Newsletter: March 2017 

Message From The Chair 
As the Chair of Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada I would like to note the many aspects of the 2017 budget that address current issues of gender inequality. Among other things, we are very pleased to see the recognition of the importance of measuring gender disaggregated data that will have a significant influence on policies designed to ensure women’s equal access to government programs. The gender lens will clarify many of the underlying inequities in our systems and we are grateful that this government has heard our voice in establishing this very important metric.

We applaud the availability of debt and venture capital accessible to women entrepreneurs that will certainly benefit many women-owned businesses.  We also acknowledge the efforts made in this budget to recognize the need for additional child care supports to enable women to participate more fully in those activities that benefit family and community.

While recognizing and appreciating the efforts being made to address these essential gender issues, we are also hopeful that there will be thought given to both start up and growth oriented women-owned enterprises.  In particular, we hope that some of the funds put aside for innovation and entrepreneurial development will result in additional funding for women’s business development.  We hope for supports for the programs and services that have been proven efficacious in assuring successful women-led enterprises that have both domestic and international impact.  These are both the grassroots programs that benefit new Canadians, indigenous women, and women in non-traditional businesses and growth oriented programs that help women to overcome the barriers to accessing growth capital and provide peer mentoring and coaching.

As the leading national organization in this ecosystem, we hope to continue to work in collaboration with the government to find the resources that, paired with access to capital, will result in strong growth- oriented women-owned businesses that contribute to the economy in jobs, taxes, and exports.  Women entrepreneurs are also major supports for their communities and families and the provision of services to this sector will result in increased economic security for women which I know is a fundamental tenet of this administration.  I look forward to working with our organizational members and our colleagues, and with Minister Chagger and others in government to achieve this most important objective.  

Sandra Altner
Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada (WEOC)

WEOC notes sadly the passing of a pioneer in the field of women’s entrepreneurship, Julie Rae Weeks. Her good counsel, deep research, and strong advocacy will be missed by hundreds of friends and colleagues around the world.

Link to obituary

Study shows the power of entrepreneurship training programs for women, minorities
Entrepreneurship programs have a more profound and long-term benefit for women and minorities than Caucasian men, according to research conducted by Laurina Zhang, assistant professor at the University of Western Ontario’s Ivey Business School.

Dr. Zhang’s study, Creating Entrepreneurs: The Impact of Entrepreneurship Programs on Minorities, will appear in the May of 2017 edition of American Economic Review: Papers & Proceedings. She and co-author Elizabeth Lyons, an assistant professor at University of California, San Diego, followed 335 undergrad students in North America who went through an entrepreneurship training program between 2011 and 2015.

Their report found there was “an increase in the likelihood that minorities subsequently pursue entrepreneurial activity,” particularly in the technology sector, following participation in the program.

The increase applies in both the short and long term, with a 23-percentage-point difference noted in the short term alone.

It comes down to access to resources such as mentorship and capital that these subgroups would otherwise struggle to acquire, explains Dr. Zhang.

“What we’re showing is that for a particular group of people [minorities and women], the benefits provided by the program are very important and difficult to access in the absence of the program,” she says.

“Whereas for the other group [Caucasian males], while the program can expedite the time it takes for them to gain access to these things, like networks, mentorship and capital, they would eventually be able to capture them, even without the program.”

The hope is that this research could affect future policy regarding government support and funding of incubators and accelerators.

Written by Daina Lawrence 
Special to The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Mar. 16, 2017 5:00AM EDT
Last updated Friday, Mar. 17, 2017 11:34PM EDT
Link to article here

Business Women in International Trade (BWIT) 
Trade Mission to WBENC'S National Conference and Business Fair
Many of us are going to WBENC in June because so many opportunities exist for our clients to do business with larger agencies and organizations, and with each other! We’re being supported by BWIT and their wonderful staff; here’s a link to pass on to your clients who may be interested:  Export through Supplier DiversityJoin BWIT’s Trade Mission to WBENC’s National Conference and Business Fair! The conference in Las Vegas, June 18-22, will welcome hundreds of delegates, including senior executive and procurement professionals from Fortune 500 companies. Access the world’s largest supplier diversity network and benefit from on-the-ground TCS support.

WEOC Is Featured...
Women-run support organizations assist women entrepreneurs in getting results! WEOC is proud to be a valued partner of BWIT, and be included in the  BWIT 2017 Newsletter
Key articles from the newsletter include: 

WEOC is also featured in CanadExport's article: “ Helping Businesswomen find Global Footing"

WEOC Member Spotlight
Women's Enterprise Centre of British Columbia (WEC)
Laurel Douglas, Head of the Women’s Enterprise Centre, has matched thousands of B.C. entrepreneurs with female mentors

With that in mind, the WEC runs a program that matches individual clients with more-experienced female business owners. The provincial non-profit service provider agency, which was founded in 1995 and also has offices in Vancouver and Victoria, delivers business advisory services, loans and skills training. It is described as a cross between a commercial lender, a post-secondary training institution and a management consulting firm. Besides one-on-one mentoring, the WEC offers a peer mentoring program on financial literacy with the Chartered Professional Accountants of British Columbia.

Douglas took the helm of the WEC in 2004; since then its mentorship efforts have served almost 2,500 women. In the one-on-one program, which launched in 2007, about 1,000 mentees have worked with some 200 volunteer mentors who came to the centre with at least five years’ experience in business for themselves. The WEC has also provided more than $33 million in direct and leveraged financing to female-owned companies, generating roughly $1 billion in economic activity throughout B.C. and helping create and maintain nearly 1,600 jobs.
Upcoming Events
NLOWE Annual Provincial Conference 

April 5-6, 2017 
St. John's, NL |  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: