Support Nova Scotia’s women in business:



Supporting female founders in Atlantic Canada

Last week, the Atlantic Venture Forum brought together close to 400 participants and over 40 speakers with a shared goal to celebrate and further establish regional leadership in building a vibrant technology commercialization ecosystem of start-ups, high growth companies, angel investors, venture capital and other private equity firms, and incubation & tech transfer organizations.

The Centre for Women in Business has been a proud ‘Program Partner’ of the forum for the last number of years. This year was the perfect opportunity to highlight the work we will be doing with Sandpiper Ventures and the Atlantic Women’s Venture Fund to support female founders.

Our program, ‘What Investors Want: Venture Capitalist Partners from Around the World‘, featured leading women venture capitalists from North America, Africa, and Europe as they shared insights on what they look for in early stage start ups.

The session was hosted by Sarah Young, Founding and Managing Partner at Sandpiper Ventures (LinkedIn), with panelists Kathryn Cartini, Partner at Chloe Capital (LinkedIn), Barbara Clarke, President and The Impact Seat (LinkedIn), and Anne Desgagniers, Partnership Lead – Seed Funds at Sustainable Development Technology Canada (LinkedIn).

A few notes and takeaways:

  • COVID-19 has impacted small businesses and VC firms. Business and how business is done is going to be completely restructured.
  • Investors want to see a clear, crisp and focused pitch – they need to know the problem you are solving, how big the problem is, and what’s next. You can get into the history of your company later.
  • Governments and business organizations continue to deploy money to support businesses – take advantage of financial options, accelerators, and programs available to you.
  • Pitch your local media about your organization and problem you are trying to solve – make headlines.
  • Do not send automated pitches to investors! VC is too sophisticated of a sale to leave to automation. It’s a long-term relationship.
  • Do reach out through events like the Atlantic Venture Forum where you have the opportunity to meet, listen, and connect over shared interest and participation.

From previous sessions, we heard tips for how to choose your investment partner, balancing advice received from investors, about different kinds of investment, how to find product-market fit, tips for deal structuring and common mistakes, different ways to think about acquisition, and more.

We look forward to the connections made through this forum, and encourage female founders to reach out to Nasil Nam, Project Lead – Propelling Women Founders at the Centre for Women in Business and our partners at Sandpiper Ventures.

As Kathryn said, “We are not just moving the needle, we are the needle.”


Four women on a Zoom-like call.