Newsletter: May 2017 

In This Issue: 

  • Message from the Chair
  • WEOC at the 2017 W20 
  • 2017 Eileen Fisher Grant 
  • Get on Board! 
  • Year-End Wrap 
  • BWIT Links 
Message from the Chair 
Last week in New York I had the great pleasure to meet Nancy Ploeger, pictured below, the Executive Director of the International Women Entrepreneurial Challenge (IWEC). IWEC’s mission is to develop a global business network for successful women business owners, helping them gain and expand access to international markets, business opportunities and best practices and to promote a business dialogue on women’s fostering partnerships. WEOC is in the process of developing an affiliation with IWEC and one of our board members will be attending their conference in Washington State in November.

Over the past year we have been contacted by a number of international organizations supporting women’s entrepreneurship and have constituted a committee of the Board to vet the opportunities that these organizations present to our members. You will hear more about our efforts as these contacts develop and information is gained that will be useful to your clients in developing and growing their businesses.
Meanwhile, WEOC also has agreements with both WEConnect International and WBE Canada to assess women-owned businesses for the purpose of certification in order to help build the path to do more business with government agencies and large corporations both nationally and globally. 

In the weeks to come, we will be contacting our members to help us to extend our reach to every organization and enterprise in Canada that works with, supports and develops women-owned businesses. We hope you will help us to identify some new faces to add to our growing mosaic. General membership will continue to be free for the remainder of the 2017-18 fiscal year so there’s nothing but benefit to be gained by the exchange of information and ideas.

Happy spring!


WEOC at the 2017 W20
Laurel Douglas, CEO of Women’s Enterprise Centre and board member of WEOC, was part of the two-person Canadian delegation at the 2017 W20 in Berlin, Germany in late April. The W20 is the newest permanent engagement group of the G20. It was created to help advance women’s economic empowerment in G20 countries and beyond, by helping identify common priorities and encourage gender perspectives within the entire G20 process and the other G20 engagement groups. This is the second W20 summit which Douglas has attended on behalf of WEOC. The other Canadian representative at the W20 this year was Julie Delahanty, Executive Director of Oxfam Canada.

This year’s W20 identified three major priorities: labour market, digital and financial inclusion for women, including supporting women entrepreneurs to start and scale, build capacity, and have equal access to finance, markets and global value chains.

The entire W20 Communique and Implementation Plan can be found here. These documents were presented to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who promised to present the recommendations to her counterparts at the G20 Leaders’ Summit and help ensure that the priorities get acted upon. 

WEOC, Canada's sole national organization dedicated to the success of women entrepreneurs, and the authority on women's entrepreneurship in Canada is pleased to support Canada’s important role at the W20, and to ensure that the interests of Canadian women entrepreneurs and women in business are represented.

As part of the W20 event, there was also a conference featuring several high level panels. Chancellor Merkel addressed the conference on three separate occasions, showing her commitment to enhancing women’s economic empowerment in the G20 countries and worldwide. Other speakers included Minister Manuela Schwesig of Germany, Christine Lagarde of the IMF, Minister Chrystia Freeland of Global Affairs Canada, Ivanka Trump, Advisor to the POTUS, and Anne Finucane, Vice Chair of Bank of America and Inez Murray, of the Global Banking Alliance for Women.

At the event, a fund to support women-led ventures in developing countries was announced. It will be managed by the World Bank, and several G20 nations will be contributing to it, including Germany, the US and Canada.

2017 Eileen Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant
The EILEEN FISHER Women-Owned Business Grant program supports majority women-owned businesses that are beyond the startup phase and are creating a positive environmental and/or social impact. Each year, they award up to 10 businesses (and social enterprises) with a minimum grant of $10,000 and a trip to NYC.

Interested businesses can review the full eligibility and selection criteria and apply here . Applications are due May 31, 2017 at 5PM Eastern.

Get on Board!
The Women in Business Initiative - New Brunswick (WBI-NB) is encouraging women entrepreneurs to get on board, while boards can often be supportive environments to gain new experiences and develop new skills. Sitting on boards also provide female entrepreneurs opportunities to: (1) get hands-on practice in a variety of areas, (2) gain exposure on how other sectors function, and (3) make decisions influencing the direction and management of organizations.

In order to help women in business get on board, the WBI-NB offers various ways to make it easier for women to access a board of directors in public sector, private sector or the community. In 2016, we experienced a great success with a workshop entitled Introduction to Boards for Women. In 2017, the workshop will go further with Board Effectiveness for Women.

Some facts:
Studies show that women are underrepresented in many areas of leadership, including representation on boards. It is important for women to be involved on boards as women bring: (1) different knowledge and experience broadening input, opinions, ideas, and approaches, (2) unique perspectives on the needs and views of a significant proportion of board stakeholders, and (3) new connections.

