OKGNWMAN-about-banner

About OKGN WMAN

Okanagan Women’s Mentoring and Angel Network (WMAN) is levelling the playing field faced by women owned and gender diverse businesses seeking investment and working to increase the number of women angel investors and board members in Western Canada.

Women-led and gender diverse teams achieve significantly higher financial performance 1, 9 yet women receive less than 3% of start-up capital.2

Our goal is to build an empowered community of female entrepreneurs and investors.

Partners in each Okanagan WMAN fund meet regularly to learn how to invest in companies, discuss opportunities, vet deal flow, make investment decisions and help mentor investees.

In the Okanagan, 25 - 35 women each invest $5,500 for a pool of up to $150,000+/-, which is then used to co-invest in women-led and gender diverse companies the group thinks will generate the best return.

The inaugural OKGN WMAN fund kicked off on International Women’s Day 2021. We are now laying the groundwork for Fund 3.

In addition to increasing the access for women to equity, other key OKGN WMAN priorities include building a healthy and diverse entrepreneurship ecosystem in Western Canada, with a particular focus on social impact ventures and femtech.

Research around the world demonstrates that after participating in an accelerator program women land 2.5 times as much bank financing - however men land 2.5 as much equity financing.5

"All-women teams raised 1.9% of VC funds last year (2022), a percentage that skyrocketed to 17.2% when the team was mixed-gender. This trend has remained consistent for at least a decade."

- Pitchbook 2023

National Angel Capital Organization (NACO) Partners with OKGN WMAN Angel Funds

OKGN WMAN at NACO Conference

OKGN WMAN is a partner in the National Women’s Initiative, a strategy dedicated to mobilize angel capital for women led-companies across Canada.  The initiative is led by the National Angel Capital Organization (NACO), a professional association for angel investing, with 4000 members who have invested $1.54 billion in more than 2000 companies. The Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada through the Inclusive Women’s Venture Capital Initiative, a key part of Canada’s first-ever Women Entrepreneurship Strategy.

As part of OKGN WMAN’s focus on expanding investor networks and increasing deal flow of investment ready women led deals we presented a panel at the recent 2024 NACO Summit in Ottawa on Building Investor Ecosystems in Rural Communities.  Fund GPs Camille Saltman, Sherri Faloon and Carollynn Shafer presented along with investor Jen Cole.  Carollynn also represented Accelerate Okanagan.  The group shared the founders story around how OKGN WMAN was founded and how the Okanagan has grown our innovation ecosystem.

NACO is partnering with angel funds and accelerators across Canada, including OKGN WMAN and Accelerate Okanagan to strengthen the capacity of women entrepreneurs to access funding and contribute to increasing the representation of women in innovation ecosystem. As part of the initiative OKGN WMAN and NACO hosted two roundtable discussions in March 2024 at the Kelowna Art Gallery to obtain input from women entrepreneurs and investors and developed 30 spotlight profiles of women angel investors in the Okanagan from across our two funds.

Out of the roundtables OKGN WMAN is working to strengthen the innovation ecosystem in the Okanagan and across Canada for women entrepreneurs launching impact investment ventures.

One of our new initiatives to improve investment deal flow and strengthen referral networks is a formal partnership with Spring Activator in Vancouver and their 2024 national Women-Led Impact Investor Challenge.

We are also laying the groundwork to launch Fund 3.

OKGN WMAN/NACO Leadership Dinner
NACO Report

NACO’s 2022 Annual Report on Angel Investing in Canada features the launch of OKGN WMAN and reports on the status of women angel investment in Canada.  The report shows that:

  • In 2021, angel investment jumped 53% over 2020 and the amount invested was 150% higher.
  • A total of 27% of the members of Canadian Angel organization in 2021 were women, up from 24% in 2020.
  • In 2021 there was a 60% increase in participation by women angels.
  • Angel organization invested in 600 deals in 2021 - a total of $212.9M was invested.
  • The median size of investment in 2021 was $84,000 and the mean size was $346,000.
  • Business with 1-5 employees accounted for 43% of investments and with 6-10 employees for 25% of investments.
  • Information technology (31.2%), healthcare (21.1%), consumer discretionary (14.4%), industrial (7.1%) and then financials (6.7%)  were the top sectors for investment in 2021.

Download the Report

Rhonda

Rhonda Hymers,
CIWM, CIM, FCSI, FEA
OKGN WMAN Investor;
Portfolio Mgr./Wealth Advisor
RBC Dominion Securities

Help us level the playing field for women led businesses

karen

Karen Christiansen,
FCPA, FCA, CPA, CA

OKGN WMAN Co-founder & GP;
Partner, MNP