Girls Raising Establishes New Platform For Female Entrepreneurs and Investors in Canada

Girls Raising, a community based around assisting and fostering the growth of women founded startups, in addition to all like-minded entrepreneurs and investors, originated from New York and has since expanded to San Francisco, Toronto and Vancouver.

The empowering organization is dedicated to opening doors, creating an audience for established and up-and-coming female innovators and influencers and bridging the tech-sector’s gender gap.

For many years, the skewed ratio between men and female workers has formed a barrier for emerging female talents. There simply wasn’t enough resources, platforms and opportunities committed to helping women achieve their goals.

Men conduct business in certain way and women conduct business in another way; it’s not about which is better—it’s about how to nurture both forms of communication effectively so that entrepreneurs and investors of either gender can develop the best work possible.

“There is this whole concept of ‘you can’t see what you can’t see’,” says Vanessa Dawson, cofounder of Girls Raising, “so we need more visibility for women leaders and entrepreneurs who are entering startup companies, because then it’ll inspire other women. We are getting there now and there is more.”

The initiative starts with getting promising founders and entrepreneurs out and interacting, sharing resources and developing new ideas. On March 27, Girls Raising will be hosting another event from their Presentation Series in Vancouver. The private event will showcase presentations and panelists, featuring women entrepreneurs and investors that have overcome the gender gap and found success as leaders in the industry. The events are just another actionable step towards supporting, educating and encouraging females to choose tech for a career option.

“The Presentation Series started out as an event series, but it is so much more than that,” says Dawson. “It’s helping more women raise capital for their ventures and get some really good feedback and advice for which direction to take it, and we are building a community around that.”

The event in terms of presentation will cover two specific areas: the finance of a business and the founding of a business. Two women specialist in each of those fields will present, offering tips to raise a company into the green. The event will also see a preselected group of entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to an established panel and receive feedback and potential investment opportunities.

“The quality [of startups] that we bring to the table has been pretty high at all of our events,” says Dawson. “That often leads to acceptance of an accelerator or a follow up investment or some leads that are good for the business. And we share it all with an audience of attendees who are founders, investors, new entrepreneurs and community members.”

Girl Raising caps their active events at 100 people in order to keep the quality of interaction high and insure that everyone gets something out of it, whether they are there as an attendee, panelist or a presenter.

The tech-ecosystem can often be too vast and intimidating for many, but Girl Raising supports the adventurous attitudes of entrepreneurs and understands that there is going to be challenges and adversity, regardless of your gender.

“Be as exploratory as you can,” offers Dawson. “Don’t be afraid to try something, rather than just thinking about it. Women tend to put a lot time into thinking whether they should do this or thinking whether they should do that, and they don’t act. You learn the best lessons and you learn what you want to do and what is the best fit from actually trying something.”

Nice Guys Can Lead Startups, Too

Formerly published in Techvibes. 

Here you are, straight out of grad school on a pervious entrepreneurial endeavour. You have been warned about the trials and tribulation of managing your own business, leading a team, and branding your ideas against a thousand other brilliant ideas.

The ecosystem is more competitive than ever and nobody has to tell you this again. Still, you believe in yourself, your team and the company culture—but do you have the guts to say “no” when it really counts and still be compassionate?



With the advances of technology came the decline of alpha male CEOs; startups can no longer function as a dictatorship. The majority of communication today is done through text, emails and social media: there isn’t the same opportunity to be bold and ruthless with big decisions.

Leaders are merely members of the troop and even though certain responsibilities fall upon their shoulder, they should not forget that the company comes first. Albeit the original concept may have been their brainchild, it took a team effort to bring it to life—even though it might still be in its infancy.

It’s easy to be blindsided as you company expands, especially when investors show interest and competitors take notice. You consider all that to be good. Somewhere along the lines you have shaken the right hands and smiled the right way. The reason for such success may be your company’s appeal, but it’s probably your passion.

Communicating your company’s vision with enthusiasm is the best way to be likeable. But then you listen to others responses and they throw in their two cents and start making criticisms. You reevaluate your objectives and here is where good leaders stand up with their company’s conviction.

Be adaptive, but also assertive. The worst thing a leader can do is to lose focus of the company’s ultimate goal. Good leaders will take opinions into consideration, but they will not be easily swayed or led astray.



Humbled by the fact that you need your team as much as they need you, you check your ego at the door every day and work hard to grow and scale your business. You play by the rules, offer a slice of pie to everyone on the team and wait for the $3 billion offer from Facebook or Google or whoever is willing to drop some crumbs down to you.

Sounds a little pathetic, huh? But believe it or not, we are all after the same crumbs—there is nothing glamourous about this area of business.

Gratitude is an important value not just as a leader, but also as a human being. Your company’s journey will hopefully be a long one and that means your employees, like all people will get complacent. Acknowledging achievable milestones and creating incentives when they are reach is a way of showing your team how much you appreciate their efforts in an authoritative manner.

You might be after the crumbs—but you can offer some, too.



In journalism it’s often known as the scoop; it’s intelligence that few know. As the leader, you are often rewarded with key information that you can choose to share or keep to yourself. Quality leaders need to know how to stymie gossip and inform others.

But not everything should be communicated. Leaders should be able to recognize certain discouraging data that may ultimately stress the staff. Turbulent times will test you leadership qualities best. If bad news surfaces within the collective, do address it by holding a meeting or through email, connecting in some way will allow you to refocus the group on the company’s goal and finding a solution to the problem.

People want to talk. But when the talking ends, you must make a clear decisive decision. If it fails, the collective fails—if it succeeds, the collective succeeds. You made the decision, but it’s not about you.

It’s best to leave the group out of the daily mundane worrisome junk that every business has to deal with. Don’t forget that you are captaining the ship and it’s important to keep moving forward. As a leader it’s your duty to take some of the pain during though times. You may feel like a push over and that you don’t deserve the emotional beating, but remember pressure is a privilege. Take ownership and rise above it.



If you don’t succeed, you might use this old saying as some comfort. “At least I’m nice,” you’d say to yourself.

Nonsense. Ignorance finishes last, miscommunication finishes last, belittling other’s ideas finishes last—nice guys and nice leaders are reasons the startup industry is so appealing. It’s what makes entrepreneurs who have failed try again.

So: nice guys out there who have paid their dues and still haven’t reap the rewards, I advise not to change your attitude, because nice guys will always get second chances, while the bad guys might just have to go for broke.