Women-owned businesses receive startup support from Startup Canada and Evolocity Financial Group

October 19, 2016 | Startup Canada and Evolocity Financial Group announced today that four women-owned enterprises will receive micro-grants to cover startup costs through the Startup Canada Women Founders Fund, powered by Evolocity Financial Group.

Launched in August 2016, the Startup Canada Women Founders Fund aims to alleviate some of the financial barriers women face when starting up by providing micro-grants that can be leveraged to support operations and access to growth opportunities including trade missions and skills development.

“While the number of women starting businesses is increasing at double the rate of men, women receive less than 5 per cent of venture capital and regularly face obstacles accessing other types of funding,” said Marissa McTasney, Startup Canada Women Entrepreneur Fellow, Founder of Moxie Trades and Fund adjudicator. “The Startup Canada Women Founders Fund provides opportunities for women to start-up strong and prepare to scale. We look forward to seeing the recipients grow their companies and create meaningful impact in their communities.”

The 2016 recipients of the Startup Canada Women Founders Fund are:

  • Shecosystem Coworking and Wellness, a coworking and wellness environment where women thrive. Founded by Emily Rose Antflick, Shecosystem will open its Bloor Street location in Toronto this Fall.
  • Spreza, a transcription company that provides automatic speech to text and live captioning for greater information accessibility. Co-founded by Heather Evans, Spreza’s first product, Spreza.Transcribe is available at www.spreza.co.
  • Welbi, a platform that helps families take care of their elderly loved ones by detecting threatening situations. Co-founded by Elizabeth Audette-Bourdeau, Welbi uses smart watches to monitor and analyse the health of seniors.
  • YUMiBOX by YUMiTRITION, a subscription box company that sells whole grain products to support diabetic blood sugar control. Co-founded by Mengyin Hong and Zoey Li, YUMiTRITION provides healthy carbohydrate options for diabetics.

The fund was adjudicated by a diverse group of entrepreneurs and community leaders including Marissa McTasney, David Souaid, Co-Founder and President of Evolocity Financial Group, Victoria Lennox, CEO and Co-Founder of Startup Canada, and Kari Gordon, leader of Startup Calgary.

“I was so impressed with the quality of the applicant’s ideas and as an entrepreneur, I find myself inspired by them,” said David Souaid, Co-Founder and President of Evolocity Financial Group. “They expressed such a spirit of innovation, disruption, and ultimately the desire to help others through their businesses. So, although the decision was a difficult one, I know I speak for all of us when I say that we are excited to be able to help these entrepreneurs push their start-up businesses to new levels.”

The Women Founders Fund is the first joint initiative between Startup Canada and Evolocity Financial Group. For almost a decade, Evolocity Financial Group has worked with entrepreneurs in Canada by providing them with access to capital through their Financing Programs. Together, the organizations hope to empower women entrepreneurs and drive awareness of the importance of women in business.

Quotes from the recipients:

“I am honoured to be a recipient of this grant. With Shecosystem only two weeks away from the official opening of our coworking and wellness space, this funding will allow me to strengthen my operational capacity so I can focus on serving my community of women entrepreneurs.” – Emily Rose Antflick, Founder and Chief Community Cultivator Shecosystem Coworking + Wellness.

“The support from Startup Canada and Evolocity Financial Group means the world to me and our team. We are tackling a very daunting problem; increasing accessibility for the hard of hearing by improving speech to text technology. The support of Startup Canada and Evolocity Financial Group will help us share our story with more people, and invest further in our technological development. Thank you so much!” – Heather Evans, Co-Founder of Spreza.

“Welbi is in its crucial development period. This opportunity will allow us to expand our team and resources to accelerate our growth in our market. Furthermore, the support offered by the Startup Canada Women Founders Fund will be extremely significant in our quest to help save lives.” – Elizabeth Audette-Bourdeau, Co-Founder of Welbi.

“My co-founder Zoey and I are honored to receive this grant. YUMiBOX is a startup run by women, and for that we are proud. We’re here to push for health, nutrition and innovation with each bite. We’re not just about food products – we help people transition to a healthier lifestyle, starting with healthy carbs. With the grant, we will be able to participate in more health professional events and develop our knowledge platform to provide validated nutritional support.” – Mengyin Hong, Co-Founder of YUMiBOX by YUMiTRITION.

For more information and to schedule interviews, please contact:

Kathryn Forrest

National Communications, Marketing and Government Relations Manager

Startup Canada

613-627-0787 ext. 106


About Startup Canada

Startup Canada is the leading national social enterprise supporting and giving a voice to entrepreneurs through online programs, national awards, flagship events, and partnerships with private sector and government to foster a community for startup and small business success across the country. Learn more at startupcan.ca.

About Evolocity Financial Group

Evolocity Financial Group is a Canadian owned and operated company. With an experienced management team who have been in the finance industry for over 25 years, they understand the capital needs of your small-medium sized business. Evolocity Financial Group will collaborate with you to evaluate your unique financial situation and tailor their services accordingly. Their technology-driven solution provides your business with transparent access to growth capital – quickly.

Kathryn Forrest
Kathryn Forrest

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