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 Responsible for Innovation Saskatchewan Jeremy Harrison said. "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 per cent 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," WESK Chief Executive Officer Prabha Mitchell said. "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, connecting 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.