Lessons from the L-SPARK Female Founders and Funders Event

Notes From Another Land | Amy Lynch | Female Founder

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:

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:

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:

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:

📆 Looking for business support and networking events to participate in?
Check out these organizations and Ottawa-area chapters!

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! 👶🏼📈☕️

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