This article discusses why female entrepreneurs just starting out need investors to back them.

Getting Started

Introduction to the article (perhaps by having everyone read it)

Ask students if they know any entrepreneurs. If so, in what businesses do they operate? Do the students know how they got started and how they were funded?

Subject Area(s) covered

Entrepreneurship, investing in start-ups

Study and Discussion Activity

Key things students can learn from this lesson

Students will learn the value of collaboration, whether it is through investing, or working together.

Action (here’s how we’ll do it)

  • Distribute the article for reading.
  • In small groups, either in meeting rooms online or in class, have students discuss how the Shopify female executives were in a position to invest in early stage female-run businesses.
  • Why do students think they wanted to do this?
  • Discover why students think it is the case that female-led start-ups receive less funding than male-led start-ups.
  • Using the internet, research the number of female and male start-ups in Canada, and in your province. What is the ratio?
  • Next, look at businesses of different sizes: less than 50 employees, less than 250 employees, less than 2,000 employees and more than 2,000 employees. Organize these numbers by female or male-led/founder.
  • Individually, students should write a brief on their thoughts over what they discovered from the research.

Consolidation of learning

  • The female executives at Shopify decided to collaborate to support female-led start ups. How does this collaboration benefit them as a group and as individuals?
Success and Additional Learning

Success Criteria

  • Students understand that success as an entrepreneur requires collaboration internally and externally.

Confirming Activities

  • The article mentions other initiatives that support female entrepreneurs: The 51 Fund, Women’s Equity Lab, Stand up Ventures and BDC Capital’s Women in Technology Venture Fund.  Research each of these funds, identify the criteria used to grant funding, how much is granted, how many female-led ventures are funded through each fund and create a comparison chart.

Activities to do together

  • The article discusses how grassroots investors focus on impact and community building. One such group is
  • Together investigate SHEEO, learn how they fund female led start-ups, the impact these start-ups have on community building and how the organization sustains itself.  If you have time, participate in one of their free events that take place regularly.