Calling all Experts! Join our All Access Expert Advice Program Today!

The All Access Expert Advice Program is an exclusive opportunity for WESK members to meet with our roster of local specialized experts.

All Access serves as a complement to WESK’s business advisory services. As an All Access Expert, you pick up where our WESK advisors leave off. Our program is designed to educate and guide our members through their legal, accounting, marketing, and human resouces challenges.

If you have knowledge to share in these areas, we invite you to submit an application. As an All Access Expert, you’ll be required to offer advice, knowledge, and strategy to help our members start, build, and grow their businesses.

APPOINTMENT FORMAT

  • One-to-one; one hour in length
  • Tuesday afternoons from 1:00 – 4:00pm
  • Due to COVID-19, appointments will be conducted via phone or video until further notice

INTERESTED? READ ON!

WESK requires at minimum, an investment of one Tuesday afternoon (1:00pm-4:00pm) between the months of September 2020 and June 2021. Experts will rotate through Tuesday afternoons on a monthly basis. Additional commitment is welcomed and encouraged. All dates will be confirmed for the season by August 20, 2020.

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS

  • Professional biography (<200 words)
  • Headshot
  • Number of Tuesdays you are willing to commit to
  • Detailed description of the areas you can assist in
  • Brief (<100 words) company bio
  • Company logo

Interested? To apply or for more information, contact:

Josie Fries

Marketing Advisor, WESK

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Saskatchewan Advisory Committee on the Gender Entrepreneurship Gap Releases Final Report to the Government of Saskatchewan

Impact on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Job Creation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – July 28, 2020

SASKATOON, SK – Women entrepreneurs are major contributors of economic growth and job creation. In 2019, women entrepreneurs contributed $23.1 billion to the Saskatchewan economy and created 191,836 jobs. Yet, research indicates women entrepreneurs encounter unique barriers that hinder full participation in growing the wealth of our province.

The final report presented today to the Government of Saskatchewan’s Status of Women Office by the Saskatchewan Advisory Committee on the Gender Entrepreneurship Gap focused on levelling the playing field by outlining ten recommendations that support women entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. 

“Enabling women-owned businesses to scale not only advances gender equality but also spurs economic growth,” said WESK CEO Prabha Mitchell. “If Saskatchewan accounts for 4.2 per cent of national GDP, there is potential for an additional injection of $6.3 to $17.64 billion in GDP by supporting women in scaling their businesses.”

The Committee’s recommendations were defined under the following four key pillars:

  1. Enhancing access to capital;        
  2. Developing scale-enabling policies;
  3. Streamlining access to data, programs and networks; and
  4. Enhancing awareness and support by building momentum

Evidence indicated women are less likely to secure capital than their male counterparts. One of the 10 recommendations referenced policy changes to creating incentives for angel investors. Research has shown companies with at least one female founder outperformed all-male founding teams by 88% over a ten-year period. Women-led businesses can successfully scale and incentives for angel investors provides potential capital beyond traditional financial institutions.

“When we support women entrepreneurs, we increase Saskatchewan’s economic growth and competitiveness and build a better quality of life for all residents,” says Minister Responsible for the Status of Women Office Tina Beaudry-Mellor. “Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan and its Advisory Committee are to be commended for this important study, which charts a collaborative course towards increasing women’s economic participation and prosperity.”

A proposed partnership with post-secondary institutions related to access to capital accounted for another recommendation. Financial acumen relative to accessing capital, and more importantly, increasing the number of female investors and leaders in decision-making teams is paramount.  The Committee recommended post-secondary institutions develop and deliver micro-credentialing programs to augment financial literacy as well as educate and empower women to engage in investment activities.  

The Committee, created by the Government of Saskatchewan in May 2019, had a mandate to advise the Government on strategies, policies and activities to close the entrepreneurship gap by examining gender disparity in business growth. The twelve-member Committee commenced work in September 2019 and concluded in June 2020. In spring 2020, the Committee re-examined the original recommendations to address the challenges emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Building a business climate conducive for women-owned businesses to scale also contributes to advancing the achievement of goals defined in the Saskatchewan Growth Plan.

Watch the live recording of the press conference here: https://youtu.be/3tgAOb7YVBs

Links

For more information, please contact:

Josie Fries, Marketing Advisor, WESK

T: 306-477-6286

About WESK

WESK is a non-profit, membership-based organization that provides business advisory; start-up, purchase and expansion lending; mentoring and networking and learning and training opportunities. WESK is supported by Western Economic Diversification Canada.

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Call for Experts – The Exchange: Rebound Edition

Expression of Interest

Call for Experts – The Exchange – Rebound Edition

WESK is seeking dynamic and knowledgeable experts to present on a variety of topics to develop the competencies, knowledge, and technical skills of the participants of The Exchange.

