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Women encouraged to be part of tech industry growth

Helping women connect with jobs in the city’s tech sector was the focus of a meeting in Barrie Tuesday night.

FILE PHOTO

Helping women connect with jobs in the city’s tech sector was the focus of a meeting in Barrie Tuesday night. FILE PHOTO

Helping women connect with jobs in the city’s tech sector was the focus of a meeting in Barrie Tuesday night.

The city’s Invest Barrie department was a partner in the event along with Women in Tech World as part of the organization’s two-month long cross-Canada Driving WinTech tour.

WinTech is working on a report about the current state of women in tech industries across Canada, according to co-founder and CEO Alicia Close.

“While the computer science workforce has grown by 60% since 1991, the percentage of young women going into the industry has declined (Stats Canada 2011),” she said adding the percentage of women working in the field has barely changed in almost 30 years.

The city’s director of creative economy, Karen Dubeau, said there is a need to promote tech industries in Barrie and that the city has done the leg work to make it happen.

“We want to grow a vibrant community of technology-based firms at all stages of growth, from start up to established, and building the connections between them,” she said. “That’s critical to attracting more women into the tech community.”

With more than 30 stops across Canada, the Driving WinTech tour was a good fit for Barrie, Dubeau said.

“The community is growing very quickly. It’s close enough to Toronto, but far enough away from Toronto to be its own unique community,” she said.

“Barrie is getting a name as a good place for entrepreneurs to set up shop,” Dubeau added. “That’s part and parcel with the work being done by the city, by Georgian College and a number of our other partners like the Georgian Angels Network.”

The network is comprised of individuals who pool their money to make early-stage seed investments in start-ups.

“The companies we’ve been working with over the last few years are really starting to make a name for themselves,” she said. “We’re all prosperous and successful if our tech community in Barrie grows.

“The key is to have a network of peers and mentors, male or female, and building as broad a network of support as possible,” Dubeau said adding it’s all about attitude.

“If you believe in your product and you believe in what you’re doing, you will find a way forward.”

For more information, visit www.womenintechworld.com.

imcinroy@postmedia.com



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