ELLEvate Women Entrepreneurs:

Turn your vision into a thriving business!

About ELLEvate Women Entrepreneurs

Through ELLEvate Women Entrepreneurs, YES Employment + Entrepreneurship provides actionable support to help more women participate in Quebec’s entrepreneurial ecosystem. We provide the tools and resources needed for women to launch and grow their businesses successfully.

What the program offers

YES’s ELLEvate Women Entrepreneurs program offers networking opportunities, speaker events, coaching, mentorships, workshops, and an annual Pre-Accelerator program. Together, we can broaden opportunities for women in entrepreneurship.


1. How do I know if ELLEvate Women Entrepreneurs is for me?

If you’re a woman living in Quebec, and you’re curious about becoming or developing as an entrepreneur (in any industry), you can learn new skills and find new opportunities with ELLEvate.

2. How can I get involved?

Sign up for an event, find a business coach or enrol in our eLearning business courses. Whatever stage you are at in your business, you can find opportunities to network and upskill with ELLEvate Women Entrepreneurs.

3. Do I have to be under 40 to participate in ELLEvate events?

No, ELLEvate is open to any woman over the age of 18. Diversity in background, thought, and lived experience is a strength. We encourage people of diverse backgrounds to participate in events and apply for the Pre-Accelerator (such as members of racialized or newcomer communities, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, or those with disabilities or special needs, among others).

4. What is the ELLEvate Women Entrepreneurs Pre-Accelerator?

Each year, we look for 10 women-led startups from any sector. If you have a feasible idea or product and think you have what it takes to grow your business, you can apply. The women selected for the pre-accelerator will receive intensive support and training over a 3-month period that culminates in a pitch competition with cash awards to help fuel the future of the most promising women-led startups in Quebec. The call for applications for the year 2022 is closed, but join our mailing list at the bottom of the page to be notified when applications for our next ELLEvate Women Entrepreneurs Pre-Accelerator open. Stay tuned!

5. Am I eligible to apply and participate in the pre-accelerator?

When the call for applications is open and before applying, please make sure to read and adhere to the eligibility criteria:

– Be a dedicated founder or co-founder who identifies as a woman (said founder must also be the main participant for the program).
– Startup must be at least 50% women-led.
– Have a feasible, creative and innovative process, product or solution.
– Demonstrate the potential for start-up scaling or growth.
– Contribute $100 towards a $1,000 Cohort Award, the recipient of which will be chosen by the cohort themselves.
– Be driven, coachable, and collaborative.
– Be a Quebec resident.
– Be able to participate in English.
– Be over the age of 18.
– Be able to commit to the 3-month online program.

6. How can I connect with other women entrepreneurs and role models?

Through ELLEvate Women Entrepreneurs, you can connect with networks of entrepreneurs and find potential partners, mentors and role models. You can make use of the ELLEvate Facebook group, attend our entrepreneurship events, or access opportunities to connect through business coaching. If you would like to be matched with a mentor and receive at least one hour of support, your business coach can set that up for you.

“SAP’s pillars of focus align strongly with YES’s work,

particularly when it comes to driving change in equity, diversity and inclusion in Quebec’s entrepreneurial landscape. We recognize the value of experimenting to ultimately lead to better solutions. We also recognize that you can’t build great solutions unless you bring diverse thinking around the table. Both as the Managing Director for SAP Labs Canada and as a Montreal-based female leader, I am very proud to be associated with YES.”

Cindy Fagen
Managing Director, SAP Labs Canada

“One thing that really stood out for me was how interactive and personalized the program was, considering the fact that it was virtual.”

Illandra Page

“Our weekly coaching sessions kept us accountable, and our Coaches planned and measured our progression through the program.

They posed thought-provoking questions and they offered seasoned advice, as well as a fresh perspective. We covered tough topics, like “what is your business’ why” and “what are your unique value propositions”.”

Laura Blom
Oceanica Skincare

Sign up to get business support through ELLEvate

Need business advice?

Let’s transform your vision into reality! Get in touch to find out more.

Call 514.878.9788 ext. 316 or email Jayna Patel, Entrepreneurship Services Coordinator at [email protected]

12 + 4 =

If chosen for the ELLEvate Women Entrepreneurs Pre-Accelerator, you will have access to:

Seasoned Business Advisors
Exclusive Programming
Awards and Funding
A Community Peer Network

Meet Shaleen Ratansi, 2022’s pre-accelerator winner

Shaleen Ratansi is the founder of Aiya ayiA, an ethical, plant-based luxury handbag brand disrupting the fashion industry. Aiya ayiA is a circular company that repurposes leftover agricultural materials to create zero-waste, clean fashion. The brand is purpose-driven and built to give back, with a portion of profits donated to organizations that help rescue girls and women from abuse & poverty and provide them with support, education, and tools to empower them to mold their own future.

Meet Taylor Pogue, 2021’s pre-accelerator winner

Taylor Pogue is the Founder of Buttery Foods, a ready-made meal service that provides busy families with delicious, well-balanced meals. Taylor came out as the grand winner of the 2021 pre-accelerator demo day, and like Julie her predecessor, also benefited from the top $10,000 award.

Taylor’s favourite quote is by Oprah Winfrey: “I believe luck is preparation meeting opportunity. If you hadn’t been prepared when the opportunity came along, you wouldn’t have been lucky”. Like Oprah, Taylor believes that “the only way to reach your dreams is through hard work and grit, so that when the opportunities arise, you’re ready to run with them.”

Meet Julie Tzeng, 2020’s

pre-accelerator winner

Julie Tzeng is the Founder of Arshae, a footwear startup that is redesigning the lifecycle of shoes. Julie emerged as the big winner of the ELLEvate Women Entrepreneurs Pre-Accelerator Demo Day in 2020, taking home the top award of $10,000.

Julie says “Entrepreneurship is a huge rollercoaster. ELLEvate really helped support me through the amazing cohort of peers, business coaches and mentors. We celebrated wins and problem-solved through challenges together. When I think of my award, I think of the people who walked every step of the way with me to demo day and beyond. It’s also the first award I’ve won for Arshae and it’s extremely validating”.

Join our mailing list at the bottom of the page to be notified when applications for our next ELLEvate Women Entrepreneurs Pre-Accelerator open.