Fifty participants named to second BANFF Spark cohort

Marylou Mintram, Rebecca Gibson and Lauren Grant are among those participating in the accelerator program for women in the media business, with Super Channel signing on as founding industry partner.

BANFF Spark Accelerator for Women in the Business of Media has named 50 entrepreneurs to its second cohort, including 7th Screen’s Marylou Mintram, Eagle Vision’s Rebecca Gibson and Clique Pictures’ Lauren Grant, as pay-TV network Super Channel joins the initiative as its founding industry partner.

Supported by the Government of Canada’s Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES), the accelerator – which was first announced at the Banff World Media Festival (BANFF) in 2019 – is designed to empower women of colour, Indigenous women, women with disabilities, LGBTQ2+ women and non-binary individuals through a tailored business planning curriculum, one-on-one mentorship and access to potential strategic business partners. Notably, across both cohorts, 46% of recipients self-identify as being from diverse communities.

Following the recent announcement that the 2020 edition of BANFF would not take place, BANFF Spark programming will take place over the coming year and be delivered alongside the recently launched BANFF Virtual Edition (May to September 2020). As well, a total of 100 women entrepreneurs through BANFF Spark’s first two cohorts will come together at BANFF 2021. Two additional clusters will be selected for BANFF Spark in the coming years.

In addition to Mintram, Gibson and Grant, Spark’s second unit includes:

  • Petie Chalifoux;
  • Maria Armstrong;
  • Camille Beaudoin;
  • Carol Beecher;
  • Cjay Boisclair;
  • Kerri Borsuk;
  • Carly Brenner Hunter;
  • Carla Bridgewater;
  • Tanya Brunel;
  • Emma Catalfamo;
  • Sara Lynn Cauchon;
  • Rachelle Chartrand;
  • Suzy Choueiri;
  • Eva Colmers;
  • Sara Corry;
  • Mackenzie Donaldson;
  • Alysse Glick;
  • Kate Green;
  • Chantal Jackson;
  • Joan Jenkinson;
  • Sarah Juma;
  • Alyson Kelly;
  • Nauzanin Knight;
  • Annelise Larson;
  • Michelle Leader;
  • Denise Lee;
  • Rennata Lopez;
  • Joanne Loton;
  • Leslea Mair;
  • Leah Mallen;
  • Michelle Melanson;
  • Nicola Pender;
  • Jill Roberts;
  • Sheena Rossiter;
  • Amy Saunders;
  • Patricia Scarlett;
  • Emily Schooley;
  • Lauralee Sheehan;
  • Gina Simone;
  • Pamela Slavin;
  • Kaitlan Stewart;
  • Amy Tepperman;
  • Bonnie Thompson;
  • Sarah Timmins;
  • Katy Tooth;
  • Ying Wang;
  • and Brandy Yanchyk.

“We are delighted to welcome Super Channel as Founding Industry Partner. Their support along with that of our other partners will enable us to offer increasingly meaningful education, resources, and industry access to our program participants as they navigate these challenging times,” said Banff World Media Festival executive director Jenn Kuzmyk. “The participants taking part in this program are leading some of the most exciting media companies in the country. We look forward to working with them as we all come together with the shared goal of advancing economic security and parity for women in the screen industry.”

“We jumped at the chance to lend our support to BANFF Spark and are thrilled to come on board as the Founding Industry Partner, especially at a time when our industry is experiencing so much uncertainty,” Super Channel president and CEO Don McDonald added in a statement. “We are committed to supporting diversity and the advancement of gender equality in the industry and we are honoured to be part of this important initiative that will help to advance the careers of so many talented and deserving women.”

BANFF Spark partners include BANFF, the Schulich School of Business and CIX.