Yesterday I attended L-SPARK’s Female Founders and Funders event, along with 200+ other women and men, who were seeking local inspiration and insights during a sunny spring afternoon.
The event featured opening remarks from:
- Erin Blaskie (@ErinBlaskie), Director of Marketing at L-SPARK
- Solange Tuyishime (@MissSolange), UNICEF Canada Ambassador, President of Elevate International and former Miss Canada
Followed by a PwC Panel focused on ‘Multiplying Success: Why Investing in Women-led Businesses is Smart Business’ moderated by Tanya Hill-Larivière, Senior Manager in PwC’s Tax Practice and featuring:
- Diana Davies-Harju, Founding Member and CMO, Magnifi
- Jennifer Francis, Principal, Cafe Noir Consulting and Board Chair, Capital Angels Network
- Suzanne Grant, Co-Founder and CEO, iBIONICS
- Vicki Iverson, Co-Founder and CTO, Iversoft
Rima Aristocrat, President and CEO of Willis College was present for the announcement of their new Women in Technology Scholarship (WITS) in Cybersecurity Education, with three scholarships available to be awarded over a period of three years (2018, 2019 and 2020).
Each Scholarship will be valued at approximately $25,000! 💸💸💸 This covers tuition, books, industry certification, industry lab costs and a one-year co-op term.
There was a short break for networking before the second ‘Female Founders Panel’ moderated by Megan Cornell, Founder and CEO, Momentum Business Law and featuring:
- Terri Storey, Founder and CEO, SnapClarity, President of Terrace Wellness Group Terrace Youth Residential Services (TYRS)
- Dr. Lindy Ledohowski, Co-Founder and CEO, EssayJack Inc
- Karla Briones, Founder, Karla Briones Consulting and Owner, Global Pet Foods, Freshii and Frida’s Attic
- Susan Richards, Co-Founder, Givopoly and Numbercrunch Inc.
Sarah Daniele, CEO, Mydoma Studio and a member of L-SPARK, gave closing remarks about her experience as an entrepreneur and listening to “the little voice inside” which encouraged her to go for it.
Key takeaways and quotes included:
- Gender differences in VC pitches: men emphasize what is possible and ask for more money, showing shorter term hockey stick growth (often within three years), whereas, women conduct more due diligence, focus on presenting what is probable and ask for less money (often showing a conservative five to six year growth period). However, it often takes seven to 10 years to see a return on your angel investment, regardless of gender.
- Investors look for risk and lower their expectations based on what’s being pitched – if you present a realistic picture for growth it doesn’t leave them much room to see 10X growth but if you present it as a rocket ship period of growth, it is easier for them to picture how it could work.
- A study from Harvard Business Review focusing on pitches from male and female founders demonstrated the questions geared towards men were more positive and promotional “What is the market opportunity?” as opposed to women receiving a more negative approach which makes the recipient more defensive. However, you can still always reframe your answers as though you have been asked a positive and promotional question, in order to turn the conversation around!
- Women need to keep being visible, role modelling is important – if I can see her, I can be her.
- We need less talking and more action (events like this) and empowerment in the tech industry.
- Both men and women need to continue to support female founders, women in STEM and actively promoting female leadership.
- Invest, know your stuff and keep looking for voids and filling them.
- Nine women can’t make a baby in one month – success in business takes time. (Since I am eight months pregnant at the moment that was a bit of an ice breaker for me…met lots of new people yesterday!)
- Fortune favours the bold and the brave.
- Take intelligent risks and learn from your mistakes.
- Pursue your dreams and listen to the little voice if it’s telling you to become an entrepreneur.
- Get money early in the game.
- Prioritize – don’t try and be everything at once, trust in your support systems.
- Hire slowly, fire quickly.
Resources and reading material:
- Harvard Business Review – We Recorded VCs’ Conversations and Analyzed How Differently They Talk About Female Entrepreneurs – May 17, 2017
- Harvard Business Review – Male and Female Entrepreneurs Get Asked Different Questions by VCs — and It Affects How Much Funding They Get – June 27, 2017
- for more pics and posts from the day, follow @LSPARKGlobal and search for the #FemaleFounders hashtag on Twitter and LinkedIn.
📆 Looking for business support and networking events to participate in?
Check out these organizations and Ottawa-area chapters!
- Startup Ottawa
- Invest Ottawa
- OneEleven – Ottawa location coming in July!
- Ottawa Chamber of Commerce
- City of Ottawa Business Improvement Areas
- Women’s Business Network
- Ottawa Library Business Resources
- Impact Hub Ottawa Chapter
- Founder Institute Ottawa Chapter
- Lead to Win
- Startup Garage
- The Ottawa Network
- TiE Ottawa
- Idea Distillery
- The Awesome Foundation Ottawa Chapter
- Creative Mornings Ottawa Chapter
Looking to attend daytime professional development opportunities in Ottawa but have young children and limited time?
Subscribe for details on the launch of a new ‘Babies, Business and Breakfast‘ pilot program! 👶🏼📈☕️