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March, 2017

WEOC Response to Budget 2017

As the Chair of Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada (WEOC), 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
Chair, Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada
CEO, Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba

November, 2016

Investing in Women Entrepreneurs

Women Entrepreneurs in Canada got an incredible opportunity to connect, network and learn at the “Canadian Women's Entrepreneurship” and “Power the Economy” conferences in Toronto this month. The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism, announced at the Canadian Women's Entrepreneurship conference that the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) will take on a number of new initiatives, representing over $50 million in investments and will be a great resource for women entrepreneurs. The conference was hosted by the Ministry of Small Business and Tourism and emceed by Shereen Benzvy-Miller, the Assistant Deputy Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.

The two day “Power the Economy” conference, hosted by WEConnect International featured business leaders and advocates of women’s entrepreneurship. It also provided corporations as well as entrepreneurs an opportunity to learn about the benefits of getting involved in the inclusive sourcing programs.

Laurel Douglas, CEO of Women’s Enterprise centre was a key participant in both the events. She thanked the Minister of Small Business and Tourism and the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development for supporting the Women’s Enterprise Initiative in Western Canada. She said “Investing in women entrepreneurs is key to economic growth. These conferences have helped in building a strong root system for women business owners in Canada.”

October 26, 2016

Productivity Matters: Benchmarking your Company To Up Your Game

This BDC study surveyed more than 1,500 Canadian SME entrepreneurs and reveals that less than half (46%) measure their productivity and only 6% adopt formal comprehensive metrics and compare themselves with their peers.

The study covers:

  • What is productivity
  • What are the advantages of better productivity
  • What is the situation of Canadian companies in terms of productivity
  • How can we meet the challenge of productivity

Read the study here.

Benchmarking Tool: Compare productivity with other Canadian firms in your industry with the first ever productivity benchmarking tool developed by BDC and available free online.

October 18, 2016

The Canadian Women's Entrepreneurship Conference 2016

The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism, and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, invites you to attend the Canadian Women’s Entrepreneurship Conference on November 9, 2016. The conference, hosted by Minister Chagger, will be held in Toronto, Ontario at the Toronto Airport Marriott Hotel for a full day of activities.

Why attend?

This one-day conference will put you face-to-face with established and experienced business owners speaking on topics such as access to capital, expanding to new markets, and social innovation. We are looking forward to hearing your views on how we can improve support to women business owners. 

The one day conference will include panel discussions, small group discussions, a keynote speaker, networking opportunities and will present several government programs and services available to entrepreneurs. 

We hope to see you there!

Click here for more information.

October 4, 2016

14th Annual Small Business BC Awards

Small Business BC has officially opened nominations and voting for this year’s Small Business BC Awards. This is the largest small business awards competition in the province. Last year, 71 communities across BC participated. Nominations and voting are open between October 1 and November 30.

October is Small Business Month!

October marks the start of Small Business Month in British Columbia, a time to recognize the contributions entrepreneurs and small business owners make towards the economy and our local communities. This year is extra special because it marks the 10th anniversary of Small Business Month in our province.

To celebrate, Small Business BC and The Province of British Columbia have partnered to offer the Small Business Month Free Services Plan that will allow entrepreneurs and small business owners in BC FREE access to Small Business BC’s education and client services products and services, including seminars, webinars and Ask the Expert sessions, between October 1, 2016 and October 31, 2016. Check out their full list of offerings here. There are more than 30 seminars,webinars and Ask the Expert sessions to choose from this month. Space is limited, so register early to avoid disappointment!

September 21, 2016

The Canadian Women's Entrepreneurship Conference is coming up!

November 9, 2016

Save the date for the Canadian Women's Entrepreneurship Conference that the Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons, is hosting on November 9, 2016. The conference, which will involve a full day of activities, is taking place in Toronto, Ontario, at the Toronto Marriott Hotel.

Why Attend?

Whether you're a business woman, someone who aspires to be one or someone who works to support women entrepreneurs, this one-day conference is for you. You will meet established and experienced businesswomen who will be speaking about access to capital, expansion to new markets and social innovation, among other topics. As well, you will have the opportunity to tell the Government of Canada what you would like to see in terms of support services for women in business.

Watch this space for more information.

Aug 11, 2016

WE FOR SHE: Championing the Next Generation

October 14, 2016 | Vancouver Convention Centre West

The BC Economic Forum is all new this year, and it’s called WE FOR SHE: Championing the Next Generation.

WE FOR SHE aims to increase the economic impact of women in the province of British Columbia and will be one of North America's largest gatherings of women's organizations, companies, experts, business leaders, advocates and young women. It’s the sequel to the popular and successful BC Economic Forum: Women as a Catalyst for Growth events in 2014 and 2015, and the Regional Catalyst for Growth Dialogues of 2015. Join current and emerging leaders for this important event.

