Spring Activator and the TELUS Pollinator Fund for Good are launching their first Women-led Impact Investor Challenge.
The challenge is set to run from September 15 to December 6 and seeks to facilitate connections between those looking for purpose-based investments with women founders working on solutions to local and global problems.
The Women-led IIC was created because “women founders in Canada are still vastly underestimated,” according to a statement from Spring Activator. Women entrepreneurs receive 4% of Venture Capital funding and women represent only 15% of Canadian VC partners and 17% of Canadian angel investors.
The challenge runs for 11 weeks, culminating in an investment of $100,000 into a statistically under-funded market. Investors and women founders will learn hand-in-hand as they go through the investment process and take action while supported by a community of like-minded peers and mentors.
“At the Telus Pollinator Fund, we view diversity as a strength helping to uncover untapped market opportunities,” said Ka-Hay Law, Investment Director, TELUS Pollinator Fund. “We are proud to have a portfolio where nearly 40 percent of portfolio companies are led by women and more than half are led by Indigenous and racialized founders.”
To support the program, Spring have also partnered with the Canadian Women’s Foundation and Impact United, to provide advice and expertise on how to best support women founders.
“The Canadian Women’s Foundation is pleased to support the Women-Led Impact Investor Challenge,” stated Sagal Dualeh, Director, Investment Readiness Program Canadian Women’s Foundation. “We are helping build the capacity and investment readiness of social purpose organizations and boost women’s sector participation in the social finance market. We look forward to sharing our expertise and working with both enterprises and investors in this unique program.”
The TELUS Pollinator Fund and Spring Activator are creating a space for women founders to learn the ins-and-outs of raising capital as a women founder, specifically for women running impact-focused businesses. And a space for investors to learn how to invest hands-on alongside a like-minded community of women and allies who are interested in investing in women-run impact businesses.
“Supporting diversity is not only a core tenet of our investment thesis, but also good business, without it we are leaving money on the table, as investors and as a society,” said Law. “We’re pleased to be collaborating with Spring to shine a spotlight on exciting women-led startups who are often overlooked. We are equally excited that this program will equip a new cohort of investors to invest with diversity in mind, embedding this mindset into investment decisions to create a more inclusive impact investment ecosystem.”