New program seeks to help women entrepreneurs in Okanagan

Helping women in business

A new three-month pilot program called W Venture has kicked off in Victoria and the Okanagan, specifically for women looking to accelerate their business.

Program participants will be given the skills necessary to address their personal business challenges, opening the door to success for women-led companies.

The program includes personalized and hands-on support from mentors and experts from across the province.

“We set out to co-create something that was truly collaborative and supported the unique needs of female entrepreneurs,” says program manager Shelley Voyer. “Women from across the province told us they wanted a program that is actionable and accountable while focusing on her unique journey. W Venture delivers on this promise. I hope any woman who is bold enough to build her own tech-enabled company applies.”

Accelerate Okanagan, the University of Victoria and VIATEC along with their partners are working together to achieve meaning impacts on the community of women entrepreneurs. 

"The Digital Technology Supercluster is committed to inspiring community-wide growth and innovation, and it is paramount that the systematic challenges that women face are met with practical strategies and exceptional support," says CEO of Digital Technology Supercluster Sue Paish.

"W Venture is one of several projects in our Capacity Building Program that seeks to close the gap and help women entrepreneurs succeed and our communities to thrive. Women-led businesses are a vital force for a vibrant economy."

Less than 39 per cent of the Okanagan's technology workforce is female while only 10 per cent of Victoria's tech companies consist of female founders. And while the technology sector continues to grow, women are still underrepresented. 

W Venture will be delivered virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This will allow women entrepreneurs from across the province to access the program. Applications are open now until July 31, with the program set to kick off in September. 

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