By Leo Valiquette
Alex’s post on Monday about the economic necessity of supporting investment in more women-led startups is all the more timely as it comes the same week that we cheer the release of Startup Canada’s Action Plan to drive economic development, job creation and innovation coast to coast.
During its 40-city Canadian tour over the past year, Startup Canada confirmed what those of us involved with the startup community already know:
- Canadians in general are hyper-rational and risk averse, and view entrepreneurship with disbelief, mistrust and apathy.
- Young people are often unaware of what it means to be an entrepreneur, and are not educated in the basics of what it takes to launch and grow a business.
- Young people are often dissuaded by parents, school guidance counsellors and other influencers from pursuing entrepreneurship as a career path.
By Alexandra Reid
Maple Leaf Angels is working with Canadian Women in Technology to create investment opportunities between angels and women-led startup companies.
More than 60 angel investors, entrepreneurs, partners and sponsors filled a room in Toronto last week to hear about why such investments are vital for Canada and to listen to pitches from some high-potential early-stage technology companies led by women.
In her speech, Dr. Cindy Gordon, a startup founder and former VC who also co-founded MLA, directed the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance and chaired CanWit, brought some valuable context to the conversation.
“In order for us to really be successful in supporting women in technology, we have to recognize that we have some fundamental issues that are catastrophic to this country,” said Dr. Gordon. “This is not a women’s issue. It’s a business imperative.”
By Linda Forrest
Reading yesterday’s post about the role formal education plays in entrepreneurship, I was reminded of an article I read a few months ago about the “real reason women quit engineering.”
In Stemming The Tide: Why Women Leave Engineering, two University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee professors report on their survey of over 3,700 women with engineering degrees. They found that just one in four women who had left the field reported doing so to spend more time with family. One third left “because they did not like the workplace climate, their boss or the culture,” while almost half departed due to “working conditions, too much travel, lack of advancement or low salary” (respondents were allowed to check more than one reason). The researchers also found that among women who got engineering degrees but never entered the field, a third made that decision “because of their perceptions of engineering as being inflexible or the engineering workplace culture as being non-supportive of women.” And, unsurprisingly, “Women engineers who were treated in a condescending, patronizing manner, and were belittled and undermined by their supervisors and co-workers were most likely to want to leave their organizations.”