Supporting Women to Launch and Grow Tech related Ventures 1

Supporting Women to Launch and Grow Tech-related Ventures


Providing a program designed by women to support female technology entrepreneurs from a diverse range of backgrounds.

The future is bright for Paige Whitehead and Yamila Franco of Nyoka Design Labs.

Paige Whitehead and Yamila Franco of Nyoka Design Labs

Each year, more than 500 million toxic, non-recyclable glow sticks end up in landfills and oceans.

Yamila Franco and Paige Whitehead, two University of Victoria graduates, knew there had to be a better option for the environment. They co-founded Nyoka Design Labs to create the world’s first bioluminescent, non-toxic and plastic-free glow stick.

Now based in Courtenay on Vancouver Island, the social enterprise employs seven people in B.C.

The women-led, highly diverse team recently launched their first product, LÜMI – a durable, reusable and very bright glow stick.

Yamila beams as she describes how Nyoka Design Labs leverages clean technology to create an eco-friendly alternative for consumers and organizations, including concert goers, humanitarian aid groups, the military and search & rescue teams.

Born and raised in the Dominican Republic, Yamila is a proud Afro-Indigenous woman who was among 31 recent participants in W Venture, a Digital Technology Supercluster project focused on supporting women of all backgrounds to successfully launch and grow their tech-related ventures.

In addition to developing lasting relationships with other ambitious women, Yamila honed her business skills in W Venture’s nine-month program. In particular, she created a strategic plan for her organization that serves as “our north star and a long-term goal our team can all work toward.”

Learn more about Nyoka Design Labs

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