Access to capital remains a key barrier for women entrepreneurs.
The Forum for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE) is trying to change that.
This morning they announced the semi-finalists for this year’s Pitch for the Purse competition, putting them in the running for a $50,000 prize, the biggest ever for the event.
This year’s prize is double that of previous years thanks to the generosity of Galvanize, who provided an additional $25,000 on top of the longstanding $25,000 grand prize provided by Wheaton Precious Metals.
As the leading organization for women entrepreneurs in Canada, FWE is helping women across the country break the barriers to entrepreneurship that have only been exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic.
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Since its inception, FWE has helped businesses skyrocket, including Tara Bosch of SmartSweets (acquired for $360 million last month), Valerie Song of AVA Technologies ($2.6 million raised), Patrice Mousseau of Satya Organics (from kitchen crockpot to over 400 stores) and many others.
FWE is committed to leaving no woman behind and the applicants demonstrate that commitment – this year’s program attracted 466 applicants ranging from 18 to 69 years old and this year, as with last year, nearly 50% of applicants were Black, Indigenous and Women of Colour.
“Moving to a virtual environment has allowed FWE to broaden its reach and activate community building across the country, living out our mandate of leaving no woman behind,” said Paulina Cameron, CEO of FWE. “Never before has it been easier to plug right into a national community of women entrepreneurs, and those who want to support them, and to get inspired by our Canadian stories. We are excited to share our Semi-Finalists’ brilliant business ideas with the world.”
This year’s 12 semi-finalists represent a broad range of industries including medicine, wellness, tech, and food and nutrition and will be sharing their business vision during the FWE’s first-ever virtual event on December 1st.
Among the 12 Semi-Finalists are five startups from B.C.
- Karen Danudjaja, Blume
- Melodie Reynolds, Eluma Beauty
- Eve Laird and Sarah Cartwright, Eve’s Crackers
- Libi Berenson, Geenees
- Yamila Franco, Nyoka Design Labs
More information about Pitch for the Purse can be found online here and you watch the Semi-Finals here.