The goal of WE FOR SHE: Championing the Next Generation youth track, is to advance gender equality and grow the provincial economy, by giving students and young women a greater understanding of their career options and potential, expanding their confidence in what they can achieve, and giving them a chance to meet dynamic and successful role models.

We are a partner on this event, and are pleased to offer you special advanced registration and pricing to WE FOR SHE: Championing the Next Generation. The other partners are the Province of BC, the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, and the WEB Alliance, which we Co-Chair.

The following promo codes can be used to secure the BEST earlybird and member discounts:

  • Earlybird Code:  ‘WFSEARLY’ – until August 31. Price is $169 vs the regular earlybird rate of $249.
  • Member Code:  ‘WFSPROMO’ – after Sept. 1. Price is $199 vs the regular rate of $299

We hope to see you at this energizing and historic event and hope you will bring a young woman with you too.

Learn More and see the full program at:

July 5, 2016

PeerSpark Information Session in Vancouver PeerSpark Logo

Monday, July 11 | 11:30am - 1:30pm

By invitation only. If your business is growing and you’re looking for help and advice on how to accelerate that growth – contact: to discover if you qualify to apply. 

Connecting entrepreneurial women. Building Leadership. Accelerating success.

Join PeerSpark™ and accelerate your success:

Support your entrepreneurial spirit.
At PeerSpark™, female entrepreneurs support, encourage and share experience and expertise with each other as they expand their knowledge and take the next step in growing their businesses.

Enhance your skills.
Our participants learn from the best. At each meeting, experts will guide you through topics such as leadership, strategic planning, and market positioning, and help you apply what you learn to improve your own business.

Find strength in numbers.
We know entrepreneurs face the same obstacles, day in and day out. With PeerSpark™, you will learn and grow with peers, and confidently develop strategies to make the major decisions needed to grow your business.

Forge lasting relationships.
Through PeerSpark™, entrepreneurs develop a long-lasting network of friends and fellow business owners who care about each other’s success.

Empower significant business growth
Participants from our pilot project up to 2015 averaged 31% annual growth in revenue and 30 % growth in job creation.

Learn more about PeerSpark

April 5 2016

Cover of Feminine Capital book

What is YOUR Feminine Capital?

Find out and learn how to apply it in your business!

Buy the book Feminine Capital TODAY to get FREE bonus gifts

Women's Enterprise Centre is proud host and organizing partner of an international collaboration to showcase the collective power of women entrepreneurs AND present you with an exciting offer!

Learn how to leverage your 'feminine capital' – the unique set of skills and sensibilities that you use every day – in YOUR business, with the ground-breaking book Feminine Capital: Unlocking the Power of Women Entrepreneurs.


Purchase Feminine Capital on Amazon TODAY and receive BONUS GIFTS – just for buying the book:

  • 2 interactive webinars with authors Dr. Barbara Orser and Dr. Catherine Elliott – one for women’s enterprise support organizations and one for women entrepreneurs
  • Exclusive access to a collection of downloadable templates, resources and reports contributed by leading women’s enterprise support organizations from around the world
  • 6 personalized tools to help you apply the principles of Feminine Capital to your business or organization

Take part in this international learning opportunity and to leverage this exciting shift in entrepreneurship!

LEARN MORE about these offers at


Drawing on four decades of award-winning research, women's entrepreneurship experts Barbara Orser and Catherine Elliott reveal how women are harnessing different approaches to doing business.

They find that leveraging feminine capital can help women to create distinctive brands, build new markets, and drive profits—all while leveling the playing field in business. READ MORE >>

Praise for the Book

"The authors' guidance is spot on; it provides a good blend of touchstone references and new research; and the tools for teaching will serve women well, whether in the classroom or in the office."

—Julie R. Weeks, President and CEO, Womenable

"With its engaging and interactive approach, the book will appeal to young women seeking start-up guidance, academics, and professionals guiding business growth. Its focus on business innovation, exporting, and access to capital will unlock the exploding power of today's women entrepreneurs."

—Marsha Firestone, Founder & President, Women Presidents' Organization


We want this book to spark conversation about the enterprising women who are changing the face of entrepreneurship! Show your support for women’s enterprise on social media using #FEMCapital.

March 2016

Importing/Exporting to the USA? You Need to Be Here!

If you are a woman entrepreneur exploring your importing/exporting options, now you can access unprecedented support to make connections with Fortune 500 companies in trade missions to the US.

PLUS, thanks to a convergence of support programs to help you take advantage of this opportunity, you can also learn how to leverage your investment by participating in an upcoming info session and receive funding for a portion of your travel expenses with the CanExport Grant.

Women's Enterprise Centre can help you access these opportunities! Contact Kath Britton, Senior Business Advisor, if you're ready to take the next step.


