Winners take prize after intense Demo Day event for women-only accelerator program

MONTREAL, QC (September 18 th , 2020) – After three months of intensive preparation,
the 10 women selected to participate in the inaugural ELLEvate Women Entrepreneurs
Pre-Accelerator program, run by YES, pitched their businesses to a panel of local
business leaders and investors last night, with $20,000 in prize money on the line.

Three judges, Amer Chebaro (SAP), Gabriel Flores (RBC Dominion Securities) and
Sophie Forest (Brightspark Ventures), had their work cut out for them in choosing the
evening’s winners from the 10 dynamic business pitches presented.

Winners of the 2020 ELLEvate Women Entrepreneurs Pre-Accelerator Demo Day

Julie Tzeng, Founder of Arshae, a circular footwear company, took home the evening’s
top prize – $10,000. “It is amazing to get validation from such experienced, strong
judges, especially for such an ambitious project,” says Julie. She also commented on
the support she received in the program, one of the few solely representing women
entrepreneurs in Quebec, “I wouldn’t have made it this far without the support and
encouragement of my fellow cohort. We pushed each other to achieve.”

Julie founded Arshae after working in fashion, where she became disillusioned by the
fast fashion cycle of overconsumption and the convoluted supply chain that hinders
innovation, social responsibility, and sustainability. She began working on Arshae full
time in 2019 to realize her vision for the future of product – a circular footwear company
where sustainability is a given, not an afterthought.

This summer’s cohort was the first for YES, a charitable non-profit that provides free
and low-cost resources, tools and strategies to improve employment and
entrepreneurship opportunities for Quebecers. The Pre-Accelerator program, which
provided participants with the education, tools, resources, network and hands-on
experience needed to enter the accelerator system in Quebec with their best foot
forward, is part of a wider range of support and services launched under the ELLEvate
banner late last year. The ELLEvate program, aimed at increasing the participation of
women in Quebec’s entrepreneurship ecosystem through workshops, mentorships, and
specialized coaching, is funded by the Government of Canada’s Women
Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES), with the support of SAP Labs Canada. Additional
support for the Pre-Accelerator came from the City of Montreal.

The full list of winners for the 2020 ELLEvate Women Entrepreneurs Pre-Accelerator
Demo Day follows:

$10,000 prize: Julie Tzeng, Arshae
$7,500 prize: Aliyeh Rasoolizadeh, Triple F Group
$2,500 prize: Marlee Rabin, Top Shelf Trade
$1,000 cohort prize, chosen by the cohort participants themselves: Jaclyn
Hearnden, Pill0

For more information about the ELLEvate Pre-Accelerator, please visit:

About YES:
As a not-for-profit organization, YES enriches the community by providing English-
language support services to help Quebecers find employment and start and grow
We help people start successful careers – for themselves, and for our community.

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Kathy Slotsve
Director of Communications &
Stakeholder Engagement
514-878-9788 ext. 337
[email protected]

Aki Tchitacov
Executive Director
514-878-9788 ext. 301
[email protected]