Women make up over half of the Canadian population, but when it comes to owning a business, they're seriously underrepresented — less than 16% of entrepreneurs in Canada are women.
When women do take on leadership positions, they become role models for young girls and pave the way for pay equality.
Women-led businesses also create new jobs four times faster than the national average and create companies at double the national average, so why do they account for so little of Canadian entrepreneurs?
Typically cited reasons for the gender gap range from differences in work experience to unconscious gender bias, but equal participation of women in the economy remains one of the most important issues of our time.
That's why YES Employment + Entrepreneurship is advancing women's economic empowerment with programs and courses designed to help women build their network, gain access to mentors and play a leadership role within Canada's entrepreneurial ecosystem.
If you own a women-led startup in Montreal, these services by YES are a great place to start if you're looking for support, training, funding and — ultimately — success.
ELLEvate Women Entrepreneurs Pre-AcceleratorYES Employment + Entrepreneurship
Every year, YES looks for 10 high-potential women-led startups from all sectors with ideas or products to participate in the ELLEvate Women Entrepreneurs Pre-Accelerator.
In partnership with the Government of Canada, the City of Montreal and SAP Labs Canada, the new women-centric entrepreneurial program builds on YES Employment + Entrepreneurship's already established core services to offer a variety of support and training over a three-month period, ending in a pitch competition.
From weekly one-on-one meetings with a dedicated ELLEvate Business Coach, access to legal and accounting information, funding (up to $10,000!), awards and everything in between, this program is there to help you succeed.
Just take a look at previous winners, Julie Tzeng, Marlee Rabin and Aliyeh Rasooli zadeh, who all achieved greater success both during and after the program.
Julie (pictured below, left), the founder of Arshae, a stylish and sustainably sourced shoe company, was the first-place $10,000 winner of the program's competition and was able to secure a partnership with École de Technologie Supérieure.
In the same year, Marlee (pictured below, right) also won $2,500 as part of the ELLEvate Women Entrepreneurs Pre-Accelerator.
Aliyeh, the founder of Triple F Group, won $7,500 as the pre-accelerator's second-place winner and $25,000 from Entreprendre Ici. She was also a finalist in the Scotia Bank Women’s Initiative Competition.
If you're looking to start your own business, or are already there but in need of guidance, ELLEvate also provides women with specialized online workshops.
For $10 per workshop, you can get strategies to find opportunities, overcome challenges and make your mark.
The workshops available in May include:
- Women in Entrepreneurship + Exploring MOMpreneurs: Tuesday, May 4 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
- Women in STEM: How to Network, Gain Traction & Launch Your Business: Tuesday, May 11 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
- Using Vision, Voice, and Values to Build your Business: Tuesday, May 18 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
ELLEvate e-Learning Courses
Designed and influenced by Quebec-based women entrepreneurs for women entrepreneurs just like you, ELLEvate's e-learning courses cover everything you need to know about sales and funding.
Learn about the different sales processes and techniques to increase customers and sales, and discover what funding sources are most suitable for your business' needs.
If you're interested in signing up, stay tuned. These courses will be launching at the end of March. You can visit the ELLEvate website for more information.
If you're a Montreal-based, women-led startup looking to delve deeper into the startup ecosystem and gain mentorship and funding throughout the process, ELLEvate might just be the perfect place to start.
Entrepreneurs like Andrea Bomo, health coach and business owner; Samantha Bateman, founder of Integria Consulting; and Taïna Chalifoux, Montreal's "Coffee Queen" (pictured below), agree ELLEvate would have made a huge difference to them when starting their businesses.
If you’re curious about some of the women taking their businesses to the next level with the help of ELLEvate, check out the #TogetherWeELLEvate campaign on social media.
Price: Prices vary depending on the course or program selected.
When: Applications for the pre-accelerator program are open now. Workshops start in May and e-learning courses launch soon.
Why You Need To Participate: Whether you run a women-led startup, you have a business idea or you're looking to learn more about the world of entrepreneurship, ELLEvate will provide you with the tools needed to hit the ground running.