CFC Media Lab Announces New Cohort of Women-Led/Owned Companies for Fifth Wave Labs

Posted: Nov 7, 2022

Six headshots of Fifth Wave cohort 5 participants

Toronto, November 7, 2022 – The Canadian Film Centre’s Media Lab (CFC Media Lab) is pleased to announce the five founders and companies selected to participate in the fifth cohort of Fifth Wave Labs, a four-month business bootcamp for women-owned / led businesses, and one component of the larger Fifth Wave Initiative, Canada’s first feminist business accelerator.

Through its suite of programs and services designed specifically for women-owned/led businesses, the Fifth Wave Initiative addresses the significant gaps that women entrepreneurs face in equitable access to capital, and connections and opportunities in the digital media industry. All programming focuses on radically inclusive feminist business practices and weaves feminist ideals of equity and fairness into business sustainability and scalable growth. To date, the Fifth Wave Initiative has supported 115+ women-owned/led businesses in southern Ontario’s digital media sector.

“It’s gratifying to see a shift towards community-building platforms and portfolio companies that are deeply values-aligned and focused on supporting a feminist economy in this fifth cohort,” shared Nataly De Monte, Director, CFC Media Lab. “These women are changemakers committed to strengthening an ecosystem of equitable and fair businesses for the advancement of women entrepreneurs. They want to build on their strengths and cultivate resilience together in times of economic uncertainty.”

“Congratulations to the new cohort of women founders and women-led companies announced today,” said the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario). “The Government of Canada is committed to the success of women entrepreneurs and proud to support organizations like the Canadian Film Centre and the Fifth Wave Initiative through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy Ecosystem Fund.”

Fifth Wave is pleased to welcome Cassandra Rudolph, founder of Lucky One Projects (Cohort 4 alumna) as the guest Entrepreneur-in-Residence for Cohort 5. In this role, Cassandra will act as a mentor to the below group of entrepreneurs, sharing insights on a founder-to-founder level about her experience leading a values-aligned business and participating in Cohort 4 of Fifth Wave Labs.

“The founders of cohort 5 are embarking on an incredible accelerator experience,” added Rudolph. “Fifth Wave Labs connected me with knowledge and feedback that changed the future trajectory of Lucky One Projects and reaffirmed how important it is that we lead with intersectional feminist values. Looking forward to paying that forward and connecting with the incoming founders as Entrepreneur-in-Residence.”

The following founders and companies have been selected for the fifth cohort of Fifth Wave Labs:

  1. Christy Pettit, Pollinate Networks: Mentoring software that drives productivity through better matching using technology and matching algorithm.
  2. Jenn Hazel, Curate Concierge: Online business management that helps entrepreneurs scale and grow their businesses with usable, sustainable and maintainable systems, while supporting intersectional feminist business practices and advocating for responsible business practices and business owners with a broader social mission.
  3. Keda Edwards Pierre, True2Soul Network: A collective of professionals and community members devoted to trauma recovery, healing and transformation through education and training, support services and holistic products.
  4. Kristine Beese, Untangle Money: Creators of the financial planning product MINI that is designed to reduce women’s financial anxiety by giving women clear mental models about their money that they can use day-to-day.
  5. Melanie Grad and Ruth Wylie, Perspective Squared: A digital agency and studio founded in the spirit of delivering content strategy and video production services with integrity and purpose. Focused on delivering thoughtful video content solutions with impactful messaging that will reach and resonate with audiences and support business goals.

Cohort 5 is a mentorship-based program running from November 2022 until February 2023. It will be delivered virtually through a range of webinars, virtual workshops and events, online sessions, and expert presentations, all designed specifically for women-owned/led digital media businesses seeking sustainable growth plans and scalable business models. In addition to receiving mentorship from the Entrepreneur-in-Residence, the founders/companies will be connected with a Lead Guide mentor and will receive bespoke coaching in business development and modelling, market, sales, strategy, partner development, financing, planning for scale, staffing, company culture and wellness, and fundraising, all delivered through an intersectional feminist lens.

Fifty percent of Cohort 5 is comprised of underrepresented women entrepreneurs working in digital media in southern Ontario. The broader Fifth Wave Initiative is committed to a minimum 30 percent participation by members of underrepresented and equity-seeking groups. These include, but are not limited to, 2SLGBTQ+ women, women with disabilities, neurodiverse women, Indigenous women, women of visible minorities, women in rural or remote regions, newcomers to Canada, and women from Official Language Minority Communities (OLMCs).

To date, more than 100 women-owned/led companies have joined the Fifth Wave Initiative and have participated in Fifth Wave Connect programming.

The Fifth Wave Initiative is funded in part by the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.

Learn more about the Fifth Wave Initiative at

Fifth Wave Partners: OCAD University’s Super Ordinary Lab; Eve-Volution, Inc.; Digital Justice Lab; The Pivotal Point; Marigold Capital and SheEO.

Fifth Wave Media Sponsor: Liisbeth, a women-led and owned indie feminist media enterprise with a global outlook that publishes an open-access monthly digital magazine and newsletter.

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About CFC Media Lab
The Canadian Film Centre Media Lab (CFC Media Lab) is an internationally recognized leader in the development of transformational technologies, businesses and entrepreneurs. The CFC Media Lab is a unique production think tank, training institute and business accelerator that supports hundreds of emerging digital content creators, practitioners, entrepreneurs and companies. Our programs and initiatives provide visionary leadership and extensive expertise in strategy, product, business, finance, and ethics needed by Canadians involved in the digital revolution.

About FedDev Ontario
For 13 years, the Government of Canada, through FedDev Ontario, has worked to advance and diversify the southern Ontario economy through funding opportunities and business services that support innovation, growth and job creation in Canada’s most populous region. The Agency has delivered impressive results, which can be seen in southern Ontario businesses that are creating innovative technologies, improving productivity, growing revenues, creating jobs, and in the economic advancement of communities across the region. Learn more about the impacts the Agency is having in southern Ontario by exploring our pivotal projects, our Southern Ontario Spotlight, and FedDev Ontario’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. | @cfcmedialab

Media Relations

Cory Angeletti-Szasz
Director, Marketing & Communications, CFC

Edward Hutchinson
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

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