Diversity, equity, and inclusion must be ingrained in every tech company's values, and it's important to understand that the three values mean different things. It's not just important that we have a diverse pipeline of founders: we need to ensure that every organization fosters an equitable and inclusive organization that believes in creating equal opportunity — particularly for underrepresented groups.
To make this work, our belief is that everyone must be at the table. Ensuring the success of women entrepreneurs is not just a women’s issue; all genders need to be involved. Our goal is to re-tool the narrative and perspective. We work closely with venture capital and angel partners to bring light to any unconscious bias they may have. We want investors to see the founder before them, not their gender, but a leader with a great technology and business plan to commercialize at scale. Success comes when you can match the right people with the right founders in order to make a difference.
Technology and innovation — our digital infrastructure — is the underpinning of everything we do here and around the world. Investing in tech start-ups means investing in a modern digital future that will power the key economic sectors Canada needs to lead.
ventureLAB is creating an equitable tech ecosystem that enables female founders to scale their business faster. Our vision is to create a more equitable tech sector by reducing unconscious bias and removing barriers for women-led ventures to increase representation and access to capital. One way we do that is through our Tech Undivided initiative, which creates a support ecosystem of resources and networking opportunities for women founders to thrive. The program enables female founders to raise capital to scale and to secure customers to drive revenue growth, leveraging a network of industry experts who are leaders in innovation.
We also lead by example: At ventureLAB, we are proudly a merit-based, gender-balanced organization — from our core team and senior management to our board of directors. Our partner network is comprised of strategically aligned private and public sector organizations that provide coaching for pitch preparation and delivery, and support our companies throughout all stages of the customer acquisition process. Through global events, digital media, signature awards, and consulting, our partners reach a diverse community of professional women and men across Canada and internationally.
It's our privilege to spotlight women-led companies in our ecosystem with breakthrough products and services that change Canada's tech landscape. Learn more about the companies we work with - and how you can connect with them - in the image cards below. You can also follow their entrepreneurial journeys and what drives these founders through these exclusive interviews:
Julia Elvidge is the past President and co-founder of Chipworks, a company that sold patent and technology intelligence related products and services to large international electronics companies. Julia is a member of the Canadian Institute of Corporate Directors and sits on boards in the tech and investment space, including ventureLAB’s Hardware Catalyst Initiative advisory board and the Capital Angel Network.
"Knowing your customers is key to success at any stage of a company. At the beginning, asking potential customers open questions to understand their pain points helps you design your product before you write a line of code. The more time you spend understanding these customers and finding ways to test your product ideas on them, the faster you will get to market with the lowest development costs."
Danielle Graham is a venture capitalist with a purpose, focusing much of her career so far on fostering and funding underrepresented founders. She created Fierce Founders Programs — the first women-focused accelerator and bootcamp series in Canada — and has been Principal at Sandpiper Ventures and Dream Maker Ventures. Currently as Venture Partner at ArchAngel Network of Funds, Danielle serves founders with a social and environmental purpose looking to scale their tech businesses. She is an advisor for incubators ventureLAB, Haltech, Volta, and the Holt Fintech Accelerator.
"A great leader is willing to take a lot more informed risks, and have built up resilient skills and means to learn from failure, knowing that some risks pay off, and others won’t. Great leaders model the risks they advise others to take, and support others to build resilient competencies when faced with less than successful outcomes."
Vienna Zhou is a renewable energy and cleantech expert, having worked in the industry for over seventeen years. In 2018, Vienna founded her company, TROES Corp. (The Revolution Of Energy Storage), to address the challenges associated with power grids and energy storage. In three years, TROES has quickly grown — servicing clients in Canada, the U.S., and the U.K., and pushing the needle forward for innovative technology and services. TROES works with ventureLAB, a leading global founder community for hardware technology and enterprise software companies in Canada.
"I stay inspired by the thought that we could create many things that we don’t have right now."
ventureLAB is a leading global founder community for hardware technology and enterprise software companies in Canada. Located at the heart of Ontario’s innovation corridor in York Region, ventureLAB is part of one of the biggest and most diverse tech communities in Canada. Our initiatives focused on raising capital, talent retention, commercializing technology and IP, and customer acquisition have enabled thousands of companies to create over 4,000 jobs and raise more than $200 million in investment capital. At ventureLAB, we grow globally competitive tech titans that build-to-scale in Canada, for global markets.