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The Big Push Launches Pitch and Pair Program Across Canada

There’s always room for more events that highlight underrepresented groups in technology.

The Big Push has announced the launch of their Pitch and Pair program across Canada, a new initiative that matches up-and-coming women-led startups with industry-leading mentors form The Big Push itself. The events will take place in Montreal in March, Vancouver in June, and Ottawa in October, and provide early-stage companies with the ability to pitch their model and identify specific acceleration needs in front of an audience that would be willing to “roll up their sleeves and provide the services required,” as a release notes.

A final Pitch and {air event will be held in Toronto in late-2019 where 10 of the most promising women-led companies will pitch to nearly 1,000 participants.

That notion of having services offered to you is part of The Big Push’s sweat for equity model. Last year’s inaugural Pitch and Pair event in Toronto generated more than $1.75 million in services being offered to startups led or founded by women. The idea was to bring 10 women-led companies together with over 200 senior mentors from The Big Push network for an evening of match-making. Experts will be embedded with a company for a nine-month period, offering a minimum of 15 hours of free services per month. The mentors can offer services like sales, marketing, PR, recruitment, and more, and those skills can be worth upwards of $150,000 for an early-stage startup.

“This is more than just one evening of networking,” says Sharon Zohar, founder and CEO of The Big Push. “Each Pitch and Pair program takes place following an extensive due diligence process where each person in the room–including startup founders and experts–undergo extensive vetting by The Big Push Investment and Recruitment Committees.”

“Everyone selected to attend understands their role as an active participant in the evening: startups showcase their business and identify the areas in which they require support, and experts pick the company they would most like to work with. Following the event, startups and experts are paired and the work begins.”

The investment selection committee that will vet the selected startups is comprised of high-profile VC and accelerators such as Disruption Ventures, Real Ventures, Panache Ventures, and The Holt Accelerator.

The Big Push launched at the end of 2017 and was a breath of fresh air for the tech world, as it went beyond simply writing cheques and offered sweat equity. The organization exists to scale women-led companies through non-traditional means, letting founders keep more of their equity while still connecting with leading mentors and investors.

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