Women Entrepreneurship Strategy's Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative application guide

Table of contents

Section A: About the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy and the Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative

1. Introduction and background

Launched under Budget 2018, the Government of Canada's Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) aims to increase women-owned and led businesses' access to the financing, talent, networks and expertise they need to start up, scale up and access new markets.

The WES Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative has been designed to provide non-repayable contribution funding to projects led by not-for-profit organizations to strengthen and build a more inclusive venture capital environment for Canadian women.

This call will support not-for-profit organizations to foster connections, cultivate networks, and provide resources, training, and mentorship to address barriers for women in the venture capital environment.

Please note: This initiative will not support direct investment in funds, the creation of funds, or direct disbursements to entrepreneurs/enterprises, or research projects that are not directly serving the objectives and desired outcomes of the initiative.

2. The WES Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative call for proposals

Through Budget 2021 additional funding has been committed under WES for the creation of the Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative. Under this new call, $15 million has been allocated to support new projects focusing on responding to barriers in the venture capital environment, especially for diverse, intersectional and/or under-served women.  

Projects will support the objective of building a more inclusive venture capital environment, and could include initiatives that aim to: strengthen the capacity of women entrepreneurs to access venture capital funding; contribute to increasing representation of women in the venture capital industry; and initiatives that ensure that the venture capital industry is sensitive to gender and potential unconscious bias in their operations.

This initiative will not support direct investment in funds, the creation of funds, or direct disbursements to entrepreneurs/enterprises, or research projects that are not directly serving the objectives and desired outcomes of the initiative.

3. General information

This application guide has been developed to assist applicants in the completion of their project application for the Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative. This guide provides information on how to submit the application, as well as the assessment criteria against which the project will be assessed. Prior to starting your submission, please read this application guide in its entirety to ensure a clear understanding of the objectives and eligibility criteria.

Applicants may only submit one application for funding. Projects must demonstrate benefits to women in the venture capital environment.

Priority will be given to eligible organizations that deliver national services and focus on meeting the needs of diverse, intersectional and/or under-served women.

Applications should be submitted to the WES Central Inbox (wes-sfe@ised-isde.gc.ca) by June 20, 2022 (11:59 a.m. Pacific Time).

Applications will only be reviewed after the deadline. To be considered for funding, applicants must provide all the required information outlined in this application guide.  If your application package is incomplete, your application may be rejected. Late submissions will not be considered for funding.

If you experience technical difficulties or have any additional questions, please visit the Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative Webpage, contact the WES Central Inbox, or call 1-800-328-6189. Please note that 48 hours prior to the deadline for applications we are unable to guarantee a response from the WES central inbox. During that time, queries on technical issues will be prioritized.

It is highly recommended that applications be submitted well before the application submission deadline to ensure there are no unforeseen issues at the time of submission. Late applications due to technical issues within 24 hours of the deadline will not be considered acceptable grounds for late submission and may lead to your application not being considered further for funding.

Section B: Eligibility, costs and application process

4. Eligibility requirements

i. Eligible organizations

The lead applicant must be a Canadian not-for-profit organization with minimum of two years of operating experienceNote * (by June 20, 2022) with a focus on supporting women in the venture capital environment. The lead applicant should fall under at least one of the following categories of not-for-profit organizations or associations:

  • Business or investor associations
  • Post-secondary academic institutions or research institutes
  • Business/entrepreneur support organizations and associations
  • Research/innovation hubs
  • Indigenous organizations
  • Business accelerators and incubators, and
  • Associations representing not-for-profit social enterprises or co-operatives

Applicants may also apply as a partnership of not-for-profit organizations  or a partnership of not-for-profit and for-profit organizations/entities where the not-for-profit organization is the lead organization (i.e., A for-profit organization may be an eligible partner if the lead applicant is a not-for-profit organization). Additional details can be found in Section B.4.ii.

The applicant organization (or in case of partnerships, at least one partners) must have at least 2 years of operational experience with a mandate or history of programming or services that demonstrates a focus on supporting diversity in the venture capital environment and/or women as entrepreneurs or fund managers/industry professionals.

