Media release

Communitech’s Fierce Founders Uplift: Levelling the playing field and shattering glass ceilings

KITCHENER, ONT., December 03, 2020 — Today Communitech announces Fierce Founders Uplift to help underrepresented women grow their startups or small businesses. The new program will provide $10,000 in non-matching funds and professional coaching to 10 woman-identifying and/or non-binary founders from underrepresented groups with early-stage businesses. 

Since 2014, Communitech's Fierce Founders initiatives have helped women founders grow their businesses. Today, we know Canada’s underrepresented founders are struggling for a number of reasons, including the impacts of COVID-19 on economic growth and prosperity (Canadian Women Chamber of Commerce x Dream Foundation, 2020). 

"Being a woman in tech isn't easy. Being a woman in tech from an underrepresented or minority group is harder,” said Lisa Cashmore, Vice President, Start and Scale, Communitech. “Every time you add another level of underrepresentation, there are even more barriers founders from these groups need to overcome. Communitech's Fierce Founders Uplift is focused on helping those founders catch up to other women in tech and begin to level the playing field."

Ten founders will receive financial support of $10,000 with funding provided by Google for Startups, BMO for Women and BDC, and professional growth coaching funded by FedDev Ontario to move their businesses forward. Funding provided by Uplift is not required to be matched by the founders themselves, which is often a requirement in other startup programs. 

“Founders who have multiple layers of diversity often have less access to early-stage funding, such as seed funding and pre-seed funding from friends and family. We know this is one of many barriers to success, so we do not require funds provided by Fierce Founders Uplift to be matched,” said Cashmore. 

Fierce Founders Uplift is a part of the Fierce Founders series of programs. Participants of Fierce Founders Uplift can also apply for Fierce Founders Intensive Track - a program for women founders to receive $50,000 in matching funds and hands-on experience with Communitech growth coaches. Founders with businesses not yet ready to participate in Fierce Founders Uplift are encourage to apply to Fierce Founders Bootcamp - a fast-paced business and personal growth program for earlier stage companies.

Applications for Fierce Founders Uplift close on January 10, 2021 at 11:59 p.m. 


For media inquiries, please contact:

Candace Beres
Manager, Public Relations, Communitech
(519) 888-9944 Ext. 1027

About Communitech

Communitech was founded in 1997 by a group of entrepreneurs committed to making Waterloo Region a global innovation leader. At the time it was crazy talk, but somehow this community managed to pull it off. Today, Communitech is a public-private innovation hub that supports a community of more than 1,400 companies — from startups to scale-ups to large global players.

Communitech helps tech companies start, grow and succeed in three distinct ways.

  • Communitech is a place – the centre of gravity for entrepreneurs and innovators. A clubhouse for building cool tech and great companies.
  • Communitech delivers programs – helping companies at all stages with access to capital, customers and talent. We are here to help them grow and innovate.
  • Communitech partners in building a world-leading ecosystem – making sure we have all the ingredients (and the brand) to help companies go from a small startup to a global giant.