This QA page will be updated regularly - in the meantime please don’t hesitate to email us your questions at email@example.com.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Founders Fund?
An online accelerator designed to support your journey as a woman-identifying entrepreneur. The Founders Fund is about investing in yourself — and paying it forward. When you become a member, the fee you pay goes toward the Founders Fund, a pool of money that’s awarded to a group of deserving entrepreneurs each year. That means that when you join us, you’re coming together with other members to create the opportunities for women-identifying entrepreneurs you want to see in the world. We think that’s pretty cool.
How does it work?
For a $225 membership fee, you get:
- monthly mentorship sessions with established entrepreneurs;
- peer-to-peer mentor matching;
- a library of digital resources that will help you grow your business;
- IRL networking and educational events across Canada;
- and the support of your fellow members and the Founders Fund digital community.
You’ll also have exclusive access to the application process for our funding program, which will open in April 2020. Finalists will receive up to $50,000 in funding — no payback, no equity, just access up to the funding you need to grow your business.
What kind of programming will be available to members?
- As a member, you will be able to sign up for monthly 60-minute group mentorship sessions (these take place virtually via video chat) with high-profile entrepreneurs. We’ll continue adding new mentors until programming starts in January, but find a list of confirmed 2020 mentors here. You’ll be able to submit questions for mentors in advance.
- You’ll also be put into a small (4-6 person) peer-mentor group with other members who are in similar stages of business as you — these groups will also meet monthly.
- You’ll receive a bi-weekly members-only newsletter with curated articles to read, resources to check out, events hosted by our learning partners, and resources created just for you by our team.
- Online resources provided by our learning partners — details to be announced very soon!
When will the program begin?
Programming will begin in January 2020, funding applications will open in April, and finalists will receive funding in summer 2020. But you can become a member right now by clicking here. Funding applications will only be open to members.
Where does the money come from?
We work with funders and corporate sponsors to power our programming and events, but the money for our funding program comes exclusively from members’ $225 annual membership fees. That means you and your fellow members are coming together to support one another, and create space and opportunity for women-identifying entrepreneurs to thrive.
Why isn’t the Founders Fund a nonprofit?
We’re a social enterprise. We believe in sustainable business, in fairly compensating the people who bring the Founders Fund to life, and in ensuring that we can continue to do this work for many years to come — and for us, that means operating on a for-profit basis with our mission of supporting women-identifying founders at the forefront of everything we do.
Where does my membership fee go?
$125 of your membership fee goes directly to a pool of zero-equity, non-repayable funding. As a member, and if you are eligible, you can apply to receive this funding! Either way, you are coming together with other members to create an essential resource (AKA access to money!) for other women-identifying entrepreneurs. The remaining $100 of your membership goes to programming and administration fees. In other words, those fees fund the resources, mentorship and IRL events you have access to as a member.
Can I get a tax receipt for my membership fee?
We can’t offer tax receipts. However, since your membership to the Founders Fund is an investment in the growth of your business, it could be a tax writeoff.
Do you have flexible pricing?
Yes. If the membership fee is more than you can afford at one time, simply choose the partial.ly option when checking out and you can split your payment into four instalments. We also have a limited number of discounted memberships available for those whose businesses would benefit from our accelerator programming but for whom the membership fee is a barrier — if this sounds like you, reach out to our team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Am I eligible to receive funding?
To be eligible for funding, your business must:
- be at least 50% woman- identified and/or non-binary-owned;
- be registered as a Canadian company;
- have generated less than $1 million in revenue to date;
- and have been in business for more than six months (aka revenue generating)
* Please note we have opened a small portion of funding to pre- revenue companies. This means if you meet the other criteria you are able to apply for the available funding.
Can I gift someone else a membership?
Yes! A Founders Fund membership makes a great gift for the ambitious entrepreneur in your life. It’s also a great way to show support for women-identifying entrepreneurs as an ally. If you’d like to gift someone a membership, simply add the recipient’s contact info when you make your purchase.
I’m not eligible to receive funding. Should I still become a member?
Definitely. As a member of the online accelerator, you’ll have access to the same resources, mentorship and events that members eligible for funding will have. These resources will help you grow your business and the connections you make with our mentors and your fellow members will open new doors for you.
I’m not based in Canada. Can I become a member?
Yes! Our resources and community are digital and available worldwide, so we welcome international members. However, you will not be eligible for funding through the Founders Fund.
My business has generated more than the maximum revenue limit for funding eligibility. Should I become a member?
Yes! If your business has generated more than $1 million in revenue, you won’t be eligible to apply for our funding program, but you’ll still have access to all Founders Fund accelerator programming, events and digital resources. Plus, you’ll be paying your success forward by contributing your membership fee to the Founders Fund. You can also pay it forward by sponsoring another entrepreneur’s membership fee.
Or, if you’re serious about supporting women-identifying entrepreneurs, consider becoming a funder of the Founders Fund — email us at email@example.com to learn about how to get involved and what’s in it for you.
My business is just starting up — or just an idea. Should I become a member?
Absolutely. If you have a great idea and the passion necessary to bring it to life, you’re a founder and we see you as one. Especially in the early stages, your business will benefit from our programming and community offerings. And, if your business or idea is eligible for the funding program, you could receive the capital you need to get it off the ground in 2020.
I run a non-profit. Should I become a member?
You won’t be eligible to apply for funding through the Founders Fund, but our programming would still provide you with knowledge-sharing, mentorship and access to resources that will help you grow your organization.
My company or organization would like to buy bulk memberships. Is this possible? Who can I speak to about it?
This is definitely possible! We work with values-aligned companies and organizations to provide memberships to their communities who would benefit from our programming. If you’re interested, you can reach out to our co-founder, Kim Kirton at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I love what you’re doing. How can I support the Founders Fund?
Thank you! We’d love for you to share our story with all your entrepreneur (and intrapreneur!) friends. We’re also always looking for values-aligned people and companies to partner with — if you’d like to get involved, send us an email at email@example.com.