June 2018

Message from the Chair 
WEOC and its members create networks within our ecosystem and connections to agencies and organizations outside of it to provide direct benefits to women business owners. A case in point is the recent partnership with Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) which will result in lower interest rates and better conditions for clients of WEOC members. Another example is the work we are doing to partner with Microsoft to provide important technology information through our newsletter and to help our members to present essential information to their clients regarding cybersecurity.

WEOC networks with international women’s organizations like our own to gather information about progress made in other countries toward entrepreneurship gender parity and to identify international award opportunities. We network with government agencies like Business Women in International Trade (BWIT) to disseminate information about trade mission and supplier diversity events that would benefit women and so that our members can work with their clients to build capacity to benefit from these trade opportunities. Our Board members participate in government Round Tables and meet with government officials in a continuum of network building that is designed to give all of us a greater voice.

Networking is everything because relationships are everything. It is the web that creates the optimal path to greater business prospects, to regulatory reform, to increased access to capital and to a plethora of shared information that spurs creative ideas, and innovation. Networking provides an exponential increase in the potential for mutually beneficial partnerships and valuable collaborations.

If the voice of women entrepreneurs has begun to be heard on a regional, national, and global level, it’s because organizations like WEOC are reaching out to all of our networks to make it so. The more that we each reach out, the better and stronger that voice.

Have a great summer!

In this issue: 
  • Feature theme: Networking
  • Hot topic: Networking at the Toronto Women's Forum May 10-11
  • WEOC member organizations: Saskatchewan and BC
  • BWIT: WBENC 2018 in Detroit: Beyond the Automotive Sector!
  • Resources: Curated content from around the web
  • Sponsored blog: Chat: The philosopher's stone of business
  • Upcoming events
Feature theme: Networking
WEOC and its member organizations are building Canada's economy by helping women entrepreneurs through all phases of their business cycle, whether they're just starting out or looking to grow and scale operations nationally or internationally.

Please share these resources with your members.
How Successful Women Network for their Career and Business

Most business and leadership gurus tell women that it’s important to network. And for those who are eager to succeed, we dutifully follow the advice believing that networking will facilitate and support our ambition.

Caroline Pugh, chief of staff to the president at Care Journey, is a master networker. In fact, in a recent conversation, Caroline shared that she spends 20% of her time networking. Her efforts have produced a strong strategic network. For the purpose of this article, Caroline has tapped into her network and introduced me to Kay Koplovitz, founder of the USA Network and cofounder and chairman of Springboard Enterprises, Jennifer Justice, president of corporate development at Superfly and former attorney to Jay-Z, and Susan Pelczynski, UPWARD Women DC Metro Advisory Board Member. I reached out to each of them to learn more about how successful women approach networking.

The following is a summary of the tips and advice shared:
  • If you're targeting a male-dominated industry, find a way to fit in, in a firm, subtle way. Remember that you're a leader among leaders, so don't let self-doubt get in the way.
  • Be part of the conversation. Use networking to ask for advice or ask questions about opportunities in the market you're working in.
  • Start networking early in your career to build a book of business and develop your business. You need the relationships as you grow.
  • Network with a business purpose if you expect to scale your company.
  • Cross-pollinate industries to develop your leadership.
  • Look for networking events that last longer than your average dinner or breakfast so you can get into deeper conversations and exchange business opportunities.
  • Networking for business should result in connections that benefit your business or help you advance it in some way. Think about your objectives and keep them top of mind.
  • Be intentional about supporting other women. Support each other and overcome some unintentional bias that may be out there in decision-making.
Hot topic: Stories from the trenches
Summary of the Women's Forum for the Economy and Society:
May 10-11, Toronto
From WEC BC Board Chair Jill Earthy

Last month the Women’s Forum took place in Toronto as one of the many meetings bringing together a global audience in preparation for the G7 meetings. Close to 700 people gathered from around the world to address the gaps in economies and societies, and most importantly, to recognize the opportunities for meaningful change that we can achieve together.

The highlight of the first day was the #MeToo debate featuring 3 presenters on each side of the argument “Is the #MeToo movement creating a larger divide between men and women?”. It was a well done format and very impactful with the ultimate verdict preferring the argument against this question. I loved the energy and the insight around this topic. Sometimes we need to create a divide before we can move closer together.
Throughout the conference, the theme of entrepreneurship was connected to economic opportunity. When women flourish, so do communities. It was referenced that women spend 90% of wealth on family and in bettering their communities. Reducing financial barriers for women result in significant economic impact and opportunity.
Discussion themes focused on how diversity drives innovation. Diversity included gender and culture, with a specific emphasis on incorporating youth and indigenous voices to make meaningful change.
Women entrepreneurs play an essential role in the economies of all countries. The work of the Women’s Enterprise Centre Organizations of Canada (WEOC) is critical to ensure female entrepreneurs receive the support and resources, including capital, needed to thrive. It was clear from this Forum that Canada is well positioned as a leader but that there is more work to be done.
On June 5 a  manifesto  was released to share the recommendations and solutions representing the spirit and the heart of the conversations at the Forum, inspired by best practices from across the G7 nations.

#askwomen #daretolisten #bridginghumanity
Monthly feature: WEOC member organizations
Saskatchewan: Women's Entrepreneurs Week
The Government of Saskatchewan proclaimed Women Entrepreneurs Week across the province from May 21-27 to celebrate Saskatchewan’s women entrepreneurs and to increase awareness of their significant contributions to the provincial economy.

