Community Innovation Lab proudly presents the second annual Women's Entrepreneurship Finance Unconference.

It's not your traditional conference. It's an unconference.


Please join us on Wednesday, February 26, 2020, for an action-packed day of inspiration, learning, networking, and so much more.


Women's Entrepreneurship Finance Unconference

Our unconference is a participant-driven event guided by the belief that what's most needed already exists within our ecosystem of women entrepreneurs, thought-leaders and stakeholders.

We are breaking down barriers to creating real change by giving attendees all the power and redefining who is an expert! This disruptive unconference is an opportunity for women to rewrite their relationships with money and finance through highly interactive sessions, conversations, and experiences.

We believe the most valuable part of any conference is the conversations that happen over coffee between the speakers; help us unconference, and make those "coffee break" moments happen all day long.


Agenda Highlights

What does the unconference have in store for you? We are as excited to find out as you!

Here are some highlights:

  • Welcome and Opening Remarks
  • Keynote Speaker, Dr. Wendy Cukier
  • A panel of Inspirational women entrepreneurs and their journey
  • World Café - Your voices, your challenges, your stories
  • Lunch catered by Durham College Executive Chef and Students from the Durham College Centre for Food
  • Fire off: Entrepreneur Task forces report on World Café outcomes
  • Fire off: Finance & VIP task report on World Café outcomes
  • Plenary Panel of Women Finance Services (Government, Private sector, Philanthropists, Venture Capital firms, Women Angel network) with Q&A
  • A trade show featuring women-led businesses and organizations that serve women entrepreneurs
  • Dozens of talks, roundtables, and hands-on activities will be available throughout the day as proposed by guests

Be Part of the Exciting Launch of 5 Master Classes Designed for Female Founders!

  • #Buy Women-Owned
  • Peer-lending or Microfinancing?
  • Women's Entrepreneurship and Financial Confidence Studio
  • Storytelling and Branding
  • Elevator Pitch


Meet Our Guest Speakers and Panelists

Our lineup of inspirational speakers is sure to provide inspiration, advice, insight, and more to help you grow your business.

  • Tanika Riley, Event MC- City Builder, Arts Educator, Speaker, Artist and the Executive Director of POR AMOR
  • Dr. Wendy Cukier- Professor of Entrepreneurship and Strategy and Academic Director of the Diversity Institute at the Ted Rogers School of Management Ryerson University
  • Jean Barrett- Credit Officer, Community Micro-Finance Program
  • Jess Joss- CEO of an alliance of three angel groups; Angel One, GTAN, and SWO.

To learn more about our event lineup, please visit our website here.


Why Attend?

  • Our unconference is your chance to learn from other women entrepreneurs, finance industry experts, government representatives and service providers to openly ask questions, and seek out the answers to what matters most to you.
  • Build a collaborative network, establish partnerships, and be in a close community with a diverse group of people who share similar values and interests.
  • Be exposed to the latest ideas and issues, new projects, emerging businesses and tools.
  • Want to hear what guests had to say about the conference last year? Click here to hear all about it.


The Rules

  • Sessions are proposed by attendees. If there is enough interest in a topic it will be added to the agenda. Propose a session you can lead, or propose a topic for a discussion. The power is in your hands!
  • Every session will be given a Google document and notetaker, as well as sticky notes, markers and Flipchart paper.
  • Take responsibility for your own learning! Follow your passion and choose the sessions that interest you – If there are topics you are really interested in that don’t appear on the agenda at first, you need to suggest them.
  • Use the rule of two feet. If a session isn't right for you, use your two feet and leave. Find another session you want to join.



Interested in Becoming a Vendor at the Marketplace?

Showcase your products and services at our Trade Show to guests, potential investors, and more! To become a vendor, simply purchase a "Vendor Ticket". If you have any questions about becoming a vendor, please call 905-576-6112 or email Hurry, spots fill up quickly!

This Trade Show is sponsored by our "Elevating Women" Sponsor, McGovern Hurley.


If you would like to request a subsidized ticket, please fill out this form. Please note that this request does not guarantee that a subsidized ticket will be granted. We will follow up with applicants in regards to updates and selection.



How can I enter a promotional code that was provided to me?

Click the green "Tickets" button to the left. Once there, you will see an option in the upper left-hand corner with a link to "Enter Promo Code." Enter the code here that you were provided and any applicable discounts or tickets will be made available.

How can I contact the organizer with any questions?

Email The Refinery team at or call 905-576-6112.

What's the refund policy?

Refunds will be issued up to 7 days before the event.

Can I request a subsidized ticket for the UnConference?

Yes! We have some tickets that are being generously provided by Angel Sponsors to support woman entrepreneurs who otherwise would not be able to attend due to the cost being a barrier. If you would like to request a subsidized ticket, please fill out this form. Please note that this request does not guarantee that a subsidized ticket will be granted. We will follow up with applicants in regards to updates and selection.

If you would like to sponsor a woman entrepreneur as an Angel Sponsor, while also receiving recognition as an event sponsor, please select the "Angel Sponsor" ticket option! You receive one general admission ticket for you to attend, and iLab will distribute the other ticket to a female founder who has requested a subsidized ticket.

Thank you to our WEF^unC Sponsors for making this event possible:

Looking to support women entrepreneurs in Durham Region? Contact us for more information about sponsorship opportunities and ways to get involved by emailing!