Meet the 31 Women-Led Startups Selected Into W Venture

W Venture, created by Accelerate Okanagan, University of Victoria and VIATEC alongside the Digital Technology Supercluster starts it’s three month program today to advance entrepreneurial women in British Columbia.

For Immediate Release: September 9, 2020 (Victoria and Kelowna, BC) - With its inception only a few months ago, W Venture has elicited an immense response, attracting women entrepreneurs from across the province who are ready to accelerate their businesses. Thirty-one startups have been selected from varied industries, including wellness, cleantech, e-commerce, biotech, and enterprise software. 

Among the participating ventures, there is a diverse selection of founder ages, backgrounds, business experience and company size, creating fertile soil for connections and opportunities to flourish. Each will gain the necessary skills to confidently address their unique business challenges through personalized, hands-on support from curated mentors and subject-matter experts. 

“We’re really impressed with the caliber of applicants we received here in BC,” says Program Manager Shelley Voyer. “The quality of these ventures demonstrates the massive potential there is for women in the tech sector and we’re proud to support the BC tech community by working with these companies.” 

In collaboration, Accelerate Okanagan, University of Victoria, VIATEC, and their partners are leveraging their combined expertise to provide training while helping participants connect with a community of peers from across the province. 

“With the launch of W Venture, we are clearly building leadership capacity throughout the province which is one of our core mandates for the Supercluster. The response from women founders has been fantastic,” says Sue Paish, CEO, Digital Technology Supercluster. “After surpassing our target of twenty-four qualified applicants we increased program capacity to thirty-one, which could still not meet the demand. There’s clearly an appetite in innovative industries for business training expertise.”

Currently women founders in the Victoria tech industry are the small minority at only 10% and less than 39% of the tech workforce in the Okanagan are women. Programs like W Venture are committed to expanding opportunities in this ever-changing landscape of industries, in which women continue to remain underrepresented. 

 

Selected ventures include:

 

Abella Fashion Inc., Penticton

Axolotl Biosciences, Victoria

Bin Breeze, Vancouver

Covault Technologies, Victoria

Daily Ritual, Victoria 

Dementia Connection, Victoria

EstateBox, Kelowna

Flathaus Solutions, Victoria

Fictionary, Victoria

GreenStep Solutions Inc., Kelowna

Hibou, Victoria

Inqli Inc., Victoria

Joyster, Vancouver Island

Kilo Lima Code Inc., West Kelowna

Kooshoo, Victoria

Live It, Nelson

Mammoth & Co., Victoria

MeepMeep, Victoria

Nyoka Design Labs, Victoria

Optimind Clinic Inc, Victoria

Origen Air/Origen Clean, Victoria

Paintillio, Victoria

RecStaff, Victoria

Simplified Social, Kelowna

Solar-Ventures; Victoria

Spotlight Solutions, Vancouver 

Sustainable Life App, Kelowna

Tantalus Medical Communications Ltd., Lake Country 

The Digital Gal, Victoria

Unboxals Creative Ltd., Kelowna

Voxcell BioInnovation, Victoria

 

For more information about W Venture, please visit www.wventure.ca

 

For media inquiries, please contact: 

Paula Parker

Community Manager 

VIATEC

604.440.2686

pparker@viatec.ca 

 

For Supercluster-related media inquiries, please contact:

Kathleen Reid at kreid@switchboardpr.com or 604-724-1242.

 

ABOUT THE PARTNERS

 

Accelerate Okanagan (AO) is a not-for-profit organization that gives entrepreneurs the mentorship, connections, and community they need to build technology driven ventures.  At Accelerate Okanagan we work with everyone from students to well established companies. Aspiring entrepreneurs, startups, job seekers, career-changers, companies looking to expand and grow, and companies with proven track records come to Accelerate Okanagan to learn and foster their success. Our programs are designed to meet the ever-changing needs of our community. To find out more, visit: www.accelerateokanagan.com or www.okgntech.com

 