Priority will be given to organizations that have achieved at minimum 50% gender parity and minimum 30% of other under-represented members (as racialized persons including  Black Canadians, persons living with disabilities, Canadians who identify as LGBTQ2, and First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples) on board and senior management prior to date of launch of call. 

Organizations are encouraged to join the 50-30 challenge. Additional information is available on the 50-30 Challenge website.  

Please note for Quebec-based organizations only: confirmation if the organization is subject to comply with M-30 legislation. This information will not have any bearing on the applicant's assessment. In the event that a candidate is successful, government officials will work on obtaining proper authorizations to ensure compliance with M-30 legislation. For more information, please visit: Act M-30.

ii. Partnerships

A partnership is formed when organizations operating in a similar sphere come together to deliver an initiative. A partner may be a not-for-profit or a for-profit organization. 

Applicants may choose to work in partnership with one or several organizations to effectively administer the project and to demonstrate they meet the elements outlined in the Assessment Criteria. Partnerships are encouraged; however, an organization may choose to apply independently.

Important considerations:

  • Partnerships must be led by an eligible not-for-profit organization or association
  • A project proposal for a partnership should only be submitted by one applicant (lead organization) who must meet the eligible organization requirements. The lead organization is responsible for the completion and signing of the application form, managing the project and contribution funding, and reporting on results
  • The application must include an Agreement between the parties and letter(s) of support from all partners (signed by their authorized official) that describes their roles, responsibilities, and if applicable, financial and in-kind contributions to the project
  • A partnership may include for-profit organizations, venture capital funds and/or other investment entities as partners. If a for-profit entity (including venture fund) is participating in the partnership as a partner, it will be expected to make a financial contribution. For-profit, private sector partners on projects may not be financial beneficiaries nor be remunerated through project funding
    • For example, a not-for-profit organization may engage a venture capital fund and a corporation as partners to a project. In this case, the venture capital fund and the corporation will be expected to, at minimum, make either a financial contribution to offset project costs or provide in kind support (such as industry contacts, expertise, staff support, etc.)
  • Alternatively, a lead applicant or a partnership may choose to sub-contract for-profit or private sector organizations to support the completion of activities to fulfill project deliverables, in exchange for financial compensation. Under this scenario, the contracted organizations will not be considered partners for the purposes of the project
    • For example, to support the delivery of project activities the lead applicant or partnership may opt to engage the services of a for-profit firm. As the firm will be financially remunerated for their services, this relationship would not be considered a partnership for the purposes of this initiative
  • When developing the proposal content, both lead applicant and partner(s)'s experience and expertise should be used to demonstrate the skillset and capacity to meet the required assessment criteria to ensure successful project delivery. However, at least one of the member organizations must meet the minimum 2 year operational experience in the field
    • For example, in the case of a new partnership formed to apply for this call, if Partner A has 2 years experience working to support diversity in venture capital or women entrepreneurs and Partner B has 4 years experience in the same field, collectively the partners can establish that they have 6 years of experience.  Furthermore, the partners can use their combined experience to demonstrate their capacity to effectively manage and financially administer projects of a similar size and scope
    • If a partnership solely exists between Partner A and Partner B with 1 year of experience in the field each, without support of other organizations, they will not be deemed eligible to apply as at least one of the member organizations must meet the minimum 2 year operational experience requirement

iii. Eligible projects

General requirements:

  • Project lengths may vary, but all activities must be completed by March 31, 2025
  • Project must have a minimum total project budget of $600,000 and not exceed a budget of $5,000,000
  • Projects must be national or multi-regional. A multi-regional project is considered to be a project which services at least 5 provinces or territories
  • Project must be delivered in both official languages as per the Official Languages Act. For organizations that do not currently have capacity, clear plans must be provided on how additional capacity will be established by the time of administering the project to deliver services in English and French (and other languages as required by the project)
  • Projects must meet one or more of the project scope elements (listed below)

Priority will be given to projects that deliver services in all provinces and territories.

