Accelerate Okanagan, University of Victoria and VIATEC have joined forces alongside the Digital Technology Supercluster to advance innovative entrepreneurial women in British Columbia.
June 29, 2020 (Victoria and Kelowna, BC) - W Venture is a three-month pilot program for women in Victoria and the Okanagan who are ready to accelerate their business. Participants will gain the necessary skills to confidently address their unique business challenges, giving these women-led companies the greatest chance of success. This is done through personalized, hands-on support from curated mentors and subject-matter experts while connecting with a community of peers from across the province.
“We set out to co-create something that was truly collaborative and supported the unique needs of female entrepreneurs,” says Program Manager Shelley Voyer. “Women from across the province told us they wanted a program that is actionable and accountable while focusing on her unique journey. W Venture delivers on this promise. I hope any woman who is bold enough to build her own tech-enabled company applies.”
Leveraging the seasoned expertise of Accelerate Okanagan, University of Victoria, VIATEC, and their partners, training is set to create a meaningful impact on the community of entrepreneurial women. In addition, Waterloo’s Communitech and Kelowna’s PurposeFive have also lent their expertise in the designing of the program’s curriculum. Through this diverse collaboration, W Venture aims to provide a focused and engaging experience for women in the entrepreneurial community.
"The Digital Technology Supercluster is committed to inspiring community-wide growth and innovation, and it is paramount that the systematic challenges that women face are met with practical strategies and exceptional support," says Sue Paish, CEO, Digital Technology Supercluster. "W Venture is one of several projects in our Capacity Building Program that seeks to close the gap and help women entrepreneurs succeed and our communities to thrive. Women-led businesses are a vital force for a vibrant economy."
Only 10% of Victoria’s tech companies have a female founder, and less than 39% of the tech workforce in the Okanagan is female. While the rapidly expanding technology sector is creating new opportunities in an ever-changing landscape of industries, women continue to remain underrepresented.
The program will be delivered remotely due to COVID-19. This allows women entrepreneurs from across British Columbia to access the program.
Applications are open now until July 31st, with the program kicking off in early September.
For more information about W Venture and to apply, please visit www.wventure.ca.
For media inquiries, please contact:
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.
- $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 a female founder
- 39% of the tech workforce in the Okanagan is female
“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