Women are the majority owners of about 15.6% of small–medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), but women account for over 37% of self-employed Canadians, or 1,050,000 employees, as of 2019, according to the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH).
During the pandemic, the percentage of women-owned businesses that have laid off 80% or more of their employees is substantially greater than that of businesses overall (62.1% vs. 45.2%).
Women-led businesses are also less likely to seek and receive financing than male-owned businesses (32% vs. 38%). This is one of the many reasons why the Canadian federal and provincial governments have teamed up to help Communitech create the Fierce Founders Uplift program, a funding program created specifically for women-led businesses and startups.
Communitech Program Winners:
These participants each received $10,000 through Communitech’s Fierce Founders Uplift second round of funding:
- Lauren Foster, AIMA Laborotories Inc. (St. Williams, ON);
- Micheline Khan, Althea Therapy (Hamilton, ON);
- Shirook Ali, Ecosystem Informatics Inc. (Mississauga, ON);
- Assel Beglinova, Paperstack (Toronto, ON);
- Maria Plummer, Ingenyewity Inc. (Markham, ON);
- Brenda Ahenkorah, My Well Self (Hamilton, ON);
- Nastaran Saberi, GeoMate (Kitchener, ON);
- Mahla Mirali, Grain Data Solutions Inc. (Hamilton, ON);
- Lianna Genovese, ImaginAble Solutions (Hamilton, ON); and
- Dolma Tsundu, Flutter Care (Burnaby, BC).
The Impact of This Funding
Communitech started in 2014, and since then it has helped female and/or non-binary founders from underrepresented groups as they work to grow early-stage startups or small businesses.
“We know that many women, especially Black, Indigenous, and women of colour, face multiple systemic barriers to success. The need for programs to support all women, including those from racialized communities, is as important as it has ever been. Communitech is honoured to be able to provide a real opportunity to help level the playing field through its Fierce Founders programming and pave the way for future generations of entrepreneurs across Canada.”
– Lisa Cashmore, Vice President of Founder Services at Communitech
The Fierce Founders Uplift program has helped kickstart many Canadian businesses with necessary startup funding for promising ventures. Just hear what the CEO at Paperstack had to say about their recent funding won:
“Ever since my co-founder and I have launched our company, Communitech has been a supportive partner that helped us reach our potential. So, when we heard about the opportunity to benefit from their help in a systematic way – that includes dedicated coaching support, a lively community of founders and mentors, access to grant capital, and intros to investors – we couldn’t say no. We are super excited to be selected as part of the second cohort of Communitech’s Fierce Founders Uplift and are looking forward to what this program brings.”
– Assel Beglinova, co-founder and CEO at Paperstack
This funding will help to create new jobs, small businesses, and Canadian-made products/services. These new startups are taking advantage of the digital age and finding new ways to solve issues that Canadian and foreign markets are addressing.
Find More Canadian Startup Funding Programs
We highly recommend you view our Canadian startup resources page for information on funding programs offered by organizations such as Communitech, Futurpreneur, or an occasional funding program from the Canadian government. Readers can gain access to resources such as how they can build their foundation for funding.
Build the foundation for funding with your startup by following our Startup Funding Checklist by downloading the PDF for free. This free resource has been developed by Mentor Works to help startups grow their business to a stage where they are eligible for Canadian Federal and Provincial government grant, loan, and wage subsidy programs.