Priority will be given to projects that include a focus on or intention to benefit Diverse/Intersectional and/or Under-served Women or specific populations of women.

iv. Project scope

Applicants must demonstrate their capacity to reach a national or multi-regional audience, and experience in supporting efforts to create a more inclusive venture capital environment for women.

Eligible focus areas (include one or more of the following):

  • Providing education and training to support equitable access to funding and/or promotion of related practices to the venture capital industry (such as venture capitalists, angel networks, financial institutions, and others)
  • Engaging investors to better understand, adapt to and work with women entrepreneurs or their enterprises
  • Providing support to women entrepreneurs to assist them to better understand available options for financing and enable them to pursue and access such options
  • Supporting efforts to advance and grow the representation of women in roles such as investors/fund managers in various venture capital industry contexts
  • Fostering networking or mentoring models which help to facilitate access to capital for women entrepreneurs and their businesses, and
  • Demonstrate support and contributions in other areas which will serve to strengthen the network of women and diverse entrepreneurship organizations in Canada, aligned with the Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative's objectives

v. Eligible and ineligible activities

The Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative project must support one or more of the following eligible activities:

  • Facilitating capacity building and skills development opportunities (for example, training and education, strategic business and/or financial planning, networking, matchmaking, mentorship and coaching, and, advisory services)
  • Compiling, developing, and delivering learning materials, policies, procedures, tools, and workshops responsive to the objectives of this initiative
  • Establishing or strengthening inclusive networks and partnerships that identify and share knowledge and best practices, and/or improve coordination of supports for small businesses and entrepreneurs
  • Delivering conferences, meetings, events, workshops that will support/contribute to Initiative objectives
  • Promoting activities to increase awareness of issues faced by small businesses and entrepreneurs (such as: access, representation, diversity), and
  • Participating in other activities that support the objectives of this Initiative

Ineligible activities are the following:

  • Creating investment funds
  • Further distributing funds (loans or grants) to third party organizations
  • Providing direct capital investment in an angel, venture or other fund, and
  • Standalone research activities that are not directly serving the objectives and desired outcomes of the initiative

vi. Eligible costs

Eligible costs are those incurred and which, in the opinion of the Minister, are reasonable, incremental, and required to carry out the Eligible Activities if an agreement is signed.

Eligible costs include:

  • Cost of labour (e.g., salaries and benefits) and of material used
  • Capital costs directly related the Eligible Activities such as purchase of machinery, equipment, infrastructure and/or associated repairs or retrofits
  • Operating costs that are incremental and directly related to the project, such as management fees or working capital
  • Costs related to marketing, promotion, and communication
  • Professional fees (e.g. consultants, research related costs necessary to support project delivery, IT, technical expertise, legal, translation, digital and social media production)
  • Costs associated with procuring space or equipment  or supports necessary to carry out the project, including space required for workshops, events and meetings or childcare services on site
  • Costs that support the use of tools and products for capacity building and skills development (e.g. educational licensing, third-party software), and
  • Other costs necessary that align with the Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative objectives, as approved by the Minister of ISED or the deputy head if authority has been delegated

Administrative costs will be limited to a maximum of 15% of the total contribution amount. Administrative costs do not include costs associated with capacity building activities.  

Any project costs incurred before the signing of the Contribution Agreement will not be eligible for reimbursement.

vii. Ineligible costs

Ineligible costs include:

  • Capital investments (loans/financing for entrepreneurs), as well as the refinancing of an existing debt
  • The purchase of any assets for more than the fair market value of the said asset;
  • Costs of amortization
  • Land and building acquisition
  • Goodwill
  • Costs that are not deemed reasonable and necessary to carry out the administration of the Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative

viii. Expected outcomes and indicators

Key Performance Indicators will be dependent on the nature of the project and associated project outcomes.
Expected outcomes Key performance indicators may include (but are not limited to):
  • Projects contribute to making the venture capital environment more inclusive for women
  • Number of clients who receive  support to sustain or grow their business
  • Number of clients who receive training/capacity building/outreach sessions
  • Client satisfaction
  • Enrollment rate for bootcamps, mentorships, and partnerships
  • Percentage of small and medium sized enterprises supported that are majority-owned by equity deserving groups
  • Reported investments in women and/or diverse women entrepreneurs and their businesses
  • Adoption of measures to support women entrepreneurs

Organizations may also be asked to collect business participant information in a consistent manner for reporting, analysis and auditing purposes (i.e., registered business numbers, names, regions) and other fields, which will be detailed in the contribution agreement.

