Tech Undivided is a new initiative led by ventureLAB, to bridge gender and diversity gaps in the tech sector to support women in tech: female founders, women working in technical roles, and women leaders in tech companies. The project is funded in part by the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, as part of the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy.
Tech Undivided is a 6-month program with a vision of creating an inclusive tech ecosystem that is not biased or divided by gender. It will focus on supporting diverse and underrepresented women-led tech companies that are developing solutions in hardware & enterprise software, health, advanced manufacturing, and FinTech sectors.
For companies that qualify for Tech Undivided, ventureLAB will be creating customized support programs that include access to strategic mentors (50:50 gender parity) with years of specialized experience in scaling technology companies and/or navigating the market. It will also include access to monthly skill-building workshops, exclusive partner 1-on-1s, and opportunities to pitch to relevant investors and funding opportunities. Tech Undivided will go beyond technology and business support and will address the challenges of women-in-tech by curating a supportive and interactive community focused on equality, open dialogue, and overcoming obstacles.
Register for our webinar on November 15 to learn more about Tech Undivided and ask our team any questions you may have!
Once applications open, you will be able to access the application form on this page. You can also sign up for our newsletter to be notified of the open call.
What is Tech Undivided trying to achieve?
The vision for Tech Undivided is to create an inclusive tech ecosystem that is not biased or divided by gender. As it stands today, women leaders in tech companies are:
Receiving insufficient access to capital
Facing challenges when pitching to investors due to a more conservative and pragmatic approach
Lacking access to experienced industry mentors and business advisors
While the list above is not inclusive of all complications, the untapped potential of creating systems that build diversity, equity and inclusion for female leadership is vast. Our objective is to level the playing field and provide equal opportunities for women in tech by creating an open dialogue and educating everyone across all platforms.
What types of companies/projects would be considered for the program?
Companies building innovative solutions in the key sectors of Hardware & Enterprise Software, Health, Advanced Manufacturing, and FinTech. Please also refer to the Eligibility Criteria section above.
Not sure if you’re eligible? Sign up for our Tech Undivided webinar on November 15, 2019.
How is Tech Undivided different from other programs offered at ventureLAB?
This 6-month program is specifically targeted to women-led tech companies with the aim of increasing representation of women in tech to foster and establish a more inclusive tech ecosystem. The project looks to bridge those gender gaps by providing access to training, tools, networks, internal and external mentorship, and financial resources. It will go beyond the business support to also facilitate connections to potential customers and partners and provide access to a female-friendly investment community and our Tech Undivided purpose-built ecosystem.
If I am in another program at ventureLAB can I also qualify for Tech Undivided?
Yes, current ventureLAB clients with a female founder or co-founder may qualify for Tech Undivided, however, they must go through the same application process as other applicants. We encourage you to speak to your Lead Advisor or Programs team if you are interested in applying. You will then be sent the separate Tech Undivided application, or be notified when the next call opens.
Do we need a female founder/co-founder?
Yes. Tech Undivided is aimed at increasing the number of women-led tech companies, therefore the founding team must have a female founder or co-founder who must be willing to actively participate in the program. It is not sufficient to simply have a female co-founder/founder in documentation. Participation and engagement in the day-to-day activities of the company are essential, and important to the success of the company in this program.
What if I’m a woman working in tech but not leading a company?
The 6-month cohort of programming will be geared towards companies that are led by at least one female founder/co-founder. However, through the TechUndivided program, we will be offering opportunities for women in the tech sector to attend events, workshops and networking sessions.
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Can a non-female co-founder/founder participate in the programming?
Yes, our programming is inclusive to all. Everyone on the leadership team of a selected company will have equal access to all our resources, services and network.
Who will your strategic mentor network be comprised of?
The strategic mentor network will be comprised of experienced entrepreneurs, corporate leaders, venture capitalists, academics, and C-suite executives while striving for a 50:50 gender split. The objective is to curate a sustainable community of industry experts that can not only assist with specific business challenges but who can also help to create a culture of long term support.
How will the $1.7 million from FedDev be used?
The $1.7 million being provided to ventureLAB is to be used over a period of three years, to develop and execute the program, and help achieve the overall goal of increasing the number of women founders and leaders building software and hardware-enabled solutions for priority sectors; enabling those companies to scale their business; providing a mentoring ecosystem of industry experts for women leaders; and inspiring future generations of women leaders to pursue entrepreneurship, tech or STEM-based careers.
Does ventureLAB provide any capital?
No, ventureLAB will not be providing any capital as part of the Tech Undivided program. We will, however, help prepare companies for potential private investments through our Capital Investment Program. We will also facilitate introductions to relevant public funding organizations like OCE, Mitacs, NRC-IRAP, and more.
Does ventureLAB get any stake in my company?
No, ventureLAB and the Tech Undivided program do not take any equity in your company.
What does ventureLAB expect from the company?
Companies accepted into Tech Undivided will be asked to sign a Program Engagement Agreement, which outlines the expectations of the company (i.e. Code of Conduct, reporting frequency, program participation requirements). If the program requirements are not met, ventureLAB reserves the right to remove companies from the program.
What is the selection process?
November 4 – December 1st at 11:59pm EST: Applications open for the first cohort of companies.
Friday, November 15th, 2019 at 11:00am EST: Join our Application FAQ Webinar.
November 15 – December 15: Evaluation period for applicants via online and in-person.
Week of January 13: Announcement of successful applicants.
February 2020: First cohort kicks off.
When do we find out if we have been selected?
Successful applicants will be contacted by mid-January, 2020. ventureLAB will provide information on the next steps at that time.
If my company is not accepted into Tech Undivided, can I re-apply for a future cohort?
Definitely! Tech Undivided will put out a call twice annually. In addition, we also have a number of other Program offerings so we highly encourage you to check out the Programs page and attend one of our upcoming Orientations to learn more.
What if we need more than 2 workspaces?
We can offer additional workspace at a subsidized rate of $358/month per desk (includes two badges).
ventureLAB is always looking to partner with dynamic, engaged and collaborative organizations that align with the vision of Tech Undivided. If you have ideas on how we can work together, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.