Innovation Saskatchewan Announces Increased Funding to Support Saskatchewan’s Female Technology Founders

Article originally shared here by Innovation Saskatchewan.

Innovation Saskatchewan is committing $60,000 per year for the next two years to help propel the growth of women-led technology companies in the province. Consistent with the final report and recommendations of the Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan’s Advisory Committee on the Gender Entrepreneurship Gap, this funding will support the continuation of the Founders Table program.

Founders Table is a mentorship program which brings together female technology entrepreneurs to gain new business skills, knowledge, and create industry connections. Innovation Saskatchewan partnered with Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan (WESK) in 2019 and 2020 to launch this initiative.

“We are very excited to be announcing our continued support of the Founders Table program,” Minister Jeremy Harrison, Minister Responsible for Innovation Saskatchewan says. “Building a tech ecosystem conducive for women to scale their companies is critical to the ongoing growth of Saskatchewan’s tech sector and our Government’s Growth Plan – in which we aim to triple the tech sector over the next ten years.”

According to a 2018 WESK report on women entrepreneurs, it was found that women are highly under-represented in Canada’s tech sector, with only six percent of founders being female. This program aims to address that gap by providing support, mentorship, and networking opportunities for female tech founders.

“Founders Table has seen participant numbers double in its second year, with positive impacts to their business being reported, including leadership, stronger marketing, and a surge in hiring additional employees,” says Prabha Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer of WESK, “Support for this program will go a long way in continuing to help change under-representation in the industry.”

Innovation Saskatchewan’s investment helps build a strong community of female tech founders in the province. Founders Table will provide in-depth learning sessions presented by leaders in Saskatchewan’s tech community on topics such as creating and pitching your product, connect with customers, and accessing ecosystem supports. Applicants will be considered in August and the 10 to 15 successful candidates will begin meeting in September. Founders Table members can come from anywhere in Saskatchewan but must have less than five years in business and gross revenues under $250,000.

For more information, go to: https://wesk.ca/programs/founders-table/

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WESK Summit Gala 2021 Award Recipients Announced

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 19, 2021

This evening, WESK recognized five women entrepreneurs from Saskatchewan with awards at the virtual WESK Summit Gala. The event falls during Women Entrepreneurs Week, which, as proclaimed by the Government of Saskatchewan, runs from May 16 through May 22, 2021. In alignment with Women Entrepreneurs Week, the WESK Summit Gala provides an opportunity to not only recognize awards finalists and recipients, but also to applaud and showcase all of Saskatchewan’s women entrepreneurs.

“I’d like to thank the Government of Saskatchewan for proclaiming this week as Women Entrepreneurs Week across the province. This week, we honor and celebrate every woman entrepreneur in our province who makes an economic and social contribution to our community. We encourage you to join us in this celebration,” said Prabha Mitchell, CEO of WESK.

Awards were presented in the following categories: Community Involvement, Indigenous Entrepreneur, Innovation, Resilience, and Celebration of Achievement. Below is a summary of each award category and the respective finalists.

The 4th annual Celebration of Achievement award pays tribute to an exceptional woman entrepreneur who has built a business in Saskatchewan of significant impact to the economy and the community. She is an inspirational leader and a role model for women in business. The finalists are: Janna Dutton (Dutton Group Tim Hortons) and Christine Hrudka (Pharmacy First). Celebration of Achievement Award: Christine Hrudka (Pharmacy First)

The Community Involvement Award is presented to the Saskatchewan woman entrepreneur that has been a leader in creating ways of conducting business that have a positive impact on the community. The finalists are: Jennifer Denouden (Avana), Shaina Lynden (Ryde YXE Cycle Studios), Valerie Sluth (Praxis Consulting).

The Indigenous Entrepreneur Award is presented to the Indigenous Saskatchewan woman entrepreneur, which through a strong business concept shows plans for future growth and viability over the long term. The finalists are: Christine Marie (Awasis Boutique), Destinee Peter (Tangles Hair and Beauty Salon), Jennifer Dubois (Miyosiwin Salon Spa).

The Innovation Award is presented to the Saskatchewan entrepreneur that is pushing conventional boundaries and is disrupting and reshaping her industry through ground-breaking achievements in bringing innovation to market. The finalists are: Jennifer Denouden (Avana), Monique Simair (Maven Water and Environment), Serese Selanders (SolusGuard & ORA).

The Resilience Award is presented to the Saskatchewan woman entrepreneur who has shown strength and determination through COVID-19. She has shown an ability to pivot in response to unexpected and difficult challenges brought about by the pandemic, while continuing to maintain strong business operations. The finalists are: Jolene Watson (Clarity Coaching and Development), Heather Monaghan (Helping Hands Care Group), Shaina Lynden & Bradie Mustoe (Ryde YXE Cycle Studios).

The 2021 recipients are:

  • Community Involvement Award Recipient: Jennifer Denouden (Avana)
  • Indigenous Entrepreneur Award Recipient: Jennifer Dubois (Miyosiwin Salon Spa)
  • Innovation Award Recipient: Monique Simair (Maven Water and Environment)
  • Resilience Award Recipient: Heather Monaghan (Helping Hands Care Group)

Mitchell stated, “Congratulations to our award recipients for this well deserved recognition. The importance of celebrating women entrepreneurs is even more amplified this year.  Their grit through this time of uncertainty and risk is not only remarkable; but the resilience to pivot, adapt and remain agile is extraordinary.”

To continue to celebrate and raise awareness of Women Entrepreneurs Week in Saskatchewan, WESK is showcasing a different woman entrepreneur every day across their social channels, and has released a special Women Entrepreneurs Week video.

Additionally, WESK will be holding the annual WESK Summit on Thursday, May 20, a rebrand of WESK’s traditional and long-standing Small Business Conference. While the event is virtual this year, attendees can still expect engaging workshops, powerful keynote presentations (including Michele Romanow of CBC’s Dragons’ Den), insightful panel discussions, and plenty of chances to network amongst attendees.


Associated Links

For more information:

Josie Fries

Marketing Advisor, WESK

306.477.6286

About WESK

WESK is a non-profit, membership-based organization that provides business advisory; start-up, purchase and expansion lending; mentoring and networking and learning and training opportunities. WESK is supported by Western Economic Diversification Canada.

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