5. Project proposal details

The following information should be provided in a maximum fifteen (15) page (12-point font, double spaced)  Microsoft Word or PDF document. Please use the headings provided when responding to each of the elements outlined below.

Proposal content:

i. Organization eligibility
  • Explain how the lead organization meets the following eligibility criteria:
    • Applicant organization and its partners collectively demonstrate a mandate or history of programming or services (within past 2 years) with a focus on supporting diversity in the venture capital environment and/or women (as entrepreneurs or fund managers/industry professionals), and
    • Organizations are encouraged to indicate if they have at minimum 50% gender parity and 30% representation of under-represented groups on Board and senior management prior to the date of the launch of call
ii. Key partners
  • Outline all official key partners in the project, what their roles will be, how they will benefit or enhance the project, and
  • The application must include an Agreement between the parties and letter(s) of support from all partners (signed by their authorized official) that describes their roles, responsibilities, and if applicable, financial and in-kind contributions to the project
iii. Capacity of organization and partners
  • Provide a brief description of the history of the organizationFootnote 1 and partners (if applicable)
  • Provide a description of the project team, the project management structure, and a description of the organization (mandate, membership reach, governance)
  • Explain if previous funding from ISED was provided for any other relevant projects to the applicant organization(s). Include the years, whether it is a completed/on-going/cancelled project, and the results/anticipated results
  • Describe the experience and expertise your organization/partners have managing and financially administering projects similar in size and scope
  • Outline the experience and expertise your organization/partners have in working in the venture capital environment with women entrepreneurs and their businesses, and with diverse, intersectional groups of women
  • In the case of an application with partner organizations, please explain how the project will be properly governed collectively and how the combined experience of the partners addresses the capacity requirements of the project, and
  • Demonstrate your organization's capacity and ability to collect data to report on the project progress and results as per required by ISED 
iv. Project objectives and scope
  • Describe the project scope:
    • What gaps will the project address? (evidence of the gaps, and why it is important to address these gaps), and
    • How the project will contribute to the achievement of the Initiative objectives
  • Describe the reach of your project:
    • Who will be served?;
    • Which diverse/intersectional and/or under-served women groups will the project benefit?
    • Which economic sectors (if applicable) will the project focus on?
    • Geographic regions that will be served by the project and how they will be served (Note: minimum of five provinces or territories)
    • Points of service (locations where services will be offered, how clients can access the services), and
    • How will you ensure that the project activities and products are communicated in both official languages?
  • Indicate and explain the project focus:
    • Education to support equitable access to funding and/or promotion of adoption of promising practices to venture capital industry (such as venture capitalists, angel networks, financial institutions, and others)
    • Engaging investors to better understand, adapt to and work with women entrepreneurs or their enterprises
    • Supporting women entrepreneurs to understand available options for financing and how to pursue/access those options
    • Supporting efforts to advance the representation of women in roles such as investors/fund managers in various venture capital industry contexts
    • Fostering networking activities or mentoring models which facilitate access to capital for women entrepreneurs and their businesses, and
    • Demonstrating at least one of the above and other areas that will support/contribute to strengthening the network of women and diverse entrepreneurship organizations in Canada or the Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative objectives
v. Project activities
  • Identify which of the eligible project activity(ies) your project will cover and describe:
    • Activities and services offered
    • How activities and services will be offered
    • Key deliverables
    • Project Length and detailed timelines (including key project milestones), and
    • Lead organization responsible for the work under each activity (i.e., for partnerships, clearly identify the organization(s) responsible for each activity).
vi. Risks and mitigation plan
  • Describe the main risks that could have an impact on your organization's ability to carry out the activities proposed or achieve project objectives within the proposed timeframe. Examples include:
    • Organizational
    • Complexity of project
    • Financial sustainability, and
    • Technology
  • Indicate the risk probability (low, medium or high) and the mitigation strategies for each risk.
vii. Project budget
  • Provide a detailed overview of project costs by completing the Budget Detail Template (Note: The budget detail template attachment will not count towards the maximum 15 pages limit for the project proposal).
viii. Expected outcomes
  • Describe how your activities will contribute to the planned outcomes of the WES Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative
  • Provide details on how your organization will collect and report on data, results and the mechanisms that are in place to achieve this
ix. Sustainability plan
  • Describe plans for:
    • Sustainability of the project by the time the project is completed. Include detailed and orderly plans of winding down the project activities by the end of the funding date, or
    • Future sustainability after the project is completed, including a detailed description of how this project will seek to achieve self-sufficiency by the end of the funding agreement (how funding for salaries and the costs of everyday business will be maintained and obtained in the future; how many staff will be required for ongoing delivery; financial projections for future years beyond March 31, 2025; and how will the applicant aim to continuously achieve the objectives of this initiative
x. M-30 disclosure (Quebec based organizations only)
  • Disclosure if M-30 legislation is applicable to your organization, where applicable

