It requires collaboration, leverage, dedicated resources, long term effort and focus to... see more
Author: Dan Gunn - CEO, VIATEC
What do I Mean by Return on Community?
I bring up Return on Community whenever I'm asked why companies join VIATEC. As a private-public innovation hub that supports a community of 955 tech companies from startups to scale-ups, our success is determined by how much they understand and support us. Not all of them are members (yet) but, the ones that are understand that they have a shared interest with the entire tech community and it requires collaboration, leverage, dedicated resources, long term effort and focus to effectively address those interests.
Let me give you a recent example. What I'm about to share would not have been possible if VIATEC, thanks to decades of membership support, was not ready and willing to move quickly.
We just submitted a comprehensive funding proposal to the Federal Government for the Women's Entrepreneurship Strategy's Ecosystem Fund. A five-year program developed to strengthen capacity of organizations supporting women entrepreneurs by ensuring they have the business supports they need to start or grow a business.
On October 26, at 8:25am we were notified about this program. I was in Kitchener at Communitech's Hub observing a cohort in their Strong Leaders Program. I was there to compare our current leadership programming, find new ideas and learn from other approaches. We're big believers in sharing our playbooks and learning from other organizations by visiting them....I'll save that for another article.
Anyway, by 8:48am, that same morning (5:48am PST) I had forwarded the details of the program to our COO, Rob Bennett, and asked that we get started right away on a submission.
VIATEC is focused on developing new projects, programs and partnerships aimed at supporting existing and future women leaders in our community’s tech sector. Currently, 34% of the companies in our accelerator program have a woman founder giving us a head start on most communities. The national average for women CEOs in tech companies is usually estimated at 5%, with only 1% of our top TSX companies having a woman CEO. It’s great to be above average but we intend to continue to support building on this advantage as a strategic priority. This also will get an article of its own soon.
Given our current strategic priorities, we had to take a run at this. The deadline for proposals was November 22. Less than four weeks away. That is a very short amount of time to develop the kind of quality partnerships, program details and budgets that we pride ourselves on. To us, it was worth setting aside other key initiatives and focusing our efforts on putting together a submission that, if approved, will help support and, in turn, increase the number of women founders and leaders in our community.
In the end, we submitted a doozy of a proposal. We're proud of it. It includes partners from Accelerate Okanagan (also our forming partners in creating BC's Venture Acceleration Program with Innovate BC), UVic, UBC and the Alacrity Foundation. We benefitted greatly from Erin Athene's ongoing work (Ladies Learning Code, Flip the Switch event and the BLAST Program), consultation from Communitech's Fierce Founders program and our Board Chair, Bobbi Leach, even took time out of her busy schedule at RevenueWire to review and edit our submission.
That is a big tent! Thankfully, our members have been supporting our organization for decades. That support means that we have a team of experienced program creators, proposal writers and partnership managers along with connections throughout our community, province and country.
It's in the hands of the decision makers now and it is tough to gauge our chances. What I know is that, thanks to our community and member's support, we were able to put this together and without that history of them understanding the value of Return on Community and supporting us we wouldn't have had a chance.
When it comes to a paid membership, the tip of the iceberg is the obvious "what's in it for me" R.O.I. stuff. Things like program access, company profile, member to members deals and discounts on training, job postings, workshops, space and events. While it is tangible and obvious, that alone is not enough and not nearly as valuable as the rest of that iceberg.
The rest of the Iceberg is where the real impact is. It is the convergence of resources, relationships, reputation, social capital, financial leverage, expertise, accountability, long-term thinking, shared interests, community mindedness, capacity, curation and knowledge harnessed by an honest broker dedicated to finding and addressing the great consequential denominators among its members. That concentration of influence is the difference between the impact and potential of an iceberg versus an ice cube.
Launching careers and strengthening businesses see more
Her request for funding to scale up Victoria-based DeeBee’s Organics was “quashed without question.” see more
Source: Times Colonist / Canadian Press
Author: Armina Ligaya
Women seeking business loans face bigger barriers, study says
When Victoria’s Dionne Laslo-Baker sought a bank loan to expand her burgeoning organic popsicle and freezies business in 2014, she was shocked by the patronizing feedback she says she received from a male banker.
