Women play an important part in business leadership, and they bring key skills, values and perspectives.
This article describes resources, supports and financing available to help women business owners thinking of becoming entrepreneurs.
Devise your business plan
As discussed in a companion article, an effective business plan provides a solid roadmap to help you chart your path toward business success.
Explore Financing for women
You’ll need to plan your finances. Explore the various government grants, loans and financing available, as well as specific financing programs for women starting or growing their business.
Alberta Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to helping women entrepreneurs build successful businesses, while contributing to the economic benefit of Alberta. In addition to providing numerous women-centred programs and services, AWE offers loans of up to $150,000.
Find Supporting organizations
Next, you’ll need to connect with business professionals, advisors, mentors and peers to develop your skills and achieve your business goals. Supporting organizations may provide unique programs and services to women at all stages of business, including
- networking opportunities
- help with market expansion
- programs for Indigenous women
- training, workshops and conferences
The following is just a small sampling of women-centred supporting organizations.
Mompreneur® Showcase Group Inc. (commonly known as Mompreneurs®) supports, educates and empowers moms in business. Mompreneurs® empowers and connects entrepreneurial moms across Canada, letting them learn from one another.
- WEConnect International
WEConnect International identifies, educates, registers and certifies women’s business enterprises that are at least 51 per cent owned, managed and controlled by one or more women, and connects them with multinational corporate buyers. If you are a woman and would like to certify your business as a Women’s Business Enterprise, WEConnect International can evaluate your business readiness.
- eWomenNetwork (Edmonton Chapter)
A resource for business and entrepreneur networking in Edmonton, eWomenNetwork supports, promotes and showcases its members’ products and services to help them achieve their professional goals. Networking events help members build relationships with successful businesswomen who know the benefits of sharing and helping.
- Business Women in International Trade
Part of the Trade Commissioner Service (TCS), Business Women in International Trade (BWIT) is the only national program that provides targeted products and services to help women entrepreneurs internationalize. BWIT’s mandate is to link Canadian women entrepreneurs with international business opportunities to help spur their company’s growth.
- Empowering Women Entrepreneurs (EWE)
Meeting every third Thursday, EWE serves women CEOs, business owners and entrepreneurs in Edmonton, Beaumont, Leduc, Nisku and surrounding areas. Members work together to achieve personal and professional growth and development by sharing experiences, coordinating special marketing events, conducting workshops and seminars, and leveraging their power as a network.
- Connected Business Women Network (CBWN)
A savvy group of female entrepreneurs, executives and business professionals, CBWN focuses focused on providing professional women in business with opportunities to network, connect and be inspired.
Learn more about Women’s entrepreneurship in Canada
As the number of supporting organizations listed suggestions, gaining insight into women entrepreneurship helps further understanding of women’s economic and leadership contributions. Canadian women have increasingly positive attitudes towards entrepreneurship. As reported in the 2015/16 biennial Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) Canada Report on Women’s Entrepreneurship, Canada has emerged as a leader in women’s entrepreneurship:
- In 2016, early 85 per cent of women indicated they were motivated to start a new business by opportunities, rather than by necessity.
- Many women feel that they have the knowledge, skills, and experience needed to succeed, and know other entrepreneurs.
- There is higher job creation for women’s firms.
Women are increasingly becoming business owners, and the trend is here to stay!