At our annual International Women’s Day event at River Run Centre last night, Innovation Guelph and our partners were thrilled to announce The Ignite Award, a program that will build ongoing support and networks for women entrepreneurs in Guelph and Wellington County, supporting them at key stages of their development.

The Ignite Award is the first program to emerge from research completed on the Women’s Economic Advancement (WEA) Project.

“The goal of The Ignite Award program is to create an opportunity that’s currently missing in our region,” says Tanya Darisi, social entrepreneur and founder of The O’Halloran Group, WEA Project partner. “This award will not only provide the critical funding that women entrepreneurs need to finance their businesses, but also the mentoring and business coaching they need to grow them long term.”

Invest in Women, Invest in Community

In order to provide cash awards to local women entrepreneurs in September 2015, Innovation Guelph has launched a crowdfunding campaign to build a $30,000 seed fund and is seeking contributions from supporters of women in business and women entrepreneurs.

“Anyone who lives or works in Guelph knows it’s a hub of innovation, creativity and collaboration,” says Kristel Manes, director, Innovation Guelph and the Women’s Economic Advancement Project. “We want to harness that energy to grow the number of women-owned businesses in the region, and The Ignite Award into a self-sustaining program.”

Contributions to the crowdfunding campaign can be made at Contributors will receive special Ignite Award recognition items to acknowledge their support.

Apply for The Ignite Award

Everyone who submits an application for The Ignite Award and meets the eligibility requirements will be invited to participate in mentoring opportunities, which may include peer mentoring circles, one-on-one mentoring, professional advice and business model coaching.

The application period for The Ignite Award is now open, and applications will be received until May 30, 2015.

You can learn more about the eligibility requirements, details on the review process, and complete an online application here.