DivE In: October 2023

A report released by #movethedial highlights that only 5% of Canadian tech companies have a solo female founder or a solo female CEO and women comprise 13% of the average tech company’s executive team, while 53% of tech companies have no female executives at all. With the current state of women entrepreneurs in tech, this month’s blog aims to empower women entrepreneurs and provide resources and possibly increase the participation and advancement of women in technology.

If you are looking to increase representation on your executive team, the 50-30 challenge toolkit is a great resource that offers leading practices to advance equity, diversity and inclusion within your organization. Contact Mary at  maryoyeneyin@venturelabs.ca for more information.


Empowering women in tech

Women are changing the game in tech as entrepreneurs, founders, leaders, and investors and they need to be supported. The Fast Company Executive Board highlights how we can empower those who are changing the game in tech.

Female founders paving the way in tech

A part of empowering and increasing the advancement of female entrepreneurs in technology is highlighting some female founders who are paving the way to show that success for women in tech can be the norm. Here are some of them. 

Funding resources for growing companies

Navigating funding sources and discovering new investors can be difficult when starting or expanding a business. Capital Compass BC offers a one-stop site to access funding related resources in BC and link businesses to potential investors around the world. Capital Compass BC can be a valuable asset for growing companies

Develop and operationalize new innovations

Are you looking for an opportunity to be able to develop, test, and market your innovative ideas? The Integrated Marketplace, an initiative by the Government of Canada and Government of BC, provides a platform for B.C. technology companies to develop and operationalize new innovations that address business challenges. 

8 ways to achieve equitable representation

How can we make positions in innovation more accessible and rewarding for women across all sectors? This report from PWC highlights 8 actionable behavioral changes to achieve equitable representation of women-identified people.


  • November 1, 2023 – February 21, 2024 – Are you ready to take the next step in your career? Opening Doors is WCT’s tailor-made program for women, anyone who identifies or expresses themselves as a woman ages 25-35. Learn and apply essential skills to elevate your professional presence and career.
  • November 7, 2023Join SCWIST to learn about building your career plan. This workshop will support attendees in building out a concrete career map that sets the stage for them to achieve their goals.
  • November 9, 2023 – How Can Tech Startups Be Sure They Build The Right Product? Learn how to identify the right UX talent to build products that resonate with users.
  • November 16, 2023 – Celebrating Women’s Entrepreneurship Day: Showcasing, Sharing and Sparking Impact. In celebration of women’s entrepreneurship day, join SFU VentureLabs and The Forum for an evening of connecting with like-minded individuals, gaining valuable insights and information on the entrepreneurial journey. To register, contact maryoyeneyin@venturelabs.ca
  • Are you a visionary FemTech founder with groundbreaking ideas? Do you have a passion for revolutionizing women’s health and wellness? The FemTech Breakfast aims to bring together all tech ecosystem partners to support and gain knowledge about FemTech opportunities in Canada. Application deadline is Dec 1, 2023.
  • May 10, 2024 – Have you been searching for a new job opportunity? Or do you want to learn about ways to leverage your professional skills in today’s job market? SCWIST’s annual STEM career fair is dedicated to helping women, the 2SLGBTQ+ community, racialized communities, new immigrants, individuals with disabilities and other under-represented groups accelerate their career development.


  • Are you looking for a community of diverse STEM professionals to share your experience and support your STEM career? MakePossible is a mentoring community designed to support and empower STEM professionals in their career journeys .
  • While addressing gender diversity in the tech industry is a complex socio-cultural problem, there are tools and strategies available to tech employers to make their recruitment and workplaces more inclusive. Learn more about gender equity in Canada’s Tech ecosystem 
  • From a national and global perspective, the underrepresentation of women has adverse effects on the economy. Learn about the implications of underrepresentation of women to the economy and why there are few female tech entrepreneurs in 2023.


The WEKH See It. Be It. Database spotlights the stories of women entrepreneurs making an impact.

Brenda Irwin is the founder and managing partner of Relentless Venture Fund, a venture capital firm in the healthcare industry. With over two decades of experience in venture capitalism, Brenda has a proven track record in sourcing, structuring, and closing financial transactions. Prior to starting Relentless Venture Fund, she was a Partner at Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) where she managed a $100M portfolio and co-founded an angel investment group alongside Olympian Simon Whitfield. Brenda is also an EIR for Life Sciences BC’s “Investor Readiness Program”, an associate of Creative Destruction Lab (CDL), and former member of the national Digital Supercluster’s Project Selection Committee.

VentureLabs has partnered with Toronto Metropolitan University’s Diversity Institute as a BC partner for the 50 – 30 Challenge.


The Challenge is aimed at advancing gender parity and increasing diversity on boards and in senior leadership roles. The aim:

  • 50% of board seats and leadership roles held by women and non-binary people
  • 30% of board seats and leadership roles held by members of other under-represented and/or equity-seeking groups (including racialized, Black and/or people of colour, people with disabilities, LGBTQ2+ people, and Indigenous people)

VentureLabs is proud to be the Regional Hub for the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH) in BC. We are driven to create a more inclusive and supportive environment to grow women’s entrepreneurship in Canada. We challenge stereotypes, overcome barriers, and bring resources together in support of women entrepreneurs.

WEKH is a Government of Canada initiative that brings together service providers, programs, partners, and research across Canada in support of women entrepreneurs.

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