BWIT is hosting two US trade missions to provide exclusive market access for women-led businesses. Join the Western-Canadian delegation on these trade missions to be part of B2B matchmaking, high-caliber networking and inspired programming while connecting with Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies in the US. Learn more >>

Women in Business - North America Summit
Atlanta, Georgia | June 15-17, 2016
Unique event designed for women-owned businesses in innovative technologies across multiple sectors, from Canada, the United States and Mexico, to find opportunities for exporting, technology partnerships, integration in global value chains and funding.

Target sectors: Information & communications technology; automotive; defence; water technology; infrastructure; solar; life sciences; agri-good; chemicals; and textiles.

WBENC National Conference and Business Fair
Orlando, Florida | June 20-23, 2016
The world's largest supplier diversity conference; network with procurement specialists from leading corporations, multinationals and government agencies, as well as women business leaders from over 18 countries.

>> NEW! Matchmaking Sessions at WBENC
WBENC has just opened matchmaking sessions up to Canadian women business owners. If you are planning on attending WBENC, you can take advantage of matchmaking opportunities - but hurry, the deadline is March 31st!


Learn about upcoming trade missions, why you should join one and hear first-hand experiences from entrepreneurs who have attended in the past. Join a FREE info session hosted by our partners:
March 15, 9 - 9:30am
March 22, 11 - 11:30am
March 29, 11 - 11:30am

You may qualify for funding to cover 50% of your eligible expenses as you develop new markets such as travel to target markets, participation in trade fairs and missions and market research. Learn more >>

The Government of Canada has announced CanExport, a program that provides direct financial assistance to businesses wanting to export to new markets.
Learn More in a CanExport Webinar
Tuesday, March 15 | 1:30pm EDT
No need to register - just access the webinar on March 15 using the password CanExport

Interested in accessing these trade opportunities? Contact Kath Britton, our Senior Business Advisor, to see how she can support you as you explore international trade and connect you with Canada's Business Women in International Trade.
| 1.800.643.7014 ext. 202


Keep your finger on the pulse of international trade and sign up for BWIT's CanadExport e-Magazine. The 2016 edition includes:
Trade missions: helping you grow your business
Supplier diversity takes centre stage
Snapshot of Canadian female-owned SMEs by industry

Inspiring Women Receive “Radical” Grassroots Funding

SheEO: Radical Generosity – a new funding and support model for women business owners across the country – has announced the first five recipients who will share a pool of $500,000 to grow their social impact companies. Congratulations to three winners from BC, including Women’s Enterprise Centre loan client Toni Desrosiers of Abeego Designs! Women’s Enterprise is a proud supporter of this incredible initiative to support the women’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

The remaining four recipients, chosen by an online voting process, are Suzanne Siemens and Madeleine Shaw of Lunapads, Sonia Strobel of Skipper Otto's Community Supported Fishery, Nadia Hamilton of Magnusmode, and Ilana Ben-Ari of Twenty One Toys. Besides receiving financing, the recipients will also be supported for a year with mentoring, retreats and workshops.

WEC CEO Laurel Douglas is an Activator and part of the movement. Led by Vicki Saunders of SheEO, the Radical Generosity fund has been created to support women-led businesses. Five-hundred female professionals from coast to coast have each contributed $1000 to this grassroots campaign, which aims to increase the funding pool to $1 million.

January 2016

Picture of hands holding a seed

You Can Help to Create Change: Introducing the Catalyst for Growth Fund

Submit your proposal to advance women in your community – apply by February 15 for up to $5,000!

We need more women leaders in BC – in business, on boards and in growing industries. Tell us how you can create change and you could get up to $5,000 to carry out your idea!

The Catalyst for Growth project, an initiative of Women's Enterprise Centre, helps take action to advance women in 2016 with the Catalyst for Growth Fund.

The World Economic Forum has identified women as the fastest-growing economic force in the world today.

In May 2015, people on throughout BC shared their visions and ideas to take advantage of this opportunity. Now it's time to implement these strategies and we may give you up to $5,000 to do just that.

This is your chance to make a real difference for women and the economy in BC!


  • STEP 1: View the key issues and recommendations identified in your area.
  • STEP 2: Identify what you can do to tackle a gap, problem or challenge or take advantage of an opportunity to advance women.
  • STEP 3: Submit your project proposal online and you may get up to $5,000 to help turn your vision into reality!

Some of the key areas being tackled by the Catalyst for Growth project include:

  • growing women in leadership (women executives, on boards, as professionals)
  • supporting women entrepreneurs
  • attracting women in trades and emerging sectors (Science, Tech, Engineering, Math)
  • fostering positive mindsets in all women
  • championing women and advocating for diversity
  • incorporating diversity in early education
  • activating men

View all of the recommendations at

Visit to learn more about the fund, including important dates and eligibility criteria.

Submit your proposal today! Application deadline is February 15.