Pitch for the Purse competition returns with virtual events, increased funding

The fifth edition seeks to provide a more diverse contest.

Credit: FWE

Lynn Dargis, CEO of Farmbucks, was the winner of 2020s Pitch for the Purse in February

The fifth edition seeks to provide a more diverse contest

One of B.C.’s most popular funding competitions is returning—albeit with some tweaks.

The first virtual Pitch for the Purse unfortunately won’t feature the live, in-person events for its semi-finalists and finalists in downtown Vancouver, which quickly became must-attend dates for investors of all sizes.

But according to the contest’s organizers—the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs—the 2020-21 edition will be its most diverse and democratic yet.

For starters, the geographical barriers to participation have been removed: this will be the first year the competition is open to participants from Quebec and other eastern provinces. Also, a community panel will replace the three judges of years past.

With women having been hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, the $25,000 prize (plus a new $5,000 prize to each to the two runners up) will offer some much-needed financial support for women to grow their businesses.

This year’s community panel includes corporate consultant and former Vancouver Olympian Charmaine Crooks, Toronto investment executive and entrepreneur Bonnie Foley-Wong, Vancouver-based Tap & Barrel founder Daniel Frankel, Montreal Futurpreneur exec Maryse Gingras, Toronto venture capitalist Michelle McBane, Vancouver angel investor Ali Pejman, Calgary entrepreneurship consultant Shannon Pestun, Vancouver VC Genevieve Pinto, Vancouver investor Praveen Varshney and Vancouver houseware entrepreneur Vivian Zalkow. 

“The pandemic has disproportionately impacted women, to the degree that many are calling this the shecession,” says FWE chief executive Paulina Cameron. “Investors are missing out by investing primarily in male-owned businesses: research states that startups run by women generate 78 cents for every dollar invested, while male-owned counterparts generate only 31 cents per dollar.”

The deadline to apply for the fifth annual Pitch for the Purse is October 23. A winner will be selected in February 2021.