We’re Back! – The 2018 Women Founders Fund
A few years back, we started noticing a very concerning trend in the lending space, women were experiencing significant hurdles when trying to secure financing. The gap between male and female led business was too large for Evolocity Financial Group to ignore, something had to be done. In 2016, we launched the Women Founders Fund with Startup Canada to do just that.
Although women in Canada now represent 47% of Canadian business owners and contribute $148 billion in economic activity, they receive less than 16% of all venture capital funding, yet companies with women in leadership roles outperform their male counterparts by 15%.
In 2011, a study completed by the Government of Canada showed that the ratio of authorized to requested debt financing was lower for majority female-owned SMBs than for their male-owned counterparts, yet the interest rate on debt financing was higher for the female-owned businesses. If nothing else, this shows us that financial institutions deemed female-owned SMBs to be riskier. Thankfully, by 2014 the gap shrunk, but there’s no question it still exists.
The Women Founders Fund Mission
We believe the only way to solve the issue at hand is to completely eradicate it. One field where the gap is still particularly large is within STEM (science, technology, engineering, math). With this in mind, we will be providing micro-grants to Canadian women entrepreneurs and women-led companies in the field of STEM. Our hope is that by providing these entrepreneurs with a boost in capital, they will be able to grow their businesses and become ambassadors for other women entrepreneurs.
Our Inspirational Past Recipients
What better way to show what the fund’s applicants can bring to the Canadian ecosystem than by highlighting some of our past recipients.
Jessica Ching, CEO and Co-Founder of Eve Medical
Eve Medical is a medical company dedicated to improving women’s health. Their flagship product, the Eve Kit, is an at-home screening system for women to test for infertility and cervical cancer. The results are made accessible online for them to reference and pass on to any physician they wish.
Approximately one-third of Canadian women have never been screened for cervical cancer and on average, one woman succumbs to the disease every day. There are also thousands of women that suffer from non-fatal diseases and infertility due to sexually transmitted infections. Eve Kit allows women to test themselves - removing the discomfort of having a doctor performing the test. Because the test can be done anywhere, the need to travel or find time to complete it is also minimized.
Eloise Ambursley, CEO and Co-Founder of Billenial
Billenial has set out to help Canadians deal with bad debt and manage their finances right from an app on their phones. It’s hard to keep track of bills and recurring payments. In fact, Canadians are faced with over 2 billion dollars worth of household debt! This works out to about 170% of disposable income – up from 90% in 1990.
There’s no question debt is a very real and pressing issue in our country. Billenial will make staying on top of your finances easy. By putting all your bills and bank information in one place, users will be able to save time and rest assured nothing has gone under the radar.
Andrea Palmer, CEO of Awake Labs
Awake Labs is a technology company centered around helping those with brain and mental health disorders. Mental health is the world’s leading cause of disability, depression alone affects over 300 million people worldwide. Simply put, it stops people from living a normal life - a problem the Awake Labs team deemed unexpectable.
The first product Awake Labs has rolled out, Reveal Stories, is a mobile application that enables users to share data that logs their mental health. It makes the connection between patients and their care teams faster and easier than ever. Their second product, Reveal Band, a wearable that connects with Reveal Stories will help users track anxiety in real time, helping them regulate symptoms.
Diane Matyas, CEO and Founder of SportFitz
SportFitz’s wearable product Fitz is taking reporting on brain injuries to the places where the incidents most regularly occur. According to Diane, 90% of concussions go unreported. This means that approximately 45 million concussions went unreported in the United States alone. There’s no question, concussions are an epidemic not only in sports but everywhere.
The Fitz is a device that can fit inside a helmet or stuck directly to the skin. It measures the movements of the head and brain in real time which in turn are displayed via an app. While wearing the Fitz, it will be impossible to miss a traumatic incident.
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