An annual entrepreneurship competitors for ladies has taken on new significance this 12 months because of the disproportionate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on girls employees.
In April, girls’s participation within the Canadian workforce — the share of the working-age inhabitants that’s working or searching for work — fell to 55 per cent, a level last seen in May 1986. Greater than 1.5 million girls in Canada misplaced their jobs within the first two months of the pandemic.
Paulina Cameron is CEO of the Discussion board for Girls Entrepreneurs, a charity that runs the Pitch for the Purse competitors. The competitors is accepting functions from girls entrepreneurs who’ve a enterprise pitch. The prizes embrace $25,000 for the finalist, $5,000 for the 2 runners-up, and devoted mentoring.
Cameron says girls entrepreneurs — who had been already in a troublesome place earlier than the pandemic — have suffered large losses.
“We noticed that ladies did not have the buffers to climate the sudden and vital storm that … hit, so many needed to shut down straight away,” Cameron stated.
On common, Cameron says, lower than 4 per cent of enterprise capital in Canada goes to white girls entrepreneurs, with negligible quantities going to Indigenous or Black girls.
“We all know that ladies are 3 times extra more likely to be discouraged to borrow funding. And on account of that, they usually are working smaller companies … and haven’t got the identical capability or entry to the sources that they should convey their nice large visions to life,” she stated.
Patrice Mousseau, the founding father of Satya Organics and a 2018 finalist within the competitors, says beginning her enterprise was a significant wrestle.
“I am a single mother. I am additionally an Indigenous individual. And for me, discovering finance to start out the enterprise was extraordinarily tough and continues to be,” Mousseau stated.
Whereas her firm has grown considerably from its authentic start-up, Mousseau says that is as a result of girls are compelled to be inventive and resourceful.
“Girls in enterprise are inclined to do extra with much less, as a result of we’ve got much less,” she stated. “What may we do if we had been really supported, at the very least to the extent that our male counterparts are being supported?”
This 12 months’s competitors — which shall be digital — is a manner of supporting and mentoring girls throughout a troublesome time, Cameron says.
“You realize, nonetheless the picture round that may be a younger man with a hoodie and flip-flops and a baseball cap in his basement working a tech enterprise from his pc,” stated Cameron.
“Success doesn’t look one sure manner … there are such a lot of completely different tales and narratives.”
Purposes are open till Oct. 23. The competitors winners shall be introduced in February.