“One of them said not only that they couldn’t fund us, but, why am I bothering to do this?” she said. “I have a very successful husband, who makes a very good salary. ... Why are you kind of disrupting the peace?”’
She felt defeated.
Her request for funding to scale up Victoria-based DeeBee’s Organics was “quashed without question.” It was one of the first times she realized that women entrepreneurs face bigger barriers than their male counterparts.
And a lack of access to capital is one of the biggest challenges for women entrepreneurs, a new study suggests.
The wage gap between men and women has been long-standing — with women on average making 74 cents for every dollar of annual salary made by men, according to the most recent Statistics Canada data — but research by PayPal Canada and consulting firm Barraza and Associates suggests that this dynamic also applies to those who own small and medium-sized businesses as well.
Businesses owned by women generate an average of $68,000 less revenue than men who run similar businesses, representing a gap of 58 per cent, according to the online survey of 1,000 Canadian small and medium-sized businesses between Jan. 26 and Feb. 28.
The findings suggest that the median annual revenue for businesses owned by men across six different categories of firms ranging from manufacturing to services was $118,000, but $50,000 for those owned by women. Online surveys cannot be assigned a margin of error because they do not randomly sample the population.
The gender revenue gap is slightly smaller for businesses operating online, at $55,000 or 44 per cent, compared to offline businesses that had a gap of $71,000 or 64 per cent, according to the survey.
One barrier to growth for women-owned businesses is access to capital, the survey suggested. Roughly 53 per cent of women-owned businesses with an e-commerce component said it was “easy” for their company to get business credit to grow their business, falling short of the 67 per cent of men who reported getting loans with ease, the survey found.
Becky Reuber, professor of strategic management at the Rotman Business School at the University of Toronto, cautions it’s difficult to compare businesses based on the gender of the owner, as there is some research that suggests that women tend to start businesses in sectors that have lower-growth rates, such as service-based businesses. For example, there are fewer women engineers and in turn fewer with the background to start high-tech businesses, which often see higher growth, she added.
Still, when you compare the performance of similar businesses owned by men and women, recent studies have shown that there is no difference, said Reuber.
That being said, there is a difference when it comes to seeking capital from investors, she said.
“There is evidence that some stereotypes play up in that. And women may have more difficulty getting high value investment,” she said. That is also what Laslo-Baker found. When she wanted to raise more funds in 2014 for DeeBee’s and met with some food industry players, one of which told her they would consider investing if she got a “man in here who could be the CEO and run this company.”
“I thought, ‘What? A man in here? I’ve already taken this product to Canada and parts of the United States. Is that nothing?’ ” Laslo-Baker said.
Despite these challenges, DeeBee’s has continued to expand. Its frozen treats are sold at major grocery chains such as Metro and Sobeys, and in every Canadian province and 20 states in the U.S. including California and New York.
The company has a commercial loan from Bank of Montreal, backed by Export Development Canada, and at DeeBee’s last capital raise, which closed in June 2018, the company’s valuation was $16 million, she said.
She believes attitudes are slowly changing, with more people expressing that her background as a mother and female entrepreneur is an asset not a drawback, she said. “As more women succeed, it’s going to pave the way.”
The federal government has made gender equality and increased workforce participation by women a priority. Among initiatives aimed at this goal in its latest budget, Ottawa has allocated $1.4 billion over three years from the Business Development Bank in new financing for female entrepreneurs and $105 million over five years to help the regional development agencies support women-led businesses.
Between $1,000 and $5,000 grants to help women entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses see more
Author: Amira Zubairi
Startup Canada and Evolocity Offering up to $5,000 Grants to Women-Led Businesses
Startup Canada, in partnership with Evolocity Financial Group, announced that it is offering micro-grants to women entrepreneurs and women-led companies in Canada through the Startup Canada Women Founders Fund.
The fund, which launched in August 2016, will provide between $1,000 and $5,000 grants to help women entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Women receiving the grants will also be featured on StartupNews.ca, receive a guest-spot on THRIVE Podcast for Women Entrepreneurs, and get a VIP Pass to Startup Canada Day on the Hill taking place in Ottawa on October 18.
