The grant, delivered as $30,000 worth of public relations and communications services, will be awarded to one early-stage fintech with a founder who identifies as a woman. The winner will be selected by a judging panel made up of experts in technology and communications.
“Our work in tech PR over the past 10 years has connected us with brilliant entrepreneurial minds, but noticeably, in fintech more than any other sector, there’s a lack of folks who identify as women in leadership roles,” said Natalie Kiguel, Business Director at Talk Shop. “We’ve launched this grant to offer support to the trailblazing women who are building and creating value through fintech innovation.”
The winning company will be selected by a judging panel made up of experts in technology, entrepreneurship and communications, including Leen Li, CEO of Wealthsimple Foundation, Erin Bury, CEO of Willful, and Janet Bannister, Managing Partner of Real Ventures. Each judge’s career, passion and experience bring a unique perspective to the challenges faced by entrepreneurs who are women and how communications and PR add value to a business.
“I’ve seen firsthand the power PR has to build awareness and legitimacy for a small business with customers and stakeholders, and how it can positively influence your bottom line,” said Erin Bury, CEO of Willful. “PR success is driven by relationships and industry expertise, and many founders don’t have the resources to engage with professionals. This grant will be transformative for the recipient, and I’m honoured to be part of the selection team.”
“We know that diverse teams produce better returns and develop more innovative products. And yet, technology companies in general, and fintech companies in particular lack gender diversity,” said Janet Bannister, Managing Partner at Real Ventures. “In fact, less than 5% of fintech companies have a female founder and only 17% of senior fintech roles are held by women. That is one reason why I am excited about the Women in Fintech Grant which will not only help the growth of a female-founded fintech but also raise the profile of that founder so she can serve as a role model for others.”
To qualify for the award, the company must be headquartered in Canada, have raised less than $3 million to date, and have at least one person who identifies as a woman on the founding team.
Applications for the Women in Fintech Grant are now open and the application form can be found online. The application deadline is January 15th, 2021 and a screening call will be scheduled with applicants in the week of January 25th, 2021. The winner will be selected and notified by February 15th, 2021.