Economic Development Lethbridge receives $1.68M in STEM Funding

Just this past summer, Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion announced, Economic Development Lethbridge (EDL) will receive $1.68M in funding over the next three years for Women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) training, mentoring and other entrepreneurial support programs through its Tecconnect location. The funding through Western Economic Diversification Canada will enable partner organizations in southern Alberta to strengthen and enhance the capacity of the entrepreneurial ecosystem to support women entrepreneurs in the area of STEM related endeavours. Objectives of the Women in STEM program will include entrepreneur training, networking, mentorship and funding, access to training in current & emerging technologies and outreach opportunities.


Renae Barlow, Vice President, Entrepreneurship & Innovation for EDL commented on what the catalyst was regarding the ask for funding: “Women in Lethbridge pursuing STEM related opportunities are at a geographic disadvantage when it comes to accessing a local network with entrepreneurial supports. This program will change that by removing barriers to training and mentorship. This grant provides the financial resources to apply Economic Development Lethbridge’s vast experience squarely on strengthening and enhancing the entrepreneurial ecosystem to support women entrepreneurs in southern Alberta in the area of STEM-related endeavours.”


At the July 22 funding announcement in Calgary, Barlow participated on a panel of funding recipients and industry leaders that was chaired by Minister Ng. During the panel Renae said, “We have women who are trying to go into some of the STEM programs but we haven’t had anything to support them in their entrepreneurship. So, we decided we would work to create that environment. In my nine years of running the Incubator at Tecconnect I’ve had one woman in technology who has come through the incubator.”


The data shows Canadian women entrepreneurs have not been accessing resources to help them succeed in business. Barlow explains, “This is a real opportunity for us to help the women in Lethbridge and our community to make us more accessible to women in rural and remote areas. We’re going to open up new worlds that many women may have previously thought were closed to them. The Women in STEM program will make our program accessible and inclusive for everyone.”  The Women in STEM program will use cutting-edge video conferencing technology that will allow Tecconnect to provide entrepreneur-focused workshops that range in topics from coding fundamentals to gaming. This funding will support workshop delivery and events that are educating and empowering entrepreneurs. 


Tecconnect will host a Lunch ‘n Learn information session about the Women in STEM programs and opportunities on Thursday, September 5 at Tecconnect (3582 – 30 Street N). This Fall will see the rollout of a fresh and exciting slate of programs supporting all entrepreneurs in Lethbridge and region. To learn more and register, visit:
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