Venture Out, a tech and social impact conference centred on Canada’s LGBTQA+ community is returning to Toronto this month for its fourth annual event. The conference will take place at MaRS Discovery District on March 19 and 20.
Some of the events breakout sessions will cover themes like trans solidarity, accessibility, and tech culture.
The event will feature keynote speakers including Kiana ‘rookz’ Eastmond, founder and director of Sandbox Studios, a creative space to cultivate, develop, and empower Canadian artists. Eastmond will discuss her experience as an entrepreneur in Toronto. Viet Vu, an economist at the Brookfield Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, will lead the second keynote with an exploration of how queer individuals are finding a place in Canada’s tech landscape.
“This year, we took a sobering look at the world around us and asked ourselves: what big topics aren’t we talking about that are impacting our community?” said Venture Out conference co-chairs Rachel Shi and Shadib Bin Newaz, in a joint statement. “What are the topics that keep us awake at night? What things make us human?”
The conference will include nine breakout sessions and workshops, two events for all attendees, and one career fair. Some of the breakout sessions will cover themes like trans solidarity, accessibility, building mental toughness, and tech culture. The event is being presented by Rangle.io. Local tech companies Loopio, Wattpad, and Fiix, will lead some of the conference’s conversations.
Since its launch in 2016, Venture Out has broadened its original vision to incorporate a deeper social impact framework. This year, Venture Out joined a diversity program with Dream Maker Ventures and the Dream Legacy Foundation, which will provide early-stage entrepreneurial programming to tech founders in five underrepresented communities. Venture Out will be serving the LGBTQA+ community as part of the partnership.
The Venture Out conference is aimed to cover large global problems through the lens of equity and justice, such as climate change and how the ecosystem can deliver more human positive outcomes in technology development.
“We knew we had to reframe the conversation away from Diversity & Inclusion 101 to address the problems that are dividing us while creating space for conversations about how the queer in tech community can come together to solve these issues,” Shi and Newaz added.
At the end of the conference, attendees will hear from participants of the Venture Out Founder’s Program. The six-week program is aimed to connect LGBTQA+ founders to educational content on tech and entrepreneurship, diversity and inclusion training, and mentorship. Participants are also able to pitch to venture capitalists.
Image source Venture Out via Facebook
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