Spring Activator launches Women-led Impact Investor Challenge with Telus Pollinator Fund

female founder
The previous edition of the fund focused on healthcare, naming UVX Inc. as the winner.

Vancouver-based incubator and accelerator Spring Activator has expanded its partnership with the Telus Pollinator Fund to launch a special edition of its Impact Investor Challenge (IIC) dedicated to supporting women founders.

Applications from accredited investors will be accepted until September 16. Women entrepreneurs can apply for the Women-led IIC until September 1.

Launched in 2020, the Telus Pollinator Fund for Good is a $100 million social impact fund that invests in companies and founders addressing challenges in health, education, agriculture, and the environment.

Called the Women-led IIC, the challenge is set to run from September 15 to December 6 and seeks to facilitate connections between those looking for purpose-based investments with women founders.

Like the original IIC, the Women-led IIC will provide an approximately $100,000 investment to help fund impact entrepreneurs.

Emphasis will be placed on measurable, beneficial impacts in climate, sustainable food systems, and inclusive communities, alongside a financial return for investors, while focusing on early-stage women-led startups across Canada.

According to Spring Activator, the Women-led IIC was created because women founders in Canada are still “vastly underestimated.” In Canada, women entrepreneurs receive four percent of venture capital funding as of last year. Women are also underrepresented among equity investors, representing 15.2 percent of Canadian VC partners and 16.7 percent of Canadian angel investors.

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“[Women] face stronger biases than their male counterparts when raising funds and as a result, they lack the capital to grow their companies and increase the reach of their impact,” said Spring Activator. “The Women-led IIC aims to fix this.”

Applications from accredited investors will be accepted until September 16. Women entrepreneurs can apply for the Women-led IIC until September 1.

Spring Activator launched the IIC in 2019 with the promise to invest $100,000 in 10 new impact investors.

To date, Spring Activator claims that over $970,000 has been awarded in impact investments to the winners of its challenges. The organization highlighted that it has trained more than 130 impact investors since 2019, with companies raising over $10 million.

Founded in 2014, Spring Activator said that it has helped more than 2,000 entrepreneurs launch, grow, and raise money through more than 500 businesses. Its core programs include the Immigrant Startup Visa Program Accelerator, Food Incubator, Food Accelerator, as well as fundraising support.

In Vancouver, Spring Activator claims that it has helped impact startups raise more than $33 million in funding to date.

Through Spring Activator’s global advisory ecosystem building services, Spring Activator noted that it has helped more than 100 different incubators, accelerators, foundations, and governments on five continents to maximize impact both in their local communities and beyond.

Sprint Activator’s clients include organizations such as the City of Campbell River, Vancouver Economic Commission, SwissContact, and Frontier Incubators.

Spring Activator partnered with the Telus Pollinator Fund for Good for its 2022 Investor Challenge in November last year, which was focused on healthcare solutions. UVX Inc., which specializes in disinfecting occupied spaces more effectively, was selected as the winner and received $165,000 in prize money.

Featured image from Christina @ wocintechchat.com via Unsplash.

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz

Charlize Alcaraz is a journalism student at Ryerson University and a staff writer for BetaKit. Follow her on Twitter @charlizealcaraz

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