The Exchange is a 3-year business growth program designed to help women entrepreneurs scale their businesses. In recent times, WESK recognizes that COVID-19 has significantly impacted small and medium sized businesses and, as a result, pivoted to meet the immediate needs of women entrepreneurs. The newly redesigned Year One of the program ensures women entrepreneurs are supported during these uncertain times to successfully “rebound” from economic shock. Year One of the program will launch in September 2020 and end in May 2021.

The Exchange is a springboard for women entrepreneurs that are ready to harness their true potential and leverage their business to the next level of growth and profitability. Participants of The Exchange are unapologetic for their success and unafraid to take the leap toward increased profit and personal growth. Through dynamic peer learning, presentations from intriguing and well- seasoned experts, and networking opportunities, our participants will come together to significantly impact the gender gap that currently exists in the Canadian entrepreneurship ecosystem.

This program was made possible through funding received from The Government of Canada as part of the creation of the Women Entrepreneurship Fund and Women Entrepreneurship Strategy Ecosystem Fund. To read the full press release about this announcement, click here.

We invite you to submit an Expression of Interest including a quote for your expert presentation fee.


Details

Audience

  • The Exchange cohorts consist of 6 – 15 women entrepreneurs who are grouped into 4 distinct ranges of revenue.
  • The Exchange participants are seeking to increase profitability and personal growth while rebounding from the economic shock of COVID-19.

Session Format

  • The Expert will deliver a one-hour virtual presentation on a specified topic followed by 15 minutes for Q & A.
  • This presentation will be timely and relevant given the current pandemic circumstances and will demonstrate knowledge and expertise to support women entrepreneurs with strategies to rebound, return and reimagine their businesses.
  • The Exchange monthly session is facilitated by The Exchange Chair.
  • The expert presentation is from 9:15 AM – 10:30 AM followed by a session led by The Exchange Chair.
  • WESK will confirm the session date and time with the expert.
  • The Expert presentations will provide the Exchange participants with educational value and refrain from promoting a specific business, product, or service, unless approved by a WESK Manager.

Presentation Topics

  • Operating in Pandemic Times
  • Nurturing Your Team
  • Amplify Customer Loyalty and Foster Community
  • Business Resilience
  • Finance, Reimagined.
  • Pushing the Envelope of Your Business Reality
  • Rediscover Value Through People

 Submission of the Expression of Interest

  • Proposal outlining your key topics, session description and presentation fee(s)
  • Professional biography and/or CV outlining areas of expertise as well as facilitation experience

You are welcome to submit topics that are leading edge and may pertain to current business climate that is not included in this expression of interest.

Submit by Friday, September 25, 2020 to:

Brittany Scott

The Exchange Project Coordinator, WESK

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Message from the CEO

As we navigate our way through a “new normal”, we recognize that the way we conduct business in the future has likely changed irrevocably. While we welcome the creativity and innovation of the “new normal”, there are still concerns and uncertainty that plague much of how the economy will unfold. The re-opening of our Saskatchewan economy is critical in spurring recovery and infusing some sense of normalcy but for many, it also creates new challenges.

Our team has started to gradually transition back to the office, though we remain closed to the public for the time being. We continue to serve our clients remotely and encourage you to reach out and connect with us. Like many entrepreneurs, COVID has provided an opportunity for WESK to take pause and reassess our programs and services to ensure relevance, effectiveness and efficiencies. I welcome any ideas and feedback you may have regarding enhancing our service delivery.

One of the pivotal and redefined programs we are launching is The Exchange: Rebound Edition. We recognized that the pandemic significantly impacted small and medium-sized businesses and as a result, we pivoted from our original focus on scaling up. The redesigned year one of the program ensures women entrepreneurs acquire the knowledge and business acumen to successfully rebound from economic shock.

Applications for The Exchange: Rebound Edition closed on July 13 and we are thrilled with the response! If you are interested but missed the deadline, please reach out to us. The program will be launched on July 22, 2020 by bringing all applicants together for a virtual retreat. The retreat is an opportunity for participants to come together and receive guidance and mentorship from other reputable entrepreneurs.

On July 16, Terry Duguid, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (Western Economic Diversification Canada), announced that WESK will receive $2M through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF). This fund will enable WESK to assist Saskatchewan female-owned businesses by providing them with immediate liquidity to face COVID-19-related challenges. Loans of up to $40,000 are available through WESK’s Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) to female entrepreneurs who unable to access larger federal relief programs.

As we enter the summer months, we take a break from our monthly networking events Shaken with a Twist and Uncorked. Thank you to all of you who have joined us over the past few months as we transitioned to a virtual format. Both events will resume virtually in September.

We understand that virtual events cannot take the place of the personal experience of an in person gathering. We all miss the networking, the laughs, and reuniting with familiar faces. I am looking forward to reconnecting with you all in January 2021 when we resume with Shaken with a Twist and Uncorked in person should the curve stay flattened.