The University of Victoria (UVic) is one of Canada’s leading research-intensive universities, offering life-changing, hands-on learning experiences to more than 21,000 students on the edge of the spectacular BC coast. As a hub of transformational research, UVic faculty, staff and students make a critical difference on issues that matter to people, places and the planet. UVic consistently publishes a higher proportion of research based on international collaborations than any other university in North America, and our community and organizational partnerships play a key role in generating vital impact, from scientific and business breakthroughs to achievements in culture and creativity. Find out more at uvic.ca. Territory acknowledgement

 

Victoria Innovation, Advanced Technology and Entrepreneurship Council (VIATEC) VIATEC’s mission is to cultivate the most cohesive tech community in the world by providing resources to tackle shared opportunities and challenges while boosting a sense of belonging and shaping the Greater Victoria region. VIATEC works closely with its members to offer a variety of events, programs and services. In addition, VIATEC serves as the front door of the local tech sector and as its spokesperson. To better support local innovators, VIATEC acquired their own building (Fort Tectoria) where they offer flexible and affordable office space to emerging local companies along with a gathering/event space for local entrepreneurs. For more information please visit www.viatec.ca

 

Purpose Five (P5) worked in partnership with the B.C. Government and Ernst & Young to build gender-inclusive software, inCONNECT, when it was selected as one of only two women-owned companies in the first cohort of the Startup in Residence Program in British Columbia.  While building websites and digital marketing for purpose-driven organizations, P5 developed the Women Leaders in BC Tech BLAST Program and the Women in Tech Mastermind Intensive, FLIP THE SWITCH to support B.C. Women in Tech Leaders, in partnership with The Discovery Foundation, VIATEC and other generous sponsors. Now doing business as Mint C.R.O., it delivers an Engineering Approach to Marketing in an 8-week training program called Conversion Experts: Business Growth Backed By Science.™ In the last 18 months they have co-invested tens of thousands of dollars towards women-owned companies and entrepreneurs by teaching them how to accelerate their market validation, revenue growth, increase Return on Ad Spend, and reduce Customer Acquisition Costs. To find out more, please visit: http://purposefive.com/mint-cro 

 

The Digital Technology Supercluster solves some of industry’s and society’s biggest problems through Canadian-made technologies. We bring together private and public sector organizations of all sizes to address challenges facing Canada’s economic sectors including healthcare, natural resources, manufacturing, and transportation. Through this ‘collaborative innovation,’ the Supercluster helps to drive solutions better than any single organization could on its own.  The Digital Technology Supercluster is led by industry leaders such as D-Wave, Finger Food  Advanced Technology Group, LifeLabs, LlamaZOO, Lululemon, MDA, Microsoft, Mosaic Forest Management, Sanctuary AI, Teck Resources Limited, TELUS, Terramera, and 1Qbit. Together, we work to position Canada as a global hub for digital innovation. A full list of Members can be found here.

 

QUICK FACTS 

  • $474,000 has invested by the Digital Technology Supercluster
  • $632,000 has been invested in to the total project
  • 10% of Victoria’s tech companies have women founders
  • 39% of the tech workforce in the Okanagan are women

 

QUOTES

 

“The strength of our community lies in our ability to collaborate and our willingness to stay curious & think differently. If we want to solve the complex problems our communities are facing, we will need innovative solutions. W Venture aims to support those entrepreneurial women who are doing just that.”

Brea Lake, CEO, Accelerate Okanagan

 

"Supporting entrepreneurial women is a critical pathway to a thriving innovation economy, and it starts right here at the University level with our students, alumni and faculty. Our on-campus venture incubator is a hub that builds capacity and long-lasting networks, and we are proud to help women entrepreneurs accelerate their ideas into successful ventures.”

Jerome Etwaroo, Associate Director, Coast Capital Savings Innovation Centre 

 

“It’s important that any program feels welcoming and supportive to entrepreneurs considering participating. It’s also vital that the participants feel a sense of belonging and identify with others in the program through shared perspectives. Most accelerator programs were developed by men and we’ve learned that those programs aren’t always the right fit for women entrepreneurs. We’re proud that we have been able to bring together this group of experienced partners with the funding needed to empower some of the trailblazing women in our communities to build a program that will better serve and support current and future women founders in tech.” 

Dan Gunn, CEO, VIATEC