Moreover, did you know?
  • Over 40% of public companies have no women board directors
  • 17% of Canada’s major 100 companies have no female directors
  • At the current pace, women will hold less than one-fifth of board seats in 2020

Source: Catalyst

For more information on The Women in Business Initiative - New Brunswick visit their website

Year-End Wrap 

Summary of key WEOC activity for the 2016-2017 year:

April 2016

  • WEOC was the national partner of Feminine Capital Bestseller Day which aimed to promote Professors Barbara Orser and Catherine Elliott’s book Feminine Capital: Unlocking the Power of Women Entrepreneurs

May 2016

  • Laurel Douglas, WEOC board member, was part of the 3-member Canadian delegation at the 2016 W20 Summit in Xi’an, China
  • Presentation by Sandra Altner, WEOC Chair, to ISED of WEOC white paper Recommendations on a National Women’s Enterprise Development Strategy to Drive Economic Growth
  • Attendance at Startup Canada Day on the Hill 2016
  • Participation of WEOC Chair in Ministerial Policy Hearing – Status of Women Canada

June 2016

  • WEOC partners participated in a dual city trade mission to the US, led by the Global Affairs Canada, Business Women in Trade Program
    • The first stop was Atlanta, Georgia, where US, Mexican and Canadian delegates participated in the Women in Business Summit
    • After two and a half days of learning and relationship building in Atlanta, many of the delegates went on to WBENC, the largest Supplier Diversity conference for women owned businesses in North America 
    • The Canadian WBENC delegation included 61 Canadian delegates, including women business owners, WEOC partners and other support organizations from across Canada
  • WEOC Chair began participation in Ontario Women’s Network meetings to discuss the development of a women’s enterprise centre in Ontario

July 2016

  • Tracey Scarlett, former WEOC board member, acted as an adjudicator for Startup Canada 2016

August 2016

  • WEOC Chair and Chair Elect present at the Canadian Entrepreneurship Institute in Ottawa on Scaling Women Entrepreneurship in Canada

September 2016

  • First newsletter of WEOC 
November 2016
  • WEOC 2016 AGM and reception held in Toronto, Ontario 
  • WEOC Board attends WEConnect International in Canada National Conference
  • WEOC Board attends the Canadian Women’s Entrepreneurship Conference
  • WEOC Chair invited to sit on Minister Chagger’s Round Table on Women’s Entrepreneurship

January 2017

  • WEOC Board attends SHEday 2017 in Winnipeg, Manitoba presented by Women's Enterprise Centre of Manitoba

March 2017

*Other activities include board meetings which take place monthly with occasional guest topic speakers

Business Women in International Trade (BWIT) 
Useful Links from BWIT
BWIT's Trade Mission to Las Vegas
Interested in supplier diversity opportunities? How about participating in the world’s largest business fair of its kind? WBENC’s National Conference and Business Fair is taking place in Las Vegas from June 18-22. The BWIT trade mission to WBENC will give you the chance to connect with the world’s largest corporations, including multinationals and government buyers. Please visit the trade mission webpage to learn how to join the Canadian delegation and to sign up for the May 17 pre-trade mission webinar.

“Creating Opportunities for Women Through Trade Missions” Event 
BWIT, in partnership with the Rotman Initiative for Women in Business, invites you to attend a panel discussion on "Building Relationships Across Borders: Creating Canada-U.S. Trade Opportunities for Women Through Trade Missions” in Toronto on June 2. The cross-border panel discussion will feature entrepreneurs and experts in exporting and diversity procurement in the U.S. market. Register online

My TCS Profile
Looking for exclusive access to the Trade Commissioner Service’s publications and guides, as well as upcoming events, webinars, podcasts, and more? Take a moment to create a profile for your business at MY TCS: Your personal link to business intelligence from around the world. You can customize the notifications you receive based on your sector and market interests. 

Share your views: Consultations on a potential MERCOSUR free trade agreement
Are you already exporting to MERCOSUR countries (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay), or maybe thinking about it? The Government of Canada would like to hear your views regarding a possible free trade agreement between Canada and MERCOSUR. But hurry! You only have until May 29 to submit your views

Go for the Greens: Trade Mission in Orlando, Florida, September 14-16
Businesswomen are invited to join the BWIT led trade mission to the tenth annual Go for the Greens (GFTG) Business Development Conference for Women Entrepreneurs. GFTG is a boutique business development conference for women entrepreneurs seeking supplier diversity opportunities through exclusive access to companies, including one-on-one business meetings and interactive workshops. Find more information here

More information on BWIT can be found on their website
Upcoming Events
Conférence: Cap vers la réussite

May 10, 2017
Montréal, QC |  Learn more here
Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan 2017 Conference: Business Innovation Through Technology
May 10-11, 2017
Saskatoon, SK | Learn more here
WEConnect International Day

June 19, 2017
Las Vegas, NV |  Learn more here

WBENC 2017 National Conference & Business Fair 
June 20-22, 2017  
Las Vegas, NV | Learn more here
Go for the Greens Business Development Conference for Women 
September 14-16, 2017
Orlando, FL | Learn more here
WBE Canada Conference 

September 28, 2017  
Toronto, ON |  Learn more here
WEOC Board

Sandra Altner, Women's Enterprise Centre of Manitoba
Paula SheppardNewfoundland 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? Find these and much more at our website: