The SHEInnovates event at Edmonton’s Epcor Tower on October 22 brought together women in science, technology, entrepreneurship and innovation from around the province for an evening of inspiration, celebration and solidarity. A global program launched by UN Women, SHEInnovates is a global program dedicated to showcasing and inspiring the women who are driving innovation, because “if we can see it, we can be it.”
Alberta was selected to pilot the first local SHEInnovates chapter, a decision that grew out conversations that took place at the Women in Innovation dinner at Inventures in June 2018.
SHEInnovates Alberta co-chairs Dawn de Lima and Jennifer Koury were instrumental in bringing the program to Alberta, recognizing that the province is unique due to its can-do spirit and support of entrepreneurialism. That spirit is shared by Albertan women, who participate in innovation at elevated rates: 15.5% of Albertan women are involved in starting businesses, which is not only higher than the rate of Canada as a whole, but also higher than that in other innovation-driven countries such as the United States, Australia and UK. Also, significantly, 30% of tech entrepreneurs in the province are women.
Alberta Innovates’ CEO, Laura Kilcrease, has been a vocal supporter of the SHEInnovates program, and was selected as one of its featured SHEInnovators. Kilcrease and Alberta Innovates continue to empower women in technology and innovation, and at a Female Founders, Funders and Fortifiers event held earlier this month, she announced that Inventures would be hosting a pitch competition for female entrepreneurs in June 2020.