Launched under Budget 2018, the Government of Canada’s Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) aims to increase women-owned and led businesses’ access to the financing, talent, networks and expertise they need to start up, scale up and access new markets.
The WES Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative has been designed to provide non-repayable contribution funding to projects led by not-for-profit organizations to strengthen and build a more inclusive venture capital environment for Canadian women.
The WES Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative is a 3 year non-repayable contribution program totaling $15 million that seeks to strengthen and build a more inclusive venture capital environment for Canadian women.
It will fund projects including initiatives to strengthen the capacity of women entrepreneurs to access venture capital funding, contribute to increasing representation of women in the venture capital industry, or initiatives to reduce biases in the venture capital industry.
Applicants may only submit one application for funding. Projects must demonstrate benefits to women in the venture capital environment.
The lead applicant must be a Canadian not-for-profit organization with minimum of two years of operating experience Note* (by June 20, 2022) with a focus on supporting women in the venture capital environment. The lead applicant should fall under at least one of the following categories of not-for-profit organizations or associations:
- Business or investor associations
- Post-secondary academic institutions or research institutes
- Business/entrepreneur support organizations and associations
- Research/innovation hubs
- Indigenous organizations
- Business accelerators and incubators, and
- Associations representing not-for-profit social enterprises or co-operatives
- Project lengths may vary, but all activities must be completed by March 31, 2025
- Project must have a minimum total project budget of $600,000 and not exceed a budget of $5,000,000
- Projects must be national or multi-regional. A multi-regional project is considered to be a project which services at least 5 provinces or territories
- Project must be delivered in both official languages as per the Official Languages Act. For organizations that do not currently have capacity, clear plans must be provided on how additional capacity will be established by the time of administering the project to deliver services in English and French (and other languages as required by the project)
- Projects must meet one or more of the project scope elements (listed below)
Applicants must demonstrate their capacity to reach a national or multi-regional audience, and experience in supporting efforts to create a more inclusive venture capital environment for women.
Eligible focus areas (include one or more of the following):
- Providing education and training to support equitable access to funding and/or promotion of related practices to the venture capital industry (such as venture capitalists, angel networks, financial institutions, and others)
- Engaging investors to better understand, adapt to and work with women entrepreneurs or their enterprises
- Providing support to women entrepreneurs to assist them to better understand available options for financing and enable them to pursue and access such options
- Supporting efforts to advance and grow the representation of women in roles such as investors/fund managers in various venture capital industry contexts
- Fostering networking or mentoring models which help to facilitate access to capital for women entrepreneurs and their businesses, and
- Demonstrate support and contributions in other areas which will serve to strengthen the network of women and diverse entrepreneurship organizations in Canada, aligned with the Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative’s objectives
Application submission: Deadline June 20, 2022
Your application package must include the following:
- Completed application form submitted by an authorized official from your organization
- Proposal paper, no more than 15 pages in length (note, submissions that exceed this limit may be screened out)
- Two years of past financial statements (audited or review engagement)
- Incorporation document
- Completed Budget Detail Template
- Sustainability Plan
- Agreement or Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between partner organizations (if applicable)
- Letter(s) of support from partners (signed by their authorized official) in the application (if applicable). Letter(s) must outline partner roles, responsibilities, and if applicable, financial and in-kind contributions to the project
- Disclosure if M-30 legislation is applicable to your organization, where applicable (Quebec based organizations only)
Priority will be given to eligible organizations that deliver national services and focus on meeting the needs of diverse, intersectional and/or under-served women.
Applications should be submitted to the WES Central Inbox ([email protected]) by June 20, 2022 (11:59 a.m. Pacific Time)
For More Information: WES Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative