Startup Weekend Femmes Montreal puts women’s business ideas first


The weekend of July 7th-9th, Startup Weekend Femmes Montreal is holding a 54-hour competition aimed at fostering female entrepreneurship.

Organized by Fondation Montréal inc. in collaboration with Tout le Monde UXailes and LORI.Biz, the event is open to both men and women, but only female participants are able to pitch business ideas. On Friday evening, participants with a business idea pitch it to the crowd.  After a popular vote, the ten most popular ideas are selected for teams to be formed around.   After two days of hard work, teams pitch the viable project to a panel of 5 judges: Sergio Escobar, Isabelle Mallet, Julie Delisle, Yeona Jang, and Amélie Morency.

“At Fondation Montréal, we are a non-for-profit organization which helps Montreal-based entrepreneurs,”Stéphanie Schwanen, Communications and Events officer at Fondation Montréal told MTLinTECH. “And although studies show that women tend to launch their businesses more and more, we realized that the statistics showed that less and less women were applying for grants. We were mystified by that, we didn’t understand it, so when we went out and did a quick survey across Montreal. We realized that sometimes female entrepreneurs tend to want to start their businesses on their own and not ask for help, thinking maybe it’s a weakness to ask for help. And sometimes there’s a lot of fears associated with starting their own businesses. They tend to doubt themselves more than male entrepreneurs. So we decided to take some action to stimulate female entrepreneurship and give confidence to women who have a business idea.”

Startup Weekend Femmes Montreal was one solution. Fondation Montréal launched their first version of the event in 2016, and due to its success, they’ve decided to do it again.

“We had 90 participants and 85% of them were women. It was really a success, because Techstars, who own the concept of Startup Weekend, says that even at events that are targeted at women, usually only 20% of the participants are women. We were really happy with that, and realized there was definitely a need for this type of event. It’s really a complete event. You get to work on an idea, validate it, pitch it, and also grow your network of contacts. So it really gives you confidence.”

While not all of the prizes have been revealed yet, some of them will include: a seat at a co-working space in Montreal, and a ticket to Startupfest the following weekend for the winning team.

The event will take place at Sid Lee, 8 rue Queen, July 7th-9th. Click here to buy tickets for the event.

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