FedDev Ontario Announces Support for Women-led Businesses in the Waterloo Region

News Release

June 10, 2016 – Kitchener, Ontario – Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario)

Today, the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism, along with Raj Saini, Member of Parliament for Kitchener Centre, announced a non-repayable contribution of up to $880,000 for Communitech Corporation to support women-led businesses in the Waterloo Region. This announcement was made on behalf of the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario.

Supporting women-led businesses helps to diversify not only the technology sector, but the southern Ontario economy as a whole. With this funding, Communitech will establish the Fierce Founders Accelerator program, a seed funding program designed to support women-led early-stage businesses.

One of the first of its kind in the Waterloo area, the Fierce Founders Accelerator program will help increase representation of women in the technology sector and enhance the technology cluster in the Waterloo Region, which accounts for approximately 10% of the region's workforce.

For more information on this project funded through FedDev Ontario's Investing in Business Innovation initiative, please see the backgrounder.

Quotes

"Women play an integral role in the success of businesses. Today's announcement is a great example of the Government of Canada's commitment to supporting women in business while encouraging innovation and creativity in the technology sector."

– The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism

"Promoting and encouraging women to lead businesses in the technology sector will have great long-term benefits for this region. Communitech's Fierce Founders Accelerator program will provide support to women-led businesses through seed funding, and will help create local jobs and economic prosperity in the Waterloo Region."

– Raj Saini, Member of Parliament for Kitchener Centre

"Diverse companies are proven to be more successful. Women make up thirty percent of students entering engineering programs at the University of Waterloo, and it's continuing to rise. There's no reason why we can't see the same amount of women staring companies here. This program is one extra step to encourage that."

– Iain Klugman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Communitech

"From this program, and the support of our funders, we hope to see more female-founded companies emerge and succeed in southern Ontario. This program will set the stage for greater diversity in tech leadership we aim to see in the future."

– Danielle Graham, Program Manager, Women in Technology, Communitech

Quick Facts

  • Communitech Corporation, an innovation hub located in the Region of Waterloo, has supported and helped to build a globally recognized technology cluster of nearly 1,000 companies and generates more than $20 billion in annual revenue.
  • The Fierce Founders Accelerator program will provide about 20 women-led technology companies the resources they need to accelerate the growth and competitiveness of their early-stage technology businesses.
  • This project, with a total cost of $1.98 million, is expected to create 30 full-time jobs and maintain 60 jobs. Since 2009, Communitech has received $9.7 million in funding from FedDev Ontario for projects that help build and diversity the southern Ontario economy.

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Media Relations
FedDev Ontario
416-954-6652
fdo.mediarel-relmedias.fdo@canada.ca

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Website: www.FedDevOntario.gc.ca
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