ELLA was created by York University's YSpace with funding from The Government of Canada's Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES). 

We believe every woman entrepreneur should have access to the community, knowledge, and resources they need to scale their business. 

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ELLA community

We know it takes a village. That’s why we’re building one.  

We are bringing together entrepreneurs, mentors, industry experts, and supporters that believe in our mission of helping women rise in entrepreneurship. When a woman succeeds in building a viable venture, she lifts her clients, family, community and more along with her. Imagine this success on a broader scale, with many women entrepreneurs getting the individualized support they need to be successful in their fields. The benefits to us all are boundless. 

Empowering women to rise in entrepreneurship

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Reducing the gender gap

Our mission is to reduce the gap of gender inequality in entrepreneurship. We believe every woman entrepreneur should have access to the community, information, and resources they need to scale their business.

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Investing in change

Having a world in balance is healthy in many ways. Only 16% of Canadian small and medium-sized businesses are owned by women. Bringing parity in entrepreneurship, i.e. bridging the gap between having 16% of women founders compared to 50%, leads to $150B in opportunity for the Canadian economy.

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Committed to diversity

We are committed to empowering women and we welcome women of all backgrounds, identities, and abilities. We are proud to build programs that are inclusive, are created and hosted by women, for women, and have a highly intersectional reach.

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For women, by women

Studies show that businesses with women founders raise more money and build better results. Yet, women often dismiss entrepreneurship as an option due to its impact on their family lives and its high risk. ELLA shows women possible paths to success, proven by women founders who have already embarked on them, and gives them the support of an outstanding community.

Our programs

We're providing the tailored training and support programs women entrepreneurs need, 100% free of cost. We've considered industry, stage of business, growth goals and more to offer these customized programs.

ELLA Express

ELLA Express is an online asynchronous program that helps women-led businesses at the pre-revenue stage, build a solid foundation for growth. Through this program, entrepreneurs can expect to leave with practical knowledge and tools they need to make smart decisions from the start. 

Program Duration:
Year round

ELLA Ascend

A 4-month program for women-led ventures that have paying customers and sales of over $50,000. Entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to connect with a network of experts and entrepreneurs, and learn the skills needed to take their business to the next level.

Program Duration:
June - October

ELLA Altitude

A 4-month program for women-led ventures
that have sales of over $200,000 and are
looking to scale rapidly. With one-on-one
advice and support, entrepreneurs are
able to get the resources they need to
bring their business to the world stage.

Program Duration:
October - January

Our team

ELLA is run by Innovation York, the innovation office for York University. The office also manages York University’s entrepreneurship program, YSpace and incubator space, YSpace Markham. Innovation York works to facilitate and maximize the commercial, economic, and social impacts of research and innovation, and to create a culture of engaged scholarship and experiential learning. The ELLA Team is committed to Innovation York’s mandate by providing the tailored support women entrepreneurs need to be successful. Our team consists of experienced professionals with diverse backgrounds in business and entrepreneurship, working together to create lasting impact. It’s our mission to close the gender gap in entrepreneurship.

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David Kwok

Director, Entrepreneurship & Innovation

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Ellen (Yeji) Kim

ELLA Program Officer

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Judy Chang

CPG Program Advisor

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Marlina Ramchandran

ELLA Program Officer

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Nicole Troster

ELLA Entrepreneurship Manager

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Snehal Phatak

ELLA Program Coordinator


ELLA is run by YSpace, York University’s innovation hub, and is made possible through partnerships with Small Business Enterprise Centres across York Region and funding from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.

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Contact us

For more information, please contact us at
416-736-2100 ext. 44940