Any other information required to evaluate the eligibility of your project and help determine the extent to which the project will contribute to the achievement of the WES Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative objectives and to define the benefits that the project will generate, while respecting the 15 page proposal limit.

6. Assessment criteria

Assessment criteria must be met and demonstrated by the lead applicant as outlined in the table below. In the case of applications of one or more partners, the combined experience of the partners will be considered throughout the assessment process.

Organization experience
Organization capacity
  • Project team and management structure
  • Experience effectively managing projects of a similar size and scope
  • Experience financially administrating projects of similar size and scope, and
  • Ability to collect data and report on project progress and results as per required by ISED
Implementation
Project objectives, expected outcomes and scope The project proposal clearly identified:
  • Gaps identified in environment, supported with evidence;
  • Information on how the proposed project activities will impact and/or strengthen the environment and address the identified gaps, and
  • Information on how the project benefits the target populations
Project activities The project proposal clearly identified:
  • Detailed and relevant information on the proposed activities and services
  • Demonstration of how the activities will support initiative objectives
  • Feasible timelines and milestones
  • Plans for delivering the project on time, within scope and budget, and
  • Detailed information on how the work will be completed and who will do this work
Risks and mitigation plan The project proposal clearly identified:
  • Risks that could impact proposed activities, and
  • Risk mitigation strategies for all potential risks
Key partners The project proposal clearly included:
  • Listing of key partners required to carry out proposed work and their project roles, and
  • Letters of support provided to substantiate partnerships, if applicable
Expected outcomes The project proposal clearly indicated:
  • How the organization will contribute to the planned outcomes of the overall initiative
Budget The budget template clearly provided:
  • Accurate details and description of eligible costs, and
  • Demonstration of value for money within reasonable market value, with costs aligned with proposed project activities
Sustainability The project proposal and the sustainability document clearly provided:
  • Plans to wind down the project activities by end of funding date, or strategies to continue services when the funding for this current agreement ends on March 31, 2025

7. Submission details

Application submission: Deadline June 20, 2022

Your application package must include the following:

  1. Completed application form submitted by an authorized official from your organization
  2. Proposal paper, no more than 15 pages in length (note, submissions that exceed this limit may be screened out)
  3. Two years of past financial statements (audited or review engagement)
  4. Incorporation document
  5. Completed Budget Detail Template
  6. Sustainability Plan
  7. Agreement or Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between partner organizations (if applicable)
  8. Letter(s) of support from partners (signed by their authorized official) in the application (if applicable). Letter(s) must outline partner roles, responsibilities, and if applicable, financial and in-kind contributions to the project
  9. Disclosure if M-30 legislation is applicable to your organization, where applicable (Quebec based organizations only)

How to download the Application Form and Budget Detail Template

The Application Form and Budget Detail Template are secure PDFs and can only be opened in Microsoft Internet Explorer. However, if you use another browser (Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox etc.) or you have problems opening the PDFs, do not attempt to open the form in your browser.

