Movement51, CIWA secure $861,980 from PrairiesCan to support women entrepreneurs, investors

Two women in a sky high building working on their laptops
The funding is expected to help increase women-owned and led businesses in the Prairies.

Prairies Economic Development Canada (PrairiesCan) has announced a cumulative $861,980 investment into two Calgary-based organizations to help support women entrepreneurs and investors across the Prairies.

Movement51 (M51), part of The51, is receiving $486,350, and the Calgary Immigrant Women’s Association (CIWA) has received $375,630.

According to PrairiesCan, its contributions to the two organizations are expected to assist more than 600 women entrepreneurs and investors in “advancing growth and innovation” in Alberta and beyond.

“Supporting immigrant women to become business owners enables them to be … a driving force of Alberta’s economy.”

M51 will be using the federal investment to deliver financial literacy workshops and coaching to women investors through the nonprofit’s Financial Feminism Investing Lab’s Investor Edition (The Lab). The funding will support programming for 560 people, and be allocated towards course development, expansion, as well as exploration of new opportunities to bring more gender-diverse participants to the program.

The51 Ventures created M51 last year to drive change in the areas of financial acumen, financial education, entrepreneurship, and investing through an inclusive lens. M51’s initiatives include leveraging partnerships to provide opportunities for woman-identifying and gender-diverse people to acquire tools, practice skills, and build their financial confidence. The Lab’s programming focuses on early-stage investing through a feminist lens, while building a community and network.

In partnership with the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business, the Lab was initially piloted in early 2021 and has since run three cohorts for participants from across Canada, with its fourth cohort set to conclude this week. The waitlist for upcoming offerings of The Lab is currently open for 2023 cohorts.

M51’s parent organization, The51, is an investing firm dedicated to women and gender-diverse entrepreneurs and investors. The51’s first fund focused on individual limited partners, investing in a number of women-run businesses from a range of verticals.

With its second fund dedicated to food and AgTech innovations, The51 is expanding its scope by bringing in institutional investors and investing in not only women, but a diverse set of founders that tend to be “under-funded.”

To date, The51 claims that it has deployed $17 million in capital across 38 ventures.

RELATED: The51 appoints former AltaML, CDL manager Danielle Gifford as director for Movement51

CIWA’s investment from PrairiesCan will be used to launch Immigrant Women’s Business Circles, the organization’s new business incubator for immigrant women based in Alberta. According to CIWA, the funding will help train over 60 participants while assisting the growth of more than 20 small businesses.

Established in 1982, CIWA’s mandate is to recognize and respond to the unique needs of immigrant and refugee women, girls, and their families. CIWA offers over 50 programs and services that aim to support clients in the areas of settlement and integration, literacy and language training, employment support, civic engagement, health, housing, and community development, among others.

Paul Calderon, CEO of CIWA, said that the organization decided to create Immigrant Women’s Business Circles in response to the need to support entrepreneurship for mid-skilled immigrant women in Alberta.

“Supporting immigrant women to become business owners enables them to be part of a vibrant ecosystem and a driving force of Alberta’s economy,” Calderon added.

Featured image courtesy WOCInTech.

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz is a staff writer for BetaKit.

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