Communitech Fierce Founders Uplift Announces First Participants
Founders from underrepresented groups across Canada to level the playing field and shatter glass ceilings
KITCHENER, ONT., February 19, 2021 —Today Communitech is pleased to announce 10 founders selected to the Communitech Fierce Founders Uplift program. Communitech Fierce Founders Uplift is designed to help underrepresented and minority women grow their startups or small businesses. Woman-identifying and/or non-binary founders from underrepresented groups with early-stage businesses in the program will receive $10,000 in non-matching funds and professional coaching. The program begins in March 2021 and is tailored to the needs of each founder. Programming is expected to run for up to five months.
Participants of Communitech Fierce Founders Uplift include:
Fatima Khamitova, Veer AI (Toronto, ON)
Pandora Cassandra Wilhelm, Mulberry Design and Engravings (Linwood, ON)
Miki Kawano, Backr (Kingston, ON)
Eyra Abraham, Lisnen Inc. (Toronto, ON)
Audrey Samb, SetEasy (Vancouver, BC)
Jane Sun, Solver Gen Inc. (Kitchener, ON)
Kathleen Chan, Calico (Toronto, ON)
Minelli Clements, LorCan Technologies Inc. (Waterloo, ON)
Ravina Anand, FLIK (Vancouver, BC)
Shuhe Li, Salutech Limited (Toronto, ON)
“I'm thrilled to be selected for the Fierce Founders Uplift program which will accelerate our growth with continued support," said Eyra Abraham, founder of Lisnen. "I started my Communitech journey with the Fierce Founders Bootcamp in 2020 which sparked Lisnen's business growth with new funding, collaborative initiative, and product development traction. The resources and network provided by Communitech have been of tremendous value, not only as a founder but for the company, and Canada's assistive tech industry, as we are developing deep tech for people with hearing loss.”
Communitech's women in tech initiatives have helped women entrepreneurs grow their businesses since 2014. Today, Communitech Fierce Founders Uplift aims to help level the playing field by providing these founders the resources vital to grow and succeed.
“We know that many women, especially Black, Indigenous, and women of colour, face multiple systemic barriers to success,” said the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Diversity and Inclusion and Youth. “The need for programs to support all women, including those from racialized communities, is as important as it has ever been. Communitech’s Fierce Founders Uplift provides a real opportunity to help level the playing field and pave the way for future generations of entrepreneurs across Canada. The Government of Canada is proud to support programs like this.”
The ten founders will each receive financial support of $10,000 and professional growth coaching to move their businesses forward. Funding provided by Uplift is not required to be matched by the founders themselves, which is often a requirement in other startup programs. Communitech Fierce Founders Uplift is supported by Google for Startups and FedDev Ontario.
“In Canada, we know that our strength lies in our diversity. The Government of Canada is committed to reducing systemic inequities for all, including entrepreneurs, and is proud to support the mission of Fierce Founders Uplift to actively create opportunities for underrepresented communities,” said the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages.
Communitech Fierce Founders Uplift is a part of the Fierce Founders series of programs. Participants of Fierce Founders Uplift can also apply for Fierce Founders Intensive Track - a program for women-identifying and/or non-binary founders to receive $50,000 in matching funds and hands-on experience with Communitech growth coaches. Founders with businesses not yet ready to participate in Fierce Founders Uplift are encouraged to apply to Fierce Founders Bootcamp - a fast-paced business and personal growth program for earlier stage companies. Other Fierce Founders programs are also supported by BMO for Women and BDC.
For more information about Communitech Fierce Founders Uplift and other Fierce Founders programs, please visit our website.
For media inquiries, please contact:
Director, Communications and Editorial
Communitech was founded in 1997 by a group of entrepreneurs committed to making Waterloo Region a global innovation leader. At the time it was just a wild idea, but somehow this community managed to pull it off. Today, Communitech is a public-private innovation hub that supports a community of more than 1,600 companies — from startups to scale-ups to large global players.
Communitech helps tech companies start, grow and succeed in three distinct ways.
- Communitech is a place – the centre of gravity for entrepreneurs and innovators. A clubhouse for building cool tech and great companies.
- Communitech delivers programs – helping companies at all stages with access to capital, customers and talent. We are here to help them grow and innovate.
- Communitech partners in building a world-leading ecosystem – making sure we have all the ingredients (and the brand) to help companies go from a small startup to a global giant.