Entrepreneur, freelancer, contractor, CEO, Side Hustler... Whichever term you identify with most, we all have at least one thing in common: we need access to resources like funding in order to dream bigger and grow.
Even now, nearing the end of 2019, the fact still remains that the overwhelming majority of venture capital is awarded to businesses with no female-identifying partners. The Founders Fund aims to change that.
The Founders Fund is an online accelerator that supports women-identified entrepreneurs through every stage of their journey. It’s a community of members, funders and mentors looking to invest in themselves and pay it forward to the entrepreneurial ecosystem.
If you’ve read all that and you’re thinking “huh?” Then hang tight, my friend: you’re not alone, and I’m here to (hopefully) break it down and explain how incredible this program really is.
What Is An Accelerator?
Accelerators have long best great support systems for startups and small businesses. They’re typically fixed-term programs that include education, resources, mentorship, peer support, and access to funding opportunities.
The Founders Fund started off as a giveback program here at Tease Tea in 2019, as an extension of our ChariTea Program. In less than a year, it has grown into something so much bigger than Tease had ever dreamed!
The feedback and support received further exemplified the need for programs like this for womxn, demonstrating that we needed to dream bigger. Because The Founders Fund was started by entrepreneurs, for entrepreneurs, this team understands the importance of accessible support and the value of empowerment. Thus, the program was designed with that in mind!
And so, without further adieu, here are 5 reasons you should become a Founders Fund Member.
#1. Becoming A Founders Fund Member Gives You Exclusive Access To Our Pool Of Funding.
Only members will have the opportunity to apply for our non-repayable, zero-equity funding. This past year alone, we helped to fund 5 start-ups and contributed over $30,000 in funding!
#2. Access To Our Incredible Library Of Resources And Community.
Your membership comes with access to our library of digital resources and an online community to support you through your entrepreneurial journey. Whether you have a question, are seeking advice or need a little extra empowerment, you have an entire community of mentors, funders and peers to help cheer you on and encourage you to keep going.
You also will have access to exclusive discounted services and real, in-person educational and networking events, at no cost to you. The Founders Fund knows how important it is to be actively engaged within your community. It’s integral to both growth and connection: two things every entrepreneur needs.
#3. Access To Online Mentorship With Incredible Entrepreneurs
You’ll also gain access to 20 hours of online mentorship office hours with established and seasoned entrepreneurs in a myriad of fields- including Shopify COO, Harley Finkelstein! Members will have the opportunity to learn from these incredible entrepreneurs who are dedicated to giving back and helping foster empowerment within this community.
#4. You’ll Be Matched With A Peer Mentor.
Success doesn’t start and stop with funding alone. Access to mentorship is an invaluable tool for success. Not only will you have access to monthly mentorship office hours; you’ll be matched wit ha peer mentor whose business is in a similar stage to yours! In addition, you’ll get monthly check-in’s and feedback sessions with the Founders Fund core team! This is the perfect recipe for accountability and empowerment, helping you flesh out those nitty-gritty details of your business that have you feeling overwhelmed or that are taking up your mental space.
#5. The Opportunity To Truly Invest In Yourself, While Also Giving Back
As a Founders Fund member, you’re a part of something much bigger. Your membership is a small investment in your success, education and future and $125 from your membership fee goes directly into the communal funding pool. This helps to power a thriving entrepreneurial eco-system and exemplifies the power of community, both in-person and online.
This team is also committed to improving accessibility for entrepreneurs, which is why The Founders Fund offers inclusive membership pricing options as well as payment plans for those who find themselves unable to front the cost of a membership. That, truly, is such an incredible thing to see within the entrepreneurial sphere.
Whether the membership is for you, or you’re gifting to a well-deserving friend, it truly is an investment in both you and your community.
You can read up about The Founders Fund here and here. But let’s take a few moments to highlight some of the incredible mentors who are helping to power this inspiring initiative.
The Mentors (So Far!)
Komal Minhas is an angel investor, interviewer and speaker. Komal invests in startups and media productions that are changing the world and digs deep with entrepreneurs to unlock their true potential. One read through her bio will have you feeling re-inspired and passionate about what’s propelling you forward. “I’m here on this earth to remind you of your potential” - Komal Minhas.
Coined as ‘Chief Lemon’, Rachel Kelly is the Founder of Toronto-based coworking space for women-identified individuals, Make Lemonade. Make Lemonade is about more than vibrant, intentionally designed co-working spaces, though. It’s a unique workspace Rachel created to help women create, dream and get sh*t done. The gorgeous, motivating space this incredible entrepreneur has founded is truly an embodiment of community and collaboration over competition, and if that doesn’t say empowerment, I don’t know what does.
Harley Finkelstein is best known for his role as Chief Operating Officer over at Shopify, but he’s also an entrepreneur and lawyer with a passion for giving back and investing in the entrepreneurial journey. He’s accumulated a list of fairly impressive titles like Canadian Angel Investor Of The Year, and is featured on CBC’s Next Gen Den as one of the “Dragons”.
Emily is the founder and CEO of Femme Fatale Media, North America’s top event staffing agency. What began as a small agency has exploded into this impressive business, garnering the attention of big names like Warner Bros, Justin Bieber and Lamborghini (to name a few). All thanks to the drive and ambition Emily brings to the table. This powerhouse has worked her way up to being named “Canada’s Top Agency” by Forbes.com and hosts her own podcast called Mind Your Business.
Known simply as Babba, this well-rounded entrepreneur founded ByBabba: a brand marketing agency renowned across the globe. Babba seemingly does it all, from running her aware-winning marketing agency to serving on the Board of Directors for ATP Atelier to co-founding HER USA https://www.instagram.com/her.usa/to hosting incredible events as well as a podcast. She’s a marketing and advertising guru who put Uber on the map in Sweden and is showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Lulu started out as a management consultant after graduating with a Bachelor of Commerce and Math, but is now the CEO of Luxy Hair, who create premium quality clip-in hair extensions that help people all around the world to build confidence and feel beautiful. Lulu is passionate about both self and business growth, and can be found travelling, skiing, listening to a plethora of audiobooks or practicing gratitude.
Aly Dort is a freelance illustrator and stationery designer living in Halifax, N.S. She is passionate about mental health, social sustainability and empowering those around her.