WEOC News & Events

November 2022

Happy Women's Entrepreneurship Day

November 19, 2022

On November 17, The Honourable Rechie Valdez rose in the House of Commons to put forward a Bill to establish National Women’s Entrepreneurship Day annually on November 19.

November 19 is already recognized as Women’s Entrepreneurship Day by the United Nations and celebrated in over 140 countries.

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Bootstrap or Borrow?

WEOC Survey Report Released

In Spring 2022, WEOC launched the Loans, Capital and Women Entrepreneurs Survey. Today, in celebration Global Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (Nov.19), WEOC is sharing the results of this survey: Bootstrap or Borrow? Improving Equity and Access to Financing for Women and Non-Binary Entrepreneurs in Canada.

Through a combination of online surveys, focus groups, and individual interviews, more than 1,000 women and non-binary entrepreneurs shared their attitudes towards financing; their experiences of accessing or attempting to access capital; and their insights into how to improve the lending/granting process.

"We have consistently heard from our members and ecosystem partners that an inability to access capital is stopping women from starting and scaling their businesses. This project allowed us to hear directly from entrepreneurs about their lived experiences. Thanks to their openness and insights this report outlines key issues within the current lending system and offers ways forward that address and eliminate those issues."

Alison Kirkland, CEO, Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada



Export 101: North

Designed specifically for those working with women entrepreneurs in rural, remote and Northern communities

Second session added:

January 12-31, 2023

Explore barriers, identify opportunities and build your knowledge during “Export 101: North”, a course created specifically for those working with women entrepreneurs in rural, remote and Northern communities who are interested in growth through export.

Perfect for advisors who want to develop their understanding of critical export-related topics, this course brings together peers from across the country to learn from a bilingual (English-French) expert in Canadian export, as well as a number of special guest speakers.

Read more about WEOC courses


Board Announcement

WEOC is pleased to announce that Jennifer Bessell has been named Board Chair for a two-year term. Bessell Is the CEO of Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs (NLOWE).


Jennifer Bessell takes over the role from Marcela Mandeville, CEO of Alberta Women Entrepreneurs, who led the Board through two years that saw immense growth for WEOC, including the announcement of the WEOC National Loan Program

Shauna Harper, CEO of WEBC, has been named Board Vice-Chair. Harper will take over as Board Chair when both terms turnover in 2024.


“I welcome both Jennifer and Shauna to their new roles, having benefitted already from their thoughtful leadership and immense knowledge of women’s entrepreneurship in Canada,” said CEO Alison Kirkland. “The perspectives they bring from opposite sides of the country is invaluable in helping WEOC present a truly national perspective. I look forward to working together to address the economic and social barriers faced by women and non-binary entrepreneurs.”


The First Loan is Out!

We are thrilled to share that the first loan of the WEOC National Loan Fund has been distributed!

Read more about the loan program

#fuellingwomenentrepreneurs #gamechanger

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Upcoming Events



Loan Program

WEOC Café To-Go podcast, sponsored by TD

Our latest mini podcast features guests Shannon Pestun and Shauna Frederick from The Finance Cafe. It's a great conversation about money, how we feel about it, how we learn about it, and how all of that influences our work with entrepreneurs.

Thanks to our partners at TD, we will be continuing to share episodes throughout the fall. Find the series on Anchor, Spotify and Google Podcasts. Guests include Cate Friesen, Penny Tremblay and Kelly Thibodeau. 

This season is made possible with the support of our sponsor TD.

Join the WEOC Community!

Become part of a network of entrepreneurial advisors from across the country by becoming a WEOC member. All member organizations are easy to find at weoc.ca, listed under Find a Member Organization, our most searched page.


Alberta Women Entrepreneurs*

Community Futures Manitoba

Community Futures Saskatchewan

Export Navigator

The Forum

Manitoba Entrepreneurial Hubs

Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs*

PARO Centre for Women's Enterprise*

Réseau des femmes d'affaires du Quebec*

Trenval Business Development Group


Women's Enterprise Centre Manitoba*

Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan*

Women in Business New Brunswick/Femmes en affaires Nouveau-Brunswick

*WEOC Board Member

Join WEOC’s national network of organizations - Become a member!

WEOC members have exclusive access to our Learning Library, an evolving collection of online tools and resources. Membership also includes access to WEOC events and training sessions, and a way to connect through one-on-one and group discussions with peers across the country

Connect with us about membership


WEOC Board Gathers in St. John's

After years of virtual meetings, the WEOC Board, along with CEO Alison Kirkland, were delighted to gather in person at the end of October in St. John's, Newfoundland. The group participated in strategic governance sessions and attended the NLOWE Entrepreneur of the Year Awards gala. They may or may not have also kissed a cod!

Congratulation to all of the Entrepreneur of the Year Award recipients and a huge thank you to our colleagues at Newfoundland & Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs for your hospitality.

(L-R Back: Maxine Kashton, Marcela Mandeville, Miriam Johnson, Ruth Vachon, Alison Kirkland. Front: Shauna Harper, Jennifer Bessell, Rosalind Lockyer)

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The Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada’s network of members is spread across many territories. We respect and honour the shared land on which we live, work and play. We are committed to understanding our shared past and moving forward in the spirit of reconciliation.