Victoria – Premier Christy Clark announced $100,000 in provincial funding for the Women’s Enterprise Centre (WEC) to continue and expand its mentoring programs, helping women throughout British Columbia learn indispensable business skills.
The announcement was made today at We for She: Championing the Next Generation, one of North America’s largest gathering of women’s organizations, companies, experts, business leaders, advocates and young women with the goal 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.
WEC will provide three different mentoring formats to ensure accessibility and relevance throughout the province that include:
- Five new one-to-one mentors;
- Peer mentoring that will include 40 new women mentees; and
- Deliver six mentor advisory forums to 300 more participants.
In addition, WEC is partnering with the Certified Professional Accountants of BC to develop and deliver five peer mentoring groups in five separate communities of the province with the goal of increasing women business owner’s financial literacy. A minimum of 30 small business owners will get six months of peer mentoring that will help them better understand financial statements, cash flows, the impact of price changes on overall profitability, and more.
With the financial support from the Province of B.C., WEC has been able to offer a mentoring program to women in the early stages of their business since 2007. This year’s funding comes from a partnership between the Ministry of Jobs, Tourism, and Skills Training (JTST), which is contributing $50,000, and the Ministry of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction (SBRT), which is contributing the remaining $50,000. The program will run from Nov. 1, 2016, through Oct. 31, 2017.
Christy Clark, Premier of British Columbia –
“Women own and operate 38% of British Columbia’s businesses. Equipping them with more tools to help them succeed not only encourages more young women to follow their own dreams, but creates jobs and thriving neighbourhoods. By helping more women reach their potential, we can lift entire communities up.”
Shirley Bond, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour –
“Building women’s confidence to pursue their career aspirations is vital to increasing opportunities for women in business. Canadian women are starting businesses at a faster rate than men, and this program is tailored to give them the confidence to navigate the financial options that are available to them.”
Coralee Oakes, Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction and Minister Responsible for the Liquor Distribution Branch –
“We have seen enormous growth over the last five years of women starting small businesses in B.C., and the Province has a role to invest in developing the next generation of female entrepreneurs. Small businesses comprise 98% of the businesses in our province and connecting women with skills training and mentorship will give them the tools to participate fully in this important sector of our economy.”
Laurel Douglas, CEO, Women’s Enterprise Centre –
“We are excited to be offering the new Financial Literacy Mentorship Program that fills a much-needed gap to support women entrepreneurs and help them grow their businesses. Women’s Enterprise Centre has been providing mentorship programs, with funding from the Province, for the past nine years. We’re looking forward to continuing to help women who are considering, starting, purchasing or growing a small business in B.C.”
- B.C. continues to foster an entrepreneurship culture, including the declaration of October as Small Business Month and supporting programs that expose women and youth to business training, preparing them to become the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.
- Government created a permanent B.C. Small Business Roundtable in 2005, giving small businesses a voice in government. Currently, nine out of the 16 members (56%) of the B.C. Small Business Roundtable are women.
- With the addition of nearly one million job openings expected in the province by 2025, women will play an increasingly important role in keeping B.C.’s economy diverse, strong and growing.
- Approximately 38% of all business owners in B.C. are women, above the national average of 36%.
- Women comprise 38.2% of all self-employed people in B.C. in 2015, ranking B.C third among all provinces (national average: 36.9%).
To find out more information about Women’s Enterprise Centre, visit: www.womensenterprise.ca
To find out about career, education and training resources, visit Workbc.ca: www.workbc.ca
To learn more about career planning and B.C.’s Skills for Jobs Blueprint, visit: www.workbc.ca/blueprintbuilder
To find out more about the BC Jobs Plan, visit: engage.gov.bc.ca/bcjobsplan