A platform that aims to increase access to women-led capital for women-led businesses is coming to Edmonton. The51which started in Calgary, offers two separate funds and a membership that includes coaching and mentoring.
“There aren’t enough female investors; there aren’t enough female founders receiving capital. There just aren’t enough females,” said Kristina Milke. The name of the organization refers to the fact that women make up 51% of the population, but startups founded by women only receive 2.3% of venture capital.
Milke, managing partner at Germination fundswith Nicole Janssen from AltaML and Sharleen Oborowsky of Yogapediahelp The51 establish themselves in Edmonton as ambassadors for the organization.
Janssen, a member of The51, faced hurdles in seeking investments as co-CEO of AltaML. “I co-founded the business with my husband, and we know our best chance of getting funding is for him to come out and be the face of the business. It’s a strategic move even though we’re not okay,” she told Taproot. . Janssen has also been told by investors that they “would never invest in a married couple.”
She hopes that mentoring entrepreneurs, combined with engaging women investors and teaching them how to assess businesses and invest, will boost promising women-led businesses in Edmonton.
“You hear over and over again from any visible diversity group that they always feel a lot more comfortable when they see people like them,” Janssen added. “So if you think of female founders who might already have fears about presenting to a group of men, imagine how much better they might feel presenting to a group of women.”
The51 launches in Edmonton on May 12, with co-CEOs Judy Fairburn and Shelley Kuipers in attendance. They’ll be able to answer questions about funds on the platform, like the industry-independent Fund I, which has invested in start-ups like Edmonton’s. Actual angle and Areto Laboratoriesand its new Food & AgTech fund.