ELLA Women Accelerator

powered by Desjardins

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 18% of Canadian small and medium-sized businesses are owned by women. Bringing parity in entrepreneurship, i.e. bridging the gap between having 18% 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 and have a highly intersectional reach.

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For women, by women

Our programs are designed to foster a supportive community and address the unique challenges faced by women in entrepreneurship. YSpace ELLA offers a range of resources, from mentorship to tactical workshops to networking events which are tailored to women's needs.

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. Upon completion of all program elements, participants are eligible to receive a certificate of completion.

ELLA Express

ELLA Express is an online asynchronous program that helps first time women founders who are about to launch or have recently launched build a solid foundation for their business. Through this program, entrepreneurs can expect to leave with practical knowledge about the concepts and the 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 build a solid foundation for growth.

Program Duration:
June - September

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
expand to new markets.

Program Duration:
October - January

Our team

ELLA is run out of the Office of the Vice President of Research and Innovation at York University. The office also manages YSpace, the university's overarching entrepreneurship and innovation hub. YSpace 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 YSpace’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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Apoorva Shastry

ELLA Program Coordinator

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David Kwok

Director, Entrepreneurship & Innovation

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Jessica Gedge

ELLA Senior Program Officer

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Judy Wong

CPG Program Advisor & Leadership Coach

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Nicole Troster

ELLA Entrepreneurship Manager

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Snehal Phatak

ELLA Program Coordinator (Maternity Leave)


ELLA is run by YSpace, York University’s innovation hub, and is made possible through strategic partnerships across the country and funding from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada as well as Desjardins.

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Contact us

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