It might be cold outside, but the competition inside Kitchener Communitech is just heating up.
The Communitech Fierce Founders Bootcamp begins this week, featuring 25 female entrepreneurs from some of the most buzzworthy new startups in the country. The two-part bootcamp brings together an all-woman cast of early-stage founders to develop business skills and prep them for the fast-approaching pitch day on February 15.
On pitch day, the 25 different founders will compete to win up to $100,000 for their companies. The list of entrepreneurs is deep:
- Chrissy Rossiter, Peachy (St. John’s, NL)
- Harpreet Bain, AVA Technologies (Vancouver, BC)
- Josette-Renee Landry, Streamline Genomics (Montreal, QC)
- Natasha Dhayagude, Chinova Bioworks (Fredericton, NB)
- Erika Murray, Date Mua (Toronto, ON)
- Nagiz Mammadova, Destin AI (Toronto, ON)
- Sarah Juma, Style ID (Kitchener, ON)
- Daryna Kulya, OpenPhone (Kitchener, ON)
- Kara Holm, Play the Field (Nova Scotia, CA)
- Margaret Finan, IfthenGiving (Buffalo, NY)
- Monika Jaroszonek, Ratio.City (Toronto, ON)
- Kate Dye, Hilite (Kitchener, ON)
- Lisa Pfister, PFERA (New Brunswick, CA)
- Jen Stokes, ChezDine (Hamilton, ON)
- Anita Grant, Fleeky (Stoney Creek, ON)
- Krysta Traianovski, BrightGuide (Kitchener, ON)
- Stephania Stefanakou, House of Anesi (Toronto, ON)
- Erin Laidley, Innovative Protein Technologies (Kitchener, ON)
- Serese Selanders, ORA (Saskatoon, SK)
- Charlene Nadalin, Amintro (Toronto, ON)
- Sophia Dizon, Bucketpoints (Toronto, ON
- Maya Strasser, Jauntin (Toronto, ON)
- Nancy Ortenburg, CEI (Oakville, ON)
- Keira Devine, Parental Marketplace (New Brunswick, CA)
- Ally Baker, FurEvery (Kitchener, ON)
There is a good representation from across Canada, with only one founder from outside the country. Toronto is represented the most with seven total founders calling the largest city in Canada home, but applicants from Vancouver, Fredericton, St. John’s and more bring a good amount of geographical diversity to Fierce Founders.
“This is a strong group of women from all over North America running unique businesses, from a shared marketplace for parents, to an immigration assistant that incorporates artificial intelligence,” said Kelly McGregor, Fierce Founders program manager at Communitech. “We’re already impressed with them and can’t wait to see how they grow as business leaders and entrepreneurs.”
Throughout the bootcamp beginning this week, founders will participate in classes and workshops to learn about the best ways to run a startup. There will be a breadth of topics covered, including customer discovery, funding, marketing and more. Before they all deliver their final pitch for a shot at funding, founders will have a chance to receive coaching and feedback on how well they sell and describe their company.
Fierce Founders is a Communitech-led initiative sponsored by the likes of Deloitte, Google Developers and the Government of Canada. The Fierce Founders accelerator is a similar program but instead of a bootcamp offers a six-month learn-by-doing program that offers up to $30,000 of equity-free investments. The top three companies from the pitch competition are offered spots in the accelerator.
The last Fierce Founders bootcamp finished up this past August and saw Fredericton’s SomaDetect and Toronto’s Furnishr pick up $50,000 in funding each.