MONTREAL–L’Oréal Canada is launching the first Canadian edition of the Women in Digital program, in partnership with URelles and Campus InfoPresse. The program focusses on encouraging and promoting women entrepreneurs in technology by providing funding opportunities and support.
The program arose out of the observation that women entrepreneurs are underrepresented in tech in Canada. A study conducted in November 2017 by Toronto organization #movethedial and co-drafted by PwC Canada and MaRS Discovery District found that among 900 Canadian technology firms, women hold only 5% of CEO positions and 13% of all executive team positions. Nearly half (53%) of the tech firms have no female executives. On average, women occupy 8% of the management positions, while 73% of the companies don’t have any women on their boards of directors (source: “Where’s The Dial Now?” Movethedial.com).
The Women in Digital program has three stages: nominations, preselection and final selection. The winner will receive her prize at a gala in May 2019. The preselection committee will be made up of three experts. The jury for the final selection will include four Canadian tech and digital personalities and one L’Oréal Canada executive. All will be invited to play a role in the selection process and to offer guidance to the future winner. The names of the preselection committee and final jury will be revealed in January 2019.
L’Oréal Canada is seeking a female founder of a Canadian start-up in the tech and digital fields, who has the potential to revolutionize the digital sphere. She must embody innovation and shape the next generation of the tech and digital fields in Canada.
Canadian women entrepreneurs in technology are invited to apply on the program site, http://womenindigital.ca/ between December 19, 2018, and February 28, 2019.
The 5 finalists of the L’Oréal Canada Women in Digital award will be invited to the L’Oréal Canada awards gala in Montreal, which will be sponsored by URelles founder, Chloé Freslon. The winner will receive a tailor-made training program from Campus InfoPresse and will be mentored by one of the jury members. She will also receive a $20,000 prize to help fund her company.
The selection criteria and application form are available on the website www.womenindigital.ca.
“L’Oréal Canada is an important subsidiary for the L’Oréal Group in terms of digital innovation,” says Frank Kollmar, President and CEO of L’Oréal Canada. “Knowing that women are underrepresented in this field, it seemed natural to do our part, as we have been for the last 16 years with our L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards. We are proud to once again be part of the solution by offering funding and support to women entrepreneurs. By ensuring there is a large number of role models, we can stimulate careers and leadership in business for women” he concluded.
“Women entrepreneurs don’t have access to the same funding as men,” says Chloé Freslon, founder of URelles. “This type of financial incentive is needed to rebalance things. I’m happy to know that some women will be able to grow their business thanks to this helping hand.”
L’Oréal Canada is a wholly owned subsidiary of the L’Oréal Group, the world’s leading cosmetics company. L’Oréal Canada, headquartered in Montreal, achieved sales of $1.2 billion in 2017 and has 1,300 employees. The company includes a portfolio of 38 brands covering all aspects of beauty and is present in all distribution channels: mass market, department stores, salons, pharmacies and branded boutiques.
Founded in 2016, URelles is the voice of women in tech and entrepreneurship in Quebec. It’s the first blog for women in tech and is published in Montreal’s Métro newspaper. It’s the first French-language podcast on women in tech in Canada. It holds talks and panels on women and diversity. It’s a community of women who want to put an end to their underrepresentation.