How to download and open a PDF form

To download and open a PDF form, you need to have Adobe Reader 10 or higher, or any alternative non-web based PDF viewer/reader installed (please note that free versions of PDF viewers/readers are available). Mobile devices such as iPads, tablets and mobile phones can't be used for the Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative forms.

Downloading and opening PDF files (for PC users)

  • Find the link of the file you want to save (you may need to go back to the previous page to find it)
  • Right-click the link
  • Select "Save target as" or "Save link as"
  • Choose the location on your computer where you would like to save the file
  • Select "Save"
  • Use Windows Explorer to get to the location where you saved the file
  • Right click on the PDF file
  • Select "Open with"
  • Select "Choose program"
  • Select "Adobe Acrobat Reader"
  • Make sure to check the box that says, "Always use this program to open these files"
  • Select "OK"

If you can't open the files with Adobe Reader 10 or higher or any alternative non-web based PDF viewer/reader, let us know about your technical issue.

Once the forms are completed, attach the required additional documents and electronically submit by clicking on the "Submit" button at the bottom of the application form.

Please note, the submission of the application form requires a PDF entry. The Government of Canada recognizes that PDF files have limited accessibility and are incompatible with some screen readers. If your organization requires another submission format, please email wes-sfe@ised-isde.gc.ca for assistance. Please ensure you are able to access the application form early in the process. Exceptions or extensions to the deadline will not be granted and assistance cannot be provided within the last 24 hours.

8. Approval, contribution agreement and reporting

If the project is approved, a contribution agreement will be established between ISED and the lead applicant, which will include legally binding responsibilities and obligations of both parties. Successful projects and funded amounts will be publicly disclosed.

Successful applicants will be required to report on the project progress and results through the applicable Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative Key Performance Indicators and provide ISED with:

  • Quarterly progress updates
  • Annual reports which include audited financials and
  • A final report

Please note: If funded, the reporting requirements for the Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative is mandatory for all recipients and funding recipients must also produce annual audited financial statements for the duration of the agreement.

9. Stacking provisions and other government assistance

Leveraging of funds is strongly encouraged.  Total Canadian government assistance for all eligible expenses, including federal, provincial/territorial and municipal, cannot exceed 100% of total eligible costs funded. The stacking limit applies to the scope of activities captured by the Contribution Agreement.

