Startup Canada wants to help more of Canada’s female entrepreneurs and woman-led companies find their footing.

On Monday the industry organization announced the launch of its latest Startup Canada Women Founders in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Fund, developed in partnership with Evolocity Financial Group, to provide female entrepreneurs and women-led companies in STEM-related businesses across Canada micro-grants to help them start and grow.

“Although women in Canada now represent 47 per cent of Canadian business owners and contribute $148 billion in economic activity, they continuously face barriers to accessing capital to start and scale their businesses,” Startup Canada CEO Victoria Lennox said in a June 18 statement. “This gap is particularly exposed when looking at female entrepreneurs in STEM fields.”

According to Toronto’s Mars Discovery District, despite their overall contribution to Canada’s economy, only around five per cent of female startup founders obtain the funding they seek.

Startup Canada’s Women in STEM fund aims to help close that gap by providing grants worth between $1,000 and $5,000 each.

To qualify, applicants must be female entrepreneurs or women-led businesses based in Canada, operate in a STEM-related sector, and use the funds to support business operations or access professional growth opportunities.

Qualified applicants can apply for a grant here, and applications are due by midnight on August 31.

Submitted applications must include an impact statement describing how the applicant intends to use the funds; a proven business model; confirmation that the applicant would lose the opportunity without the investment; an agreement to complete an impact assessment; and an agreement to use the hashtag #StartupWomen and recognize Startup Canada and Evolocity in associated marketing efforts.

The fund’s 2018 recipients will be announced at Startup Canada’s Startup Canada Day on the Hill event on October 18 in Ottawa.

ITBusiness.ca parent ITWC is a media partner of Startup Canada.

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