Empowering female entrepreneurs through coast-to-coast funding & support programs

Startup Canada Women Entrepreneurs

This week, in celebration of International Women’s Day, entrepreneurs, non-profit organizations, politicians and private sector companies are partnering to empower women.

Through the Startup Canada Women Entrepreneurship Fund, presented by DELL Canada and Startup Canada, these groups have come together to make long-term impact for women entrepreneurs throughout the year. The fund invests in high-impact projects that encourage and support the development of women entrepreneurs and women-led companies in Canada.

Wear Your LabelOWN IT! by MarketStart, is using their grant to support ‘Startup Business Boot Camps’, geared towards teaching female entrepreneurs how to create scalable, repeatable business models. According to the program’s facilitator, Toronto-based Michelle Lochan, “using the lean canvas tool for business planning, entrepreneurs will validate an idea whether for a new business or an idea for an existing one, more efficiently through a customer feedback loop. Having open communication with a target market allows businesses to build a desirable offering and maintain ongoing dialogue with customers through the right communication channels.”

Another Toronto initiative, Minority Women in Business Inc., organizes Business-Behind-the-Scenes, an intimate three-month workshop series that provides consistent networking and mentorship opportunities. Pamela Ogang, the women behind the series explains, “every two weeks, groups of 10 to 15 female entrepreneurs learn about various elements of business, including financing, marketing, import/export, directly from an experienced business owner, in their place of business.”

The LinkWise mentorship program in Halifax, links female student entrepreneurs to women business owners through the support of Startup Canada’s fund. The program encourages relationship building, role model learning and effective goal seeking strategy to help grow student startups. The program is led by the Sobey Business Development Centre, which helps engage post-secondary students and provides online mentorship support.

Be The Change has used their awarded funds to bring together what they call ‘everyday superheroes’ to share their stories at the Be The Change International Women’s Day Event happening in Prince George on March 12, 2016. Event organizer Shauna Harper says the day “includes a panel of women entrepreneurs featuring five different themes including; switching from corporate track to entrepreneurship, women entrepreneur partnerships, building an online community, retail entrepreneurship with social cause, and risk taking and thinking outside of box once you have a family.”

For more programs and events supporting female entrepreneurs, visit www.startupcan.ca/women.

Victoria Lennox

Victoria Lennox

Victoria Lennox is the co-founder and CEO of Startup Canada, global social entrepreneur and is one of the nations’s leading proponents and catalysts of entrepreneurship.