Women entrepreneurs from diverse and underrepresented groups

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Leveraging Queen's resources and critical funding from the government of Canada, through its Women Entrepreneurship Strategy Ecosystem Fund administered by FedDev Ontario, Queen’s Partnerships and Innovation (QPI), together with innovation ecosystem partners, offer several programs and services to help women-identifying entrepreneurs from diverse and underrepresented groups, including women who have founded or who lead technology companies, women who identify as Indigenous, women from racialized communities, newcomer women to Canada, women with a disability, women from rural areas, women under 40, and females who self-identify as a part of the LGBTQ2S community.

We invite you to browse our list of programs and services in the table below.

If you are interested in accessing many of our programs and services, please complete our Program Application Form 

You may also be interested in exploring programs and services for Women Entrepreneurs in a Technology Sector or Women Entrepreneurs who Identify as Indigenous.

We invite you to visit our WE-CAN Resources page to find valuable information and resources to help you with your business needs.

Veuillez  nous contacter pour discuter de vos intérêts et des services que nous pourrions offrir en français.

Programs and services for women entrepreneurs from diverse and underrepresented groups

Led by the Kingston Economic Development Corporation, Hire Yourself is a program designed to support women who are newcomers to Canada (last 10 years) who are interested in starting a business in Kingston. The purpose of the program is to support women newcomers in starting their own business, strengthening their entrepreneurial skillset, and supporting them in the launch of their business. Bootcamps will be delivered twice a year by a specialized team. One-on-one consultation services will also be available to support business launches.

This program is offered for women entrepreneurs in the greater Kingston area who are interested in starting or growing a business and who self-identify as a newcomer to Canada, including but not limited to those belonging to a visible/racialized minority, or someone with a disability.

For more information about the Hire Yourself program, please visit the Kingston Economic Development website 

Led by the Kingston Economic Development Corporation, the Rural Mentorship program will provide dedicated mentorship tailored to support the individual business challenges of the participating rural, women entrepreneurs. The suite of mentors will include regional business leaders and service providers selected for their specific expertise and experience. This program will break down the geographic barriers and develop a long-lasting mentorship and mastermind outreach series to support business growth.

This program is designed for women entrepreneurs starting or growing businesses in rural areas outside the urban centre of Kingston. Priority will be given to rural women in the Frontenac County and Lennox & County areas if programs/services are oversubscribed.

Led by the Kingston Economic Development Corporation, the LEAD (Leadership Excellence and Development) program aims to engage and encourage dialogue, professional growth and knowledge-sharing through a formalized, supportive network of women in C-suite leadership roles in the greater Kingston area.

 Contact us for more information about the Women in Leadership program

This program is open to Kingston area woman entrepreneurs who are looking to grow their business. Meeting one-on-one with the WE-CAN Project Manager, WE-CAN clients create a focused Growth Plan to help move their business forward.

Priority is given to women entrepreneurs who identify with one of the following WE-CAN core service groups. 

 To learn more about the program contact Kerry Ramsay, WE-CAN Project Manager.

The WE-CAN Masterminds runs twice a year (June – December and January – June). There are two Mastermind groups: one for companies in the early stage of business (1-2 years) and one for those in the growth stage of their business (3+ years). Each Mastermind will be comprised of 8-10 participants. Priority is given to women entrepreneurs who identify with one of the following WE-CAN core service groups.

IMPORTANT: Participants must commit to consistent Mastermind attendance and engagement in order to ensure the highest possible quality of participation and results for all group members. 

Why join a Mastermind?

1. To become a part of a supportive micro-community of women entrepreneurs 
2. To challenge yourself to think differently about your business and its tactics/strategies 
3. To brainstorm ideas with other women business owners to work through a specific business challenge 
4. To discover and address your business blind spots 
5. To gain valuable feedback from a group of women entrepreneurs in a supportive environment 
6. To work through your business challenge through regular, focused group discussion 
7. To make more confident decisions and move your business forward 

 To learn more, contact Kerry Ramsay, WE-CAN Project Manager.

PropelHER is a 5-person cohort, 20-week accelerator program crafted to remove the barriers to scale-up experienced by women entrepreneurs. This program recognizes the unique attributes of each enterprise, and the needs of individual founders. The programs’ value proposition leverages the synergy of group lived experience, plus individual business and personal development learnings, translated to implementation.

