AQT2015-18-270x170The Government of Canada’s Labour Program and Status of Women Canada have chosen the Association Québécoise des technologies (AQT) to initiate a project to advance women professionals and entrepreneurs heading small and medium-sized companies in Quebec’s information and communications technology industry. After a research and consultation process and with the involvement of guides from carefully chosen environments, a mentorship model will be developed that the association can integrate into its regular services.

Budget: $250,000

Duration: 30 months


The objective is to understand the main obstacles and to use the information collected to develop a mentorship model adapted to women’s specific situations, This mentorship model will give them access to higher-level jobs in their organizations and provide them with support in their entrepreneurial pursuits, and in so doing contribute to their economic advancement.

In figures:

  • 400 women will be consulted to gather information and define an optimal mentorship model.
  • 30 women will participate in the discussion groups.
  • 12 women will be mentored.

Each of these women will receive feedback throughout the various stages of the project to facilitate their rise to positions of influence.


  • The main reason women are kept from leadership or entrepreneurial roles is family.
  • Their known risk aversion is also a major obstacle to occupying roles with greater responsibility.
  • According to data gathered by the AQT, companies headed by women are smaller, with 80% of their companies numbering fewer than 30 employees (the overall average is 37). Consequently, their sales are 2.1 times smaller than the average.
  • They are also less likely to use advisory committees and boards of directors in their companies, which are known to be an important factor in success.
  • Family support, but most of all access to a mentor, is the guarantee of a woman’s success.


  • Establishing partnerships
    Establishing partnerships with chosen groups and organizations, bringing in experts on women’s rights and mentorship
  • Evaluating needs, analyzing the issue and defining the problems
    This stage of the project is intended to determine needs, and shortfalls between the desired conditions and the actual ones.
  • Exploring a mentorship model
    Designing an optimal mentorship program for—and adapted to the challenges of—the ICT industry.
  • Implementing the model
    Forming dyads (mentor /mentee pairs) that will provide a coaching framework for the selected women.
  • Pooling knowledge
    Establishing a reference centre (intranet) offering support tools and a mentorship kit.
  • Evaluating the project externally
    Evaluating the workings of the program, and the satisfaction of participants and mentors. Validating the level of learning and the benefits for both mentees and businesses.