New funding partnerships kick-off research on Canadian women-led start-ups and venture capital success

January 13, 2021 / Lumira News

Ottawa, January 13, 2021 – The Conference Board of Canada is pleased to be undertaking new research that will explore the factors that lead to success for early stage technology companies. Specifically, the research aims to understand whether women and men entrepreneurs take different approaches early-on in their start-up journeys, and if that leads to different outcomes.  

“Recent research out of the U.S. suggests that women-led start-ups with venture capital backing tend to realize greater returns on investment compared to start-ups led by men” says Dr. Susan Black, Chief Executive Officer of The Conference Board of Canada. “We want to explore whether this pattern exists in Canada, and, if so, understand the implications and opportunities that this creates for further venture backing and longer-term success”. 

This work is also timely given that women entrepreneurs have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, and the importance of the tech sector for Canada’s productivity and innovation ecosystem explains Black.

Initial funding for the research was spearheaded by lead sponsor Northleaf Capital Partners and is further supported by fellow lead sponsor the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC).

“We are proud to support this important research focused on understanding the impact that women entrepreneurs have on realizing venture capital success,” says Lauren Harris, Director at Northleaf Capital Partners. “Our sponsorship reinforces our long-term commitment to fostering the understanding, promotion and advancement of gender balance, diversity and inclusion within Canadian venture capital firms, at venture backed companies and across the venture capital ecosystem as a whole.”

“This research is critical to understanding the similarities and differences that contribute to building successful global Canadian companies,” says Michelle Scarborough, Managing Partner, Strategic Investments and Women in Technology Venture Fund, BDC Capital. “The mandate of the BDC’s Women in Technology Venture Fund is to propel the growth of strong, scalable women-led tech companies and to inspire more women to play important leadership roles in tech as well as support the overall growth of a more diverse and inclusive culture in the tech and VC industries in Canada. This research will help us further understand how to achieve these goals.”

Michelle McBane, Managing Director, StandUp Ventures and inaugural member of the research project board: “At StandUp Ventures, we believe diversity can improve the bottom line and lead to new discoveries and breakthrough innovations.  Through our portfolio of women-led ventures, we’ve been able to see first-hand the kind of ‘magic’ that women leaders bring to the table.  We are excited to see this reflected in the data within the Canadian market, and further understand the factors that drive the advantages we see in our portfolio more deeply.”

The new research initiative is also being made possible thanks to key sponsors Lumira Ventures and Georgian, as well as supporting sponsors StandUp Ventures, Information Venture Partners, Golden Ventures, Economic Development Canada, iNovia Capital, and Teralys Capital.

How to participate as a research sponsor

Organizations interested in sponsoring this research can contact:
Susan Black, CEO, The Conference Board of Canada:

How to participate in the research

The research will involve key informant interviews with leaders of start-up Canadian companies with seed or Series A funding. If you are interested in participating in the research, please contact:

Beth Robertson, Senior Researcher, The Conference Board of Canada

About the Conference Board of Canada:

The Conference Board of Canada is the country’s leading independent research organization. Our mission is to empower and inspire leaders to build a stronger future for all Canadians through our trusted research and unparalleled connections.

Follow The Conference Board of Canada on Twitter @ConfBoardofCda

Media Contact: The Conference Board of Canada 
613-526-3090 ext. 224 or

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