New Initiative Supports Women Pursuing Entrepreneurship In Emerging Technologies
With perfect timing for this edition’s content on “Small Business Month,” my column is the perfect spot to inform our readers about a new government investment seeking to double the number of women-owned businesses by 2025. Since I am a female business owner and the only woman to date to be chosen “Entrepreneur of the Year” by the Windsor Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce, I am thrilled to share this wonderful news.
In late August 2019, the Government of Canada through FedDev Ontario announced it would be providing up to $692,000 over the next four years to provide coordinated support to women entrepreneurs to start and grow a business with a focus on emerging technologies.
The first ever “Women Entrepreneurship Strategy” (WES) is led locally by the WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation’s Small Business Centre and “will help more of our women-owned and women-led businesses grow, innovate and export to new markets,” states Sabrina DeMarco, Executive Director, Small Business Centre (SBC). “The program will provide mentorship, skills training, and programming to help women scale their businesses through access to financing, talent, networks and expertise.”
To help achieve a more inclusive economy, this funding also supports more young women to pursue education or career paths that lead them to choose starting or growing a technology company.The funding is made possible with the support of the following entrepreneurial ecosystem partner agencies: the University of Windsor’s EPICentre, WEtech Alliance, Windsor Essex Capital Angel Network, WorkForce Windsor Essex and Build a Dream.
Working as an integrated and coordinated ecosystem, the local organizations will help foster women to start and grow tech businesses across all stages of business development.
Moreover, WES aims to ensure outreach and participation of a new generation of women entrepreneurial leaders. Considering that the Windsor Essex region is one of the most ethnically diverse cities in Canada this only makes sense!
With the support of the Government of Canada these partner agencies are committed to this project over the next four years and are focused on:
- Increasing the number of young women pursuing education and entrepreneurship opportunities in emerging tech
- Establishing mentorship activities that support the matchmaking of aspiring women entrepreneurs with successful leaders in the emerging tech space
- Delivering boot camps and mentoring targeted at educating women entrepreneurs on accessing capital
- Hosting supplier diversity workshops to encourage existing companies to develop and adopt diversity plans
- Identifying and recruiting organizations to participate in workplace diversity programs
To learn more, stop by the SBC main office: 119 Chatham Street West, Unit #100 in Windsor or their satellite office: 39 Maidstone Avenue East, Essex. Information is also available online.
In conclusion, DeMarco sums up this new strategy with hope: “We are excited to be making these resources available to support women entrepreneurs pursuing technology businesses. If you are a woman with an entrepreneurial spirit, there’s never been a better time to start a business in Windsor-Essex!”