April 19, 2022

Episode #67: C-Suite Unplugged: Judy Fairburn, Co-Founder & Co-CEO, The51 Ventures


That’s the percentage of the Canadian population who identify as women.

And this is a powerful percentage.

Because by 2030, Canadian women will control two-thirds of consumer spending in the country, up from one-third just a mere decade ago. In Alberta, 30% of tech start-ups are founded or co-founded by women, leading the nation in tech entrepreneurship (which sits at an average of 13%).

More and more spending and capital is being controlled and used by women. And with the shift in wealth transfer comes opportunity.

However, despite comprising 51% of the population or even one-third of entrepreneurship, women founders receive less in funding—less than 2.3% of venture capital, in fact—than their male counterparts, leaving a lot of good ideas, businesses, and ultimately, potential untapped.

Judy Fairburn is a long-time Alberta entrepreneur, who emerged from a career in energy to co-found The51, an Alberta-founded and women-led venture fund and financial feminist platform.

According to her official bio, Judy is a change-maker with a proven track record of building cutting-edge business ventures. And we agree.

Armed with a mission to “democratize access of women-led capital to women-led businesses,” Judy and the The51 team seek to change this story and empower, invest, support, and fund women founders—to tap into the potential of 51% of the population and unleash the power of women-led capital to solve some of the world’s biggest challenges and create real opportunities here in Alberta and Canada.

This episode highlights Judy’s passion for this work, how she came to this role, her advice for young professionals, why she is passionate about Alberta’s future, and so much more.

In this episode:

  • Why The51 was founded
  • Three “acts” of Judy’s career
  • Judy’s leadership philosophy
  • Advice for young professionals
  • Emergence of the financial feminist movement
  • The51 Factor
  • The51’s investment funds and focus areas
  • Movement51
  • Unleashing Alberta’s potential

Resources mentioned:

About C-Suite Unplugged

In this series, C-Suite Unplugged, host Adam Legge talks to Alberta’s top CEOs, entrepreneurs, and business leaders about their journey to the C-Suite, what keeps them up at night as an Albertan and as a leader in their industry, and what their outlook is for the future. .

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