To be eligible for a grant, applicants must be women entrepreneurs or women-led businesses. They must also be working in the STEM field and be based in Canada. Startup Canada said the applicants will be judged based on a number of criteria, including the applicant’s impact statement on the use of funds, a proven business model, and confirmation that the opportunity would be missed without the investment. The applicants must also agree to leverage the hashtag #StartupWomen and recognize sponsors throughout marketing efforts.
“Entrepreneurship is a catalyst for economic growth in many countries. Equally as important is the critical role that women play in the growth of an economy,” Startup Canada wrote in a post. “Startup Canada has partnered with Evolocity Financial Group to invest in women-led companies in STEM…providing micro-grants to women entrepreneurs and women-led companies in Canada to help them start and grow their businesses while accelerating gender parity and further unleash the economic potential of women.”
Past recipients of the fund include Eve Medical, which received funding through Ontario’s Health Technologies Fund in January 2018; and Awake Labs, which is using AI to care for brain and mental health disorders.
Those interested in the Startup Canada Women Founders Fund have until August 31 to apply.
Gives 16 Canadian AI companies the chance to pitch for a portion of $1,000,000 in funding. see more
Elevater Pitch Gives Canada's AI Startups a Chance to Earn $1,000,000 in Funding This September
levate has announced a partnership with Publicis.Sapient and Next AI to bring a new pitch competition to the Toronto-based technology festival this September.
Named ElevateR Pitch: AI Edition, the competition will give 16 Canadian AI companies the chance to pitch for a portion of $1,000,000 in funding on the Elevate Main Stage during the 4-day festival. ScaleUP Ventures and Espresso Capital will provide the funding for the competition, so the finalist startups should expect a blend of venture capital and venture debt.
“This is an important event for the tech industry in Canada,” said Alyssa Altman, President, Publicis.Sapient. “Our tech and innovation ecosystem is on the leading edge, and we need to keep and attract talent in Canada. As leaders in the tech and AI arena, we have a responsibility and the opportunity to elevate our industry and accelerate our growth in the global marketplace.”
To qualify, startups must be working in AI or an adjacent industry, have less than $10 million in revenue or funding, and be incorporated in Canada. The 16 finalists selected to pitch onstage will be judged by a panel of investors, celebrities, and media personalities.
“Canada’s most promising AI companies will be discovered on the Elevate Main Stage,” said Razor Suleman, CEO and co-founder of Elevate. “We’re bringing the whole country together for a truly Made-in-Canada competition.”
Interested startups are required to submit a 3-minute video pitch to earn a spot on the Main Stage, and can find the application page here. The deadline to apply is July 31.
Research hopes to get remote coastal communities off diesel-based power see more
Author: Travis Paterson
UVic draws $2.4M towards harvesting clean energy from the ocean
Research hopes to get remote coastal communities off diesel-based power
The influx of $2.4 million into clean energy is a stepping stone towards renewable energy alternatives for B.C.’s remote coastal communities and heavy-duty marine transportation companies.
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Jonathan Wilkinson made the announcement at the University of Victoria on Thursday. About $1.4 million from the federally run Western Economic Diversification Canada will establish the Pacific Regional Institute for Marine Energy Discovery at UVic, which will strive to develop and commercialize wind, wave and tidal energy technologies.
“Clean energy is a critical piece of the [Canadian clean growth plan], the mechanisms are obviously different here than in Saskatchewan, and the marine side of it is something we’re very interested in,” Wilkinson said. “It’s an area still developing, it offers significant promises on both the West Coast and the East Coast, where they’re interested in tidal technologies.
“This type of technology offers the promise of being able to take [coastal communities] off diesel and put them on a renewable source.”
The other $1 million is coming from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation, in conjunction with Seaspan Shipyards, and will go to a green transportation research team at UVic. Mechanical engineer Zuomin Dong leads the team and will work with UVic’s Institute for Integrated Energy Systems to find ways clean energy use can be implemented in the heavy-duty marine, mining and transportation sectors.
Brad Buckham, mechanical engineer and lead with PRIMED, said the $1.4 million is the latest of many grants and will continue ongoing research that will eventually help remote coastal communities, including Indigenous communities, move away from using diesel fuel generators to produce electricity.