Priority is given to women entrepreneurs who identify with one of the following WE-CAN core service groups. 

 To learn more about the program contact Kerry Ramsay, WE-CAN Project Manager.

Led by the Kingston Economic Development Corporation, the Fast Track Exporting program is designed for women entrepreneurs who reside in the greater Kingston area who are leading high-growth companies aiming to reach international markets through exporting options and have potential for significant return on investment. The program will engage women entrepreneurs who are seeking opportunities to scale their business through export, and will facilitate customized information sessions to assist them in the due diligence process to prepare for export opportunities. In addition, the program will support women entrepreneurs through the process of exporting and accessing new markets.

For more information about the Fast Track Exporting program for women entrepreneurs, please visit the Kingston Economic Development website 

Led by the Dunin-Deshpande Queen's Innovation Centre (DDQIC), The Hive is a year-round program for idea-stage women entrepreneurs, on a rolling admissions basis. This program will provide access to space, training, networking opportunities and an interactive online platform.

This program is designed for women in the greater Kingston area, with focus on women entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups, including those who are under the age of 40, who are curious about entrepreneurship.

 Contact DDQIC for more information about the The Hive program

Led by the DDQIC, Konnect is a 6-month Kingston-based program (October through March) that provides a network, support, and personal and professional development opportunities for women entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups who are starting a business in Kingston. The Konnect program facilitates accountability, support, community, skill-building, and opportunities to amplify success in building businesses or advancing professionally.

This program is designed for women in the greater Kingston area, with a focus on women entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups, including those who are under the age of 40, who are curious about entrepreneurship.

 Contact us for more information about the Konnect program

SparQ Studios is a makerspace and design studio that provides a wide range of tools, machinery, knowledge, and expertise so that you can bring your idea into a physical form. The Dunin-Deshpande Queen's Innovation Centre will be running prototyping workshops for women entrepreneurs who are unfamiliar with working with the tools to help them be successful in the lab. Access to the prototyping space is limited due to COVID-19 restrictions.

 Request information about the prototyping workshops

The QPI team employs an on-staff mentor/advisor to specifically work with women entrepreneurs who are running a business, helping them to tap into networks and resources in Kingston and the region as well as providing advice on how to get their business to the next stage of development.

 Submit a request for additional membership services for women entrepreneurs from diverse and underrepresented groups.

Services

The QPI team helps women entrepreneurs with promising ideas or startups understand the opportunity for commercializing their invention by researching the existing patent landscape and helping provide guidance to develop and implement an intellectual property and commercialization strategy.

 Submit a request for Intellectual property services for women entrepreneurs from diverse or underrepresented groups

Workshops, events and other resources

The many partners in the Kingston innovation ecosystem offer numerous workshops and events. For information about the workshops and events available for Queen’s students, please visit the Queen's events calendar . For information about workshops and events for women entrepreneurs from diverse and underrepresented groups in the Kingston community and surrounding areas, refer to the following sources:

QPI is located in the Seaway Coworking  building in downtown Kingston. Our incubation and acceleration clients have access to the amenities available such as private Zoom rooms, a podcast studio and workshop and event space.

Please note COVID-19 restrictions are currently in place. Contact   Rick Boswell to learn more.

There are many resources available for women entrepreneurs. The QPI team has curated a list of resources, which you will be able to find on our WE-CAN Resources page.

  Visit our WE-CAN Resources page

In addition, the QPI team has compiled a list of resources to help regional entrepreneurs and startups, which you can find on our Resources page.

For resources specific to assisting entrepreneurs during the pandemic, please visit our COVID-19 Resources page.

Government of Canada Logo

We acknowledge the support of the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.

Nous reconnaissons l’appui du gouvernement du Canada à travers l’Agence fédérale de développement économique pour le Sud de l’Ontario.

While all of the following programs and services will be delivered in English, certain programs and services will be made available in French in accordance with the terms of the Contribution Agreement between Queen’s University and the Government of Canada. Please   contact us to discuss your interests and needs.

Alors que tous les programmes et services seront offerts en anglais, certains programmes et services seront accessibles en français conformément aux modalités de l’accord de contribution entre l’Université Queen’s et le gouvernement du Canada. Prenez   contact avec nous pour discuter de vos intérêts et de vos besoins.