and services offered by the Canadian Film Centre that aim to accelerate and sustain the growth of women-owned or led businesses in southern Ontario’s digital media sector.

Women in Tech Peer Group

The Women in Tech Peer Group aims to boost the retention and advancement of women in the technology sector by supporting and encouraging women in the province to pursue careers in tech and seek leadership roles. The group, offered by Newfoundland innovation hub Genesis, provides a forum for women in the tech sector to connect with each other.

Canada-India Accelerator Program

Offered through Carleton University, the Canada-India Accelerator Program helps women-led businesses in Canada scale-up their companies in India.

ELLA

ELLA is an accelerator program through York University focused on supporting women entrepreneurs.


RELATED: Lessons learned attending eight days of tech events for International Women’s Day


WE-CAN

WE-CAN is a project that aims to empower current and aspiring women-identifying entrepreneurs by providing tools, resources, mentorship, and networking opportunities. Led by Queen’s University, the program is supported by the Government of Canada through FedDev Ontario’s Women Entrepreneurship Strategy Ecosystem Fund.

Women in Tech Sales Bootcamp

Offered by TalentMinded, the Women in Tech Sales Bootcamp is a five-day training program that aims to help match women who want to pursue a career in tech sales with organizations looking to tap into a diverse, sales-ready talent pool.

Shine Bootcamp

Shine Bootcamp is an eight-week accelerator designed to support women who want to improve their public speaking skills.

LIFT Circle

LIFT Circle is an initiative of Indigenous LIFT Collective that aims to support Indigenous Women Entrepreneurs in Canada during COVID-19 and beyond.

Compass North

Offered by L-SPARK, Compass North is a five-month program designed for women-led tech companies.

Communitech Fierce Founders Program

Communitech offers a fast-paced business and personal growth program designed for female entrepreneurs who have launched their minimum viable product or are close to doing so. The program recently expanded with Fierce Founders Uplift to support minority female and non-binary founders.


RELATED: The horrifying truth about being a Black woman founder in Canada


Laurier Digital Boost Program

The Digital Boost Program offers branding, social media, and website support to women entrepreneurs. The program is run by the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics’ Women Entrepreneurship Centre.

Volta Boost

Volta Boost is a new, collaborative program between Volta, Black Business Initiative, Ulnooweg, and is supported by RBC and ACOA. The program supports the growth and development of Black and Indigenous entrepreneurs. Preference will be given to applicants identifying as female and/or members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Women Taking over the World with Tech (WTWT)

WTWT is another Volta program that meets monthly. It’s open to women working in all areas of tech or tech adjacent fields, as well as supporters of women in tech. With this program, launched in 2017, the aim is that participants will learn a new skill, network with other women in tech, find mentorship opportunities, and more.

Digital Skills for Women

Digital Skills for Women is a non-profit learning cohort created by CloudKettle for women who do not have experience in the tech/digital/IT industry. This cohort is designed to help participants learn more about industry-related topics, the ecosystem, and career opportunities.

Dr. Roberta Bondar STEM Career Development Program

The Dr. Roberta Bondar STEM Career Development Program helps women, nonbinary people, and gender diverse people working in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) to network with industry leaders and peers to get a behind-the-scenes look at the science and tech industries in Canada.

HERoes program

The HERoes program, launched by Mindbrdige Analytics and the University of Ottawa, provides programs to support the advancement of womxn and youth leaders in STEM.

SheBoot

SheBoot is an Ottawa-based six-week boot camp that prepares founders to pitch their business and secure investment.

TalkShopMedia’s Women in FinTech Grant

The Women in Fintech Grant is $30,000 worth of public relations and communications services that were to be awarded to one deserving woman-founded, early-stage fintech in 2021.

The Propeller Experience

Tellent’s Propeller Experience is a program and community that aims to equip women with the mindset, skillset, and network to succeed.

DMZ Women Founders Fast Track program

DMZ’s three-month Women Founders Fast Track accelerator program helps women-identifying founders of early-stage tech startups.

Fireweed Fellowship

The Fireweed Fellowship calls itself “the first national accelerator program for Indigenous entrepreneurship in Canada.” Its first cohort aims to welcome 15 to 20 Indigenous womxn (cis or trans), non-binary folx, 2 Spirit, IndigiQueer entrepreneurs. It is supported by Raven Indigenous Capital Partners (which recently closed a $25 million venture fund for Indigenous entrepreneurs) and based out of Radius at Simon Fraser University.


RELATED: Ten things worth reading on International Women’s Day


Women Founder’s Project

Offered by Front Row Ventures, the Women Founders Project is an accelerator for women students in Canada who want to take their businesses from ideation to execution. The program recently relaunched after pausing due to COVID-19.

Google for Startups Women Founders Accelerator

Google’s recently launched three-month digital accelerator program from women founders serves high potential seed to Series A-stage tech startups based in the United States and Canada.