Buckham said the more money they can put towards current research models now will save money for the communities, and companies, who eventually install the wind and ocean propulsion technologies to provide them with electricity.
Among the projects PRIMED has worked with are the wave monitoring buoys and a turbine that monitors wind performance.
There are several of the yellow wave monitoring buoys anchored in the Salish Sea and one off of Sombrio Beach. The wind turbine, on the other hand, is land based (mounted on a trailer) but will give way to ocean-based turbines, said Curran Crawford, a UVic associate professor and researcher with UVic’s Institute for Integrated Energy Systems.
“Putting the turbines on the ocean gets them away from people and avoids the NIMBY [issue], plus there is a lot of wind offshore,” Crawford said.
As the costs of wind-produced power have come down, the West Coast of Vancouver Island is being eyed for turbines that either float, or are on a base driven below the sea, Cawford said.
“As we tackle the many challenges posed by climate change, our researchers are leading the way in sustainable energy research, working closely with governments, industry and community groups to foster clean growth and low-carbon economic development,” said UVic president Jamie Cassels. “We’re very grateful to the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation and Seaspan for their investments in this vital work, which responds to one of our most significant national and global challenges.”
VIATEC posted an articleAn employer-driven, cost-sharing program that helps employers invest in training see more
Canada-B.C. Job Grant:
The Canada-B.C. Job Grant is an employer-driven, cost-sharing program that helps employers invest in training for their current or future employees. The Grant assists eligible employers to offset the cost of training, with the employer contributing one-third of the cost of training.
Canada-B.C. Job Grant Funds
The CJG program targets training investments to following streams:
The Canada-B.C. Job Grant (CJG) program has allocated up to $500,000 to a CJG New Canadian Fund. The Fund is open to applications from eligible organizations and employers to train refugees, protected persons entitled to work in Canada, and new immigrants (arrived in Canada within the last five years) for new or existing jobs. For information, application instructions, and application forms, please check here.
The Refugee Fund has made $1 million available to applications from industry/sector and employer associations wanting to work with employers to deliver job readiness, job match and job specific skills training to refugees arriving in B.C. Employers must contribute one-third of the cost of job specific training, with government covering the other two-thirds. For information, application instructions, and application forms, please check here.
The CJG is open to applications from BC Jobs Plan Priority Sectors, with targeted funding of up to $3million. For information, application instructions and application forms, please check here.
- On January 18, 2016, BC announced the #BCTech Strategy 2016. $500,000 has been allocated to the CJG program to assist employers in the Technology Sector to provide training to new and existing staff. For additional information, application instructions, and application forms, pleasecheck here.
- On January 14, 2016, BC announced an additional $250,000 will be dedicated to supporting training of existing employees and new hires in the contract logging industry. For information, application instructions and application forms, please check here.
All training MUST start on or before March 31, 2016.
What is the Canada-B.C. Job Grant?
The CJG goal is to increase participation of British Columbians in the labour force and help them to develop the skills necessary to find and keep a job.
The Canada-B.C. Job Grant is an employer-driven, cost-sharing program that can help employers invest in training for their current or future employees. The Grant assists eligible employers to offset the cost of training, with the employer contributing one-third of the cost of training.
The maximum government contribution is $10,000 for each employee trained. Employers can apply directly or an Eligible Organization can act on behalf of employers.
How can the CJG help me?
The Canada-B.C. Job Grant will provide direct financial support to employers who wish to purchase training for their current or future employees. An employer is required to contribute at least one third of the training costs, with the remaining two thirds, up to $10,000 per participant, coming from the CJG. The employer must have a job for the participant at the end of training. Eligible training costs include: tuition fees; mandatory student fees; textbooks, software and other required materials; and examination fees.
How do I apply?
Employers or organizations interested in applying for a Canada-B.C. Job Grant should review the CJG Fact Sheet, CJG Checklist, CJG FAQ, and CJG Criteria before submitting an application. Further information about eligibility, application instructions and forms are found under each funding stream webpage (see above).
Delivery Partner Program
The B.C. government has engaged organizations to act as Delivery Partners to maximize the benefits of the Canada-B.C. Job Grant program for employers, particularly small business employers, as well as current and future employees. Information on the Delivery Partner Program can be found here.