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“Women Breaking Barriers” – an acceleration program for female founders

Recently, we announced that a key component of the Cleantech Commons research park at Trent University – a cleantech accelerator to be known as the Trent Enterprise Centre (TEC) – had received a $4.8-milllion boost from the federal government.

Trent Enterprise Centre at Cleantech Commons

Catch up on that good news story here!

The funding will support infrastructure in the Trent Enterprise Centre – including shared labs, space for technology assessment, demonstration and piloting, office space, and scale-up facilities specifically designed to support the commercialization of clean technology products and services.

At the same time, we announced a partnership with the Peterborough Innovation Cluster to provide business acceleration services to help ventures commercialize their ideas and accelerate their growth.

In the spirit of that partnership, we are delighted to support the Cluster’s new Women Breaking Barriers program: designed to offer support to women pursuing careers through science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) and social innovation in Peterborough and the Kawarthas. Read more here!

Speaking in support of the new program, Cleantech Commons executive director, Martin Yuill, said that “while funding and building a startup – especially in the cleantech sector – is a formidable challenge, some of the latest financial research is showing that female-founded and led ventures generate better returns and growth.

“Women-led ventures tend to be more collaborative and both culture- and values-focused, which are critical elements for the long-term success of deep tech ventures in the cleantech space”: Martin Yuill, Cleantech Commons executive director

But more than that,” Yuill says, “women-led ventures tend to be more collaborative and both culture- and values-focused, which are critical elements for the long-term success of research-based, deep tech ventures in the cleantech space, where women entrepreneurs are still under-represented.”

The Women Breaking Barriers program will help address this,” says Yuill, “will help to showcase the great work of female founders in our community, and will  encourage more women to get involved in the local startup ecosystem.

The Women Breaking Barriers program will consist of two cohorts of 10 women aged 18 or older through six months (per cohort) of fast-tracked programming and mentorship to help reduce the barriers for female founders to grow and scale their ventures.

With targeted training, mentorship, collaboration, and access to funding, Women Breaking Barriers is poised to change the lives and trajectory of female-led companies.

Women Breaking Barriers is intended for startups with fewer than 10 employees or for those who are just at the idea stage.

Because it is often difficult for women founders to secure investment, this program also helps put participants in front of investors early on.

Canadian women entrepreneurs are key to our economic success, and they make invaluable contributions to our communities,” says Rose Terry, Marketing Manager & Senior Innovation Specialist at the Innovation Cluster.

At the end of the six-month program, each business will have the opportunity to pitch to angel investors in the Peterborough Region Angel Network for investment,” says Terry.

This will give the companies the chance to not only receive investment but also have direct access to a group of experienced individuals with a wide network.

If you’re ready to carve your own path, this program is for you! APPLY NOW


The Cleantech Commons “Virtual Concierge Service” (VCS) is designed to curate relevant and timely information for members of the Cleantech Commons community.

We understand that the amount of information about assistance programs can sometimes be overwhelming and difficult to navigate.

Our VCS helps point entrepreneurs, startup & early-stage ventures, and growth companies to specific information sources designed to help clean technology ventures to start, grow, scale and prosper.