Tech Undivided

Offered by VentureLAB, Tech Undivided is a six-month program that helps women-led companies scale their businesses.

U For Change’s Graphic Design and Web Development program

U For Change’s two-month Graphic Design and Web Development program is offered to all womxn aged 16-29 who are interested in learning the fundamentals of web development and the foundations of graphic design.

W Venture

W Venture is a personalized 3-month program for women entrepreneurs in British Columbia.

FoundHers

FoundHers allows women to receive support and guidance on bringing their business ideas to life. The program consists of two intensive 17-week courses. The Boost Course covers five weeks and the Lift Course, reserved for 10 selected participants, will last until mid-July.

Rhyze Project

Led by Innovation Guelph, the Rhyze Project aims to cultivate women entrepreneurs, strengthen their businesses, and move the needle for women-founded businesses. The program provides education, mentorship, and project work as well as leadership skills and networks to get women-identifying entrepreneurs to the next stage of their growth.

 


 

ORGANIZATIONS

StandUp Ventures

StandUp Ventures is a Toronto-based seed-stage venture fund focused on investing in ventures with at least one female founder in a key leadership role.

TechGirls Canada

TechGirls Canada is a not-for-profit organization that conducts research and helps create solutions that address barriers for diversity and equity in science and technology sectors.

YWCA Hamilton

YWCA Hamilton is a women-led organization that offers health and wellness programs for women, families, seniors, and people with special needs. Its Enterprise Centre supports businesses with coaching, business plan training, mentoring, and digital support services.

SheEO Canada

SheEO is a Toronto-based organization supporting women-led businesses in Canada and globally. It brings together women to pool together money, which is loaned with no interest to women-led ventures.

Women and Color

Women and Color is a Toronto-based not-for-profit that connects tech events to subject matter experts who identify as women, people of colour, or both via a searchable database.


RELATED: Women at venture capital firms still vastly underrepresented according to new report


Disruption Ventures

Disruption Ventures is a Toronto-based venture capital firm focused on investing in women-owned and led companies.

SAP Women’s Group

The SAP Women’s Group consists of innovators, coders, and leaders, working to change the future for women working in tech.

The51

The51 is a Calgary-based investment platform that funds innovative early-stage women-led startups based primarily in Canada.

Women in Science and Engineering (WISE)

Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) is a University of Toronto organization that looks to promote the education of women in science and engineering.

Canada Learning Code

Canada Learning Code, formerly Ladies Learning Code, aims to provide digital skills to all Canadians, particularly women-identifying, transgender, non-binary, and racialized individuals.

hEr VOLUTION

hEr VOLUTION is a Toronto-based charitable organization that focuses on young women from underserved communities who are interested in STEM, and connects them with industry leaders for support.

Parkdale Centre for Innovation

The Parkdale Centre for Innovation is a Toronto-based hub for women founders and early-stage startups.

Women’s Enterprise Organization of Canada

Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada is a national network of entrepreneur support organizations that provide resources for women entrepreneurs.


RELATED: Report finds stereotypes associated with entrepreneurs perpetuating gender bias, barriers for women


BDC Capital’s Women in Technology Venture Fund

BDC Capital’s Women in Technology Venture Fund is one of the world’s largest VC funds dedicated to investing in women-led tech companies.

Forum for Women Entrepreneurs

FWE educates, mentors and connects women entrepreneurs to be wildly successful, promoting strong economies and thriving communities.

Scale Without Borders

Scale Without Borders is a social venture that aims to support newcomers in tech & entrepreneurship. Through its programs and community, Scale Without Borders aims to help newcomers grow their businesses or break into and thrive in tech.

Sandpiper Ventures

Launched in May 2020, Sandpiper Ventures invests in early-stage women tech entrepreneurs. Sandpiper is the first fund of the Atlantic Women’s Venture Fund. Although the venture capital firm focuses mainly on women-led initiatives, it also supports other projects that drive growth and innovation in Atlantic Canada.


RELATED: 80 women and non-binary people in Canadian tech worth following


theBoardlist

theBoardlist is an online talent marketplace that connects CEOs searching for board director candidates with highly qualified women and men of colour.

Tech Spark

Tech Spark is a tech and design school that serves children of colour, girls, women, and teachers.

The Canadian Women’s Network

The Canadian Women’s Network connects Canadian female founders with women leaders globally. It delivers educational programs to women leading high-growth businesses under $5 million who want to access Silicon Valley’s connections, expertise, and capital.

Women in Tech World

Women in Tech World is a Vancouver-based grassroots, volunteer-run organization dedicated to supporting women in tech that delivers educational programming.

Athena Pathways

Athena Pathways aims to help more Canadian women participate in the artificial intelligence sector through education. The organization ultimately looks to fill job vacancies at Canadian tech companies and allow these companies to become more competitive while addressing the gender gap in AI.

Aware of an event, program, or organization committed to women’s initiatives not on this list? Post it in the comment section below.

Feature image courtesy Flicker.