Queen’s University and L-SPARK, an Ottawa-based accelerator, announced the launch of Compass North, a new acceleration program specifically designed for women founders in Kingston and region with posted revenues in a technology sector.

In August, the Government of Canada, through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy Ecosystem Fund, announced a contribution of $3.2 million for Queen’s University to design and deliver programs and services to accelerate, train, mentor and provide resources to women entrepreneurs and women-led companies in the community. These programs will focus on women entrepreneurs from diverse and underrepresented groups.

Compass North is the first of the new programs to be unveiled by Queen’s. The program provides mentorship and matches every founder with a mentor to help plan strategically and reach goals and objectives. The program is cohort-based, providing participants with the support of their peers throughout. Compass North has an advisory group to oversee the program, including Shopify’s Global Wellness Specialist Chivon John, Connections Silicon Valley Chief Executive Officer Joanne Fedeyko, and entrepreneur Mallory Rowan.

“Queen’s University is delighted to be working with L-SPARK to design and deliver this program, which is part of an overall initiative to help address gaps and build capacity in the entrepreneurship ecosystem for women. We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Government of Canada through the Women’s Entrepreneurship Strategy Ecosystem Fund, delivered in the region by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario),” says Janice Mady, Director, Research and Innovation Partnerships at Queen’s. “The new program combines the proven L-SPARK acceleration model with additional features that focus on reducing barriers commonly faced by women entrepreneurs who are building technology-based companies.”

“Partnering with Queen’s University on this program aimed at women-led technology companies has presented an incredible opportunity for the advancement of women in our startup ecosystem. Through this program, founders will gain access to hands-on mentorship, strategic training, and access to a tight-knit community of entrepreneurs. We are thrilled to be a part of this initiative, which helps position Canada as a global leader in technology,” says Stef Reid, Senior Marketing Manager at L-SPARK.

To celebrate the launch, Queen’s and L-SPARK hosted an event which featured Queen’s alum Alyssa Furtado (co-founder of Ratehub Inc. and CEO of Ratehub.ca) as the keynote speaker and an engaging panel of women entrepreneurs who have built or are building successful technology-based companies in Kingston. The expert panel included Peng-Sang Cau, President and CEO of Transformix Engineering Inc.; Anne Vivian-Scott, President and CEO of Kinarm; and Christa Wallbridge, CEO and President of The Power Collective Inc.