Phase one of the Fierce Founders boot camp at Communitech in downtown Kitchener wrapped up this week.
The boot camp is an opportunity for 25 female led entrepreneurs to build their business and compete for a $100,000 investment.
The program offers courses led by industry leaders on how to build a successful business, but the true value in the program is much deeper.
Kelly McGregor is the Manager of the Fierce Founders program and says the ability to go through the program with other female entrepreneurs is special. “The ability to be connected to people who are going through what you are going through can provide you a better perspective, and being able to be surrounded by other females is very empowering.”
Waterloo MP and Minister of Small Business and Tourism Bardish Chagger has spoken several times recently about the need for more women led businesses in Canada.
Chagger says the opportunity to learn from other women mentors is rare. “When it comes to women led businesses there are less mentors that are women and there is a limited amount of networks, so we are trying to grow those opportunities.”
One of the primary lessons in the boot camp is learning to navigate the male dominated field of venture capital.
McGregor says it is not uncommon for women entrepreneurs to be the only women in the room when speaking with potential investors.
According to McGregor the best way to be successful in these situations is to be prepared and know your stuff. “Don’t acknowledge that there is a gender stereotype, just make it very clear that you are very knowledgeable, you are very capable, and you can answer all of their questions.”
The Fierce Founders will now take a few weeks to use what they have learned and work on their final pitch.
The final pitch competition will take place February 15th for the chance to win $100,000.