The BANFF Spark Accelerator for women in the media business has again raised $275.000 in federal funding through a $5 billion fund to help women entrepreneurs affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The women entrepreneurship strategy is intending to double up the number of women-owned businesses by 2025. Through this strategic move, they would reinforce the multi-year program introduced at the Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) in 2019.

Jenn Kuzmyk, Executive Director, Banff World Media Festival says, “Women in the workforce have been disproportionately affected by the ongoing pandemic, and this increased support will enable BANFF Spark to address the urgent and unprecedented effects that COVID-19 is having on our participants’ businesses. A dedicated stream of recovery programming and tailored resources will equip these women business owners, who represent some of the country’s most impressive and promising media companies, to navigate and sustain operations during this period of uncertainty, as well as prepare their businesses for a post-pandemic landscape.”

The program is focused on empowering all women irrespective of color, physical disability, and more. Thus, it offers support tailored business planning, mentorship, and access to potential business partners.

The additional funding is expected to be used for the federal government’s total support for the accelerator to more than $2.2 million. Further, the BANFF Spark would provide 100 woman recipients who are participating in the program with additional tailored programming, training, and resources to address immediate and long-term pandemic-related business challenges. Also, the program would consist of practical workshops with industry experts, database and networking platforms, and a comprehensive COVID-19 special report and guide.

Earlier this year, the United Nations policy brief has warned that the impacts of COVID-19 are “exacerbated for women” and “even the limited gains made in the past decades are at risk of being rolled back”. Thus, the UN brief has made a note of the importance to apply an intentional gender lens to the design of fiscal stimulus packages and social assistance programs to achieve greater equality, opportunities, and social protection.

This past summer BANFF Spark had announced the 50 entrepreneurs set to take part in its second cohort. The programming initiative would take place over 2020 alongside the BANFF Virtual Edition and the addition of pay-tv network Super Channel as BANFF Spark’s founding industry partner. Also, the additional partners include The Banff World Media Festival, Strategy, the Schulich School of Business, and CIX.