From left, Chantal Pitre, national manager of women entrepreneurship at TD, and Sharon Zohar founder and chief executive officer of The Big Push. Photo by Pragya Sehgal.

Published: November 20th, 2019

TD Bank Group and a Toronto-based business accelerator have entered into an agreement designed to support women entrepreneurs in six key areas of business, including information technology, finance, marketing, sales, public relations, and recruitment.

At the heart of the collaboration is The Big Push Lift-Off Program, a new initiative that will provide women entrepreneurs, specifically in tech startups at the pre-seed stage, with access to free consultation and assessment of their business plans, and a roadmap that connects them with experts who can support their business growth in one of the aforementioned areas.

The program will be initially offered in the Kitchener-Waterloo area beginning Dec. 3 before extending into Ottawa and Montreal in 2020. However, anyone across Canada can apply online. 

“The Lift-Off program was created to open up a bigger gate for women entrepreneurs to be able to get access to expert resources and funding. Through this program, we will look at pre-seed stage companies and the program itself will focus on helping these women-led companies that have a product in the market with some clear path to revenue so that they are able to build that growth plan for them,” Sharon Zohar, founder and chief executive officer of The Big Push said in an interview with IT World Canada

With support from The Big Push, early-stage companies can scale through hands-on services, support, and resources that are provided to women-led or women-founded technology startups through a collective of senior executives with expertise across key practice areas spanning finance, design, law, research, sales, public relations, software development, recruitment, and marketing.

“The responsibility of TD will be to acknowledge and decide that the tech business that they are meeting is owned by a female, has two or more employees or more and a desire of growing its revenue. Thereafter, we will be contacting The Big Push to match the qualified participants with the right experts to make sure that they get the success that they deserve,” Chantal Pitre, national manager of women entrepreneurship at TD explained during an interview.

Through this program, participants will have access to a selection of over 600 expert resources and mentors from The Big Push to help them grow their business.

“These experts are from all areas. The pool of resources includes people who work in all types of industries, whether it’s tech, finance, marketing or sales. These people may currently be working at a company or consulting firm, or may even possibly be retirees. They are experts who have a minimum of eight years of expertise in their specialized industry, and a minimum of two years of experience working with a startup and a proper understanding of the agile nature of startups. They will provide their time and expertise in helping build and develop the growth plan so that they can help accelerate the selected companies and provide the required support,” Zohar explained. 

Qualified participants will receive a one-hour in-person or online free consultation and assessment of their business plans and a high-level roadmap that connects them with experts to mentor them on their growth. Following the initial consultation, participants will be matched with an expert who will provide five hours of advisory support, including strategic introductions, objective input and advice, and the development of an actionable growth plan. 

Participants will have the option to activate the business growth plan over a period of up to three months, leveraging experts from The Big Push, conditional on the founder matching 50 per cent of the value of the growth plan. The estimated cost to activate a growth plan in one particular area of the business is CA$5,000 to CA$10,000.

Prospective participants of the Lift-Off Program can apply online at thebigpush.ca/liftoffprogram.

 

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