America’s upstairs neighbor, Canada, is developing more support for its rising women entrepreneurs and minorities thanks to a mentorship program that will assist them with starting tech companies.
Driven Accelerator Group offers 12-week winter and summer programs for individuals with early stage tech start-up companies and who they identify as having high potential for a successful digital business. Based in Toronto, Driven Accelerator’s team of mentors provide weekly workshops on running companies efficiently, access to software developers who test digital prototypes and organize a demo-day to make five-minute pitches to Toronto’s top investors.
Driven Accelerator was started by Tamar-Melissa Huggins, a digital advertising and communications specialist who says she often found herself to be the only woman and person of color at industry events.
“I started to ask myself why? Is it because the opportunities aren’t there, or is it because we don’t feel we can take on these roles? What is the real issue here?” [Huggins] recalls.
When she dug a little deeper, she concluded much of the reason there are so few women or people of color in C-level positions particularly in the digital space boils down to people doing what’s expected and accepting the stereotypes attached to various cultures. “I find that the individuals in the tech space and the ad space are very similar. They dress the same, act the same, go to the same places.”
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