Section C: Glossary

Activities:
Activities are undertakings that are eligible for funding under the WES Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative (see eligible activities) and required to complete a project.
Administrative cost:
Overhead fees and other eligible expenses an organization incurs that are not directly tied to the proposed project.
Application:
A set of documents submitted to the Government of Canada in order to participate in an application for funding process. For the Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative, this includes the documents listed under "7. Submission details" of the guide.
Assessment criteria:
The criteria ISED will use to grade applications and choose the recipient(s) for funding.
Authorized official:
An individual who is authorized to legally sign on behalf of the organization.
Budget detail template:
The template that Applicants will use to forecast their budget for the duration of the project.
Capacity building activities:
Relates to those activities which improve an organization's effectiveness, teaching or consulting to build needed skills (e.g., training and education, strategic business and/or financial planning, networking, matchmaking, mentorship and coaching, and advisory services).
Contribution agreement:
A written agreement between the successful applicant and the Government of Canada. It includes the legally binding responsibilities and obligations of both parties.
Diverse/ intersectional and/or under-served women:
Includes, but is not limited to, women with disabilities; Indigenous women; women in rural or remote regions; recent immigrants; visible minority women; women who identify as two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender individuals; and women from Official Language Minority Communities (OLMCs).
Eligible applicant:
Candidates that meet the eligibility criteria to receive funding for the Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative.
Eligible costs:
The expenses to which Initiative funding may be applied and which are established in the Contribution Agreement.
Eligible projects:
Undertakings that support the objective of the Inclusive Women Venture Capital Initiative and meet the mandatory requirements for funding.
Financial statements:
Financial statements are documents that demonstrate the business activities and financial health of an organization.  There are two levels of financial statements acceptable under this call for proposals: audited statements and review engagement. Recipients will be required to produce annual audited financial statements for the duration of the project.
Incorporation documents:
Documentation filed with the Government of Canada or specific provinces or territories to legally document the creation of a corporation which may include charitable organization, a public foundation, or a private foundation.
Ineligible costs:
Costs that are not appropriate for reimbursement through the Initiative.
Letters of support:
Letters of support are required for each Partner organization and should clearly detail how they will contribute to the project (role, expertise, activities etc.). Where applicable, it should outline how the organizations have collaborated in the past, including role, track record, experience and expertise. The letter of support has to be signed by an authorized official of Partner organization.
Mentorship and related supports:
The service and act of guiding or counselling towards success. Examples include networking, matchmaking, coaching, and advisory services.
Multi-regional project:
A project that delivers services in at least 5 provinces and territories.
National project:
A project that delivers services from coast to coast to coast..
Not-for-profit organizations:
Associations, clubs, or societies that are structured and operated exclusively for social welfare, civic improvement, pleasure, recreation, or any other purpose except profit.
Official Language Minority Communities (OLMCs):
Refers to English-speaking districts in Quebec and French-speaking communities in the rest of Canada.
Partner organizations:
Are not-for-profit or for-profit organizations that are fundamental in the delivery of the proposed project. These partners provide additional expertise and support to the recipient and should provide signed, detailed letters of support outlining in detail  their commitment and role to the project. The partners are invested in the completion and/or the success of the project through the provision of either financial and/or non-financial contributions.
Project:
The combined activities that are required to accomplish a stated objective and the completion of the activities that may result in specific outcomes being achieved. The Contribution Agreement includes a statement of work that details the eligible project and related activities.
Recipient:
An Applicant that signs a Contribution Agreement with the Government of Canada and accepts funding. Once an Applicant signs the agreement, they become a Recipient. 
Stacking limit:
The maximum level of total Canadian government (municipal, provincial/territorial, federal) funding authorized for any one activity, initiative or project of a recipient.
Sustainability plan:
The strategy that outlines how Applicants will ensure the project will wind down by the end of the funding date, or be self-sufficient after the funding from the Government has ceased.
Underserved groups:
Please see definition for "Diverse/Intersectional and/or Under-served Women"
Value for money:
A term that refers to achieving economy, efficiency, effectiveness, and equity in project delivery.
Venture capital:
Venture capital (VC) is a specialized type of equity financing (capital provided in exchange for a share of the ownership of the business). For the purposes of this initiative, this definition is  inclusive of other types of risk capital (such as angel investments).
Venture capital environment:
For the purpose of this initiative, actors in this environment generally include venture capital providers, angel investors, and other types of equity-providing institutions. Investors in this space may also include pension funds, corporate strategic funds, or financial institutions. Other types of organizations, such as not-for-profit organizations;  business accelerators and incubators; and not-for-profit networks, may provide support to firms or actors seeking to raise venture capital.
Venture capital industry:
For the purpose of this initiative, the Venture Capital Industry generally includes venture capital providers, angel investors, and other types of equity-providing institutions. Investors in this space may also include pension funds, corporate strategic funds, or financial institutions.
Women Entrepreneurs:
Entrepreneurs who self-identify as women. This could include women who have founded businesses and/or maintain an ownership stake in a business, and manage and control regular functions of a business (including the signatory role of the business' legal documents and financial accounts).
Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES):
The program initiated by the Government to ensure the full and equal participation of women in the economy. It represents a nearly $6-billion investment that aims to increase women-owned businesses' access to the financing, talent, networks and expertise they need to start up, scale up and access new markets.
Women-owned business:
Refers to an organization that is at least 51 %, owned by one or more women, that is managed and controlled by one or more women, where a woman is a signatory of the business's legal documents and financial accounts, and which is operated independently from businesses that are not owned by women.