During Women Entrepreneurs Week, WESK hosted its annual small business conference, Resilience: Tragedy to Triumph, Failure to Success on May 24 at the Double Tree Hotel in Regina. The day leading up to the conference, WESK hosted its inaugural Celebration of Achievement Gala & Entrepreneur Awards to highlight the achievements of Saskatchewan’s female business leaders. WESK presented its first Celebration of Achievement Award to Hillberg & Berk CEO and Founder Rachel Mielke. WESK also recognized the achievements of the following women: Meagan Barabash owner of BRAVO Dance Co. and recipient of the Emerging Entrepreneur Award; Jordana Jacobson owner of Cravings Maternity-Baby-Kids and recipient of
the Growth & Expansion Award and Brooke Longpre owner of Sound Solar Systems Inc. and recipient of the Innovation Award.

“I would like to thank Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan for their tireless work supporting women entrepreneurs across the province,” Status of Women Minister Tina Beaudry-Mellor said. “Not only do women make a significant contribution to our economy through entrepreneurship, they’re also disrupting the marketplace with new ideas and innovations. Through it all, WESK is there to guide and support them every step of the way.”

Celebration of Achievement Award - Rachel Mielke
It's Still the Wild West for Women in Tech -- and Female Founders are Expanding the Frontiers

In Canada, women make up 5% of tech founders and receive less than 4% of venture capital. They face unique challenges in raising capital, entering established networks and adapting their needs to the current tech-focused support programs around the country.

It’s important to focus the needs of female founders of tech ventures as distinct from women who are working as employees in the tech industry.

Female founders are expanding the frontiers of diversity in the tech industry, despite the challenges noted above.

There are exciting initiatives around the country to encourage women to venture into the high-growth tech industry and create world-class businesses, while also becoming investors in tech ventures.

For example:
  • In BC, Women’s Enterprise Centre (WEC) has partnered with the Discovery Foundation on a peer mentoring program for female founders.
  • The impact investing and management company, Pique Ventures (founded by WEC board member Bonnie Foley-Wong), manages an Angel Fund which invests in women-led ventures. Women investors have provided over 80% of the fund’s capital.
  • The Raise Collective (co-founded by WEC board chair Jill Earthy) supports female founders on their journey to raising capital while enabling more women to become investors.
  • In addition, Vancouver-based fintech startup, FrontFundr (of which Jill is Chief Growth Officer) has helped raise funds for 21 different firms, of which one-third were women-led. Over one-third of the investors in Frontfundr’s latest round of financing to support its own growth across Canada were women.

On a national level, the Canadian government is investing in women in technology, earmarking $50M of the  Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative  (VCCI) for under-represented groups such as women and diverse fund management teams (successful proponents to be announced soon).
Business Women in International Trade (BWIT)
WBENC 2018 in Detroit: Beyond the Automotive Sector!
Are you ready to access exclusive opportunities? The Honourable François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of International Trade, will lead a delegation of business women to the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) National Conference and Business Fair in Detroit. The WBENC annual conference offers high-impact and efficient business-to-business meetings and networking for women-owned businesses. Get pre-departure support by joining BWIT’s two upcoming webinars. The first is on May 17th and will focus on what to expect from the trade mission, followed on May 30th with best practices to prepare and maximize your time while at WBENC.

Additional programming at WBENC includes  WEConnect International Day on June 18th  and  WBE Canada’s Breakfast with Brands on June 19th . Book your calendars now for BWIT’s webinars. Visit our  webpage  to join the Canadian delegation.
Reading from around the web
A collection of curated articles to help you grow and develop female entrepreneurs
Sponsored blog
Chat: The philosopher's stone of business
Wondering how collaboration can turn misses into hurrahs? This post uncovers a hidden productivity secret, often dispelled by business owners as frivolous and unproductive. Well, turns out, chat is pure productivity fuel.

Employees already chat on their devices or online messenger, so how can real-time chat for business boost their productivity?

Chat for business
Chat (or instant messaging) increases collaboration and communication within teams, big or small. By introducing this real-time utility to the employee toolkit, many Canadian companies see a direct impact on performance. By staying connected, employees save time, problem-solve faster, and get more done in a day.

Businesses that embrace instant messaging see remarkable improvements in productivity. Employees who adopt business instant messaging hit more deadlines and get more work done than those who rely on email communications.

Per , chat can make a big employee impact:
  • 75% reduction in call and email volume
  • 66% improvement in resolution of quick questions
  • 21% moderate/significant productivity increase

Six chat adoption tips
If the above statistics impress you, you’re ready to introduce this technology to your team. By following these best practices, you can improve the adoption rate of this productivity tool in your company:
  1. Explain why
  2. Make chat universal
  3. Consider compliance
  4. Avoid standalone solutions
  5. Respect boundaries
  6. Email still has a place
Upcoming events
WeConnect International Day
June 18, 2018
Detroit, MI | Learn more
BWIT Trade Mission: WBENC
June 19-21, 2018  
Detroit, MI | Learn more
#Movethedial Stories Calgary
June 20, 2018 
Calgary, AB | Learn more
WEOC Board

Sandra Altner , Women's Enterprise Centre of Manitoba
Paula Sheppard , Newfoundland and Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs
Laurel Douglas , Women's Enterprise Centre of British Columbia
Marcela Mandeville , Alberta Women Entrepreneurs
Ruth Vachon , Femmes, Affaires et Développement
Prabha Mitchell , Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan    
Want to become a member of WEOC? Interested in resources for women entrepreneurs and women entrepreneur support organizations? Find these and much more at our website: 
Have an idea or suggestion for the WEOC newsletter? Contact us.