Lastly, I am proud of how Saskatchewan residents have come together to flatten the curve, ensure safety, and support our small businesses. As businesses begin to re-open and small gatherings become more acceptable, I encourage you all to stay safe and continue to engage in healthy practices recommended by our Chief Medical Officer. As I’ve said before, TOGETHER, we can get through this and beyond.

Stay well and stay safe,

Prabha Mitchell

Chief Executive Officer,

WESK

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Government of Canada to invest $8.3 million in western Canadian women entrepreneurs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – July 16, 2020

SASKATOON, SK – Canadian women entrepreneurs are contributing to the economic success of our communities. At the same time, they have unique and systemic hurdles to overcome when starting and growing a business, and have been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, many of the sectors where women entrepreneurs tend to operate like retail, accommodation and food services, have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. 

To help remedy this situation, Terry Duguid, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (Western Economic Diversification Canada), today announced $8.3 million through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund to support the Women’s Enterprise Initiative (WEI) organizations across Western Canada. PS Duguid made the announcement on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD).

The Women’s Enterprise Centre in British Columbia, Alberta Women Entrepreneurs, Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan (WESK), and the Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba will each receive $2 million in additional loan funds for women entrepreneurs. In addition, $300,000 in operating funding will be divided equally among the four WEIs to meet the increased demand for advisory services and business supports.

Targeted support for women entrepreneurs in Western Canada

These organizations will use the funds to assist Canadian women-owned businesses unable to access larger federal relief funding programs by providing them with immediate liquidity to face COVID-19-related challenges. WEI organizations have extensive experience working with women entrepreneurs, assisting them to overcome barriers and challenges in building their businesses. They also have a proven track record in providing loans and after-care services to women entrepreneurs to ensure their long-term success.

Supporting businesses during this unprecedented time of crisis is an integral part of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. These businesses are the backbone of our economy—they provide good jobs that support families across the country.  By supporting employers today, Canada will be in a stronger position as we come out of this crisis.

Quotes

“The RRRF will assist in amplifying the supports provided by WESK (and other members of the Women’s Enterprise Initiative) to women entrepreneurs in our province. Women entrepreneurs leveraging the new loan fund can also utilize the wrap around services of WESK to address business recovery in a strategic fashion.”

  • Prabha Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer, Women Entrepreneurs Saskatchewan

“Women entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses are facing unique challenges in Canada and across the West. I’m pleased the Government of Canada is able to provide these supports so they can continue operating and building Canada’s economic future. Women entrepreneurs want to go back to building their businesses, and we will be there to help them build back better.

  • The Honourable Mélanie Joly, MP for Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada

“Western Canadian women entrepreneurs make incredible contributions to our economy and communities every day. Their economic empowerment is essential for a thriving economy and will be crucial for the economic recovery of western Canadian communities. With WD’s assistance and other Government of Canada supports women-led businesses will come back stronger than ever.

  • Terry Duguid, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (Western Economic Diversification Canada) and to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change (Canada Water Agency)

Quick Facts

  • On May 13, 2020, the Government of Canada launched the $962 million Regional Relief and Recovery Fund—including $304.2 million for Western Canada—to support businesses economically impacted by the COVID-19.
  • The funding announced today is provided through WD, which strategically invests in projects that promote sustainable community economic diversification, enhance business development and growth, and facilitate innovation.
  • In 1995, WD established the Women’s Enterprise Initiative (WEI), creating an independent non-profit organization in each western province to support women entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses. The WEI organizations provide business advisory services, loans (up to $150,000), mentorship and networking opportunities to support women entrepreneurs.
  • The Government of Canada is advancing women’s economic empowerment with the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, a nearly $5-billion investment that seeks to double the number of women-owned businesses by 2025.

Related Links

Associated Links

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Contacts

Jeremy Ghio

Communications Director, Office of the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages

Josie Fries

Marketing Advisor, WESK

WD Toll-Free Number: 1-888-338-WEST (9378)
TTY (telecommunications device for the hearing impaired):
1-877-303-3388

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Celebrating Women Tech Founders from Saskatchewan

Adapted by WESK from Innovation Saskatchewan’s original article: https://innovationsask.ca/success-stories/women-entrepreneurs-week-2020

Founders Table was a group of early-stage female technology founders who met monthly in Regina from September 2019 – March 2020. This program was offered in partnership with WESK and Economic Development Regina Inc, and was sponsored by Innovation Saskatchewan. Founders Table gathered women from around the province to learn business development skills from other more established female tech founders. Of the many successes from the group, the main advantage was developing a strong network of early-stage female founders.

Here are some of the amazing women entering into the exciting realm of technology:

Melanie Morrison from BetterCart

BetterCart compares prices across major grocery chains in Canada and helps people get the best deal on their grocery cart every time they shop. In response to COVID-19, BetterCart also shows Canadians which grocery stores are carrying harder-to-get items, saving them time, and promoting their health. Shoppers can discover new products, gain time in their day, and save hundreds of dollars on their grocery bill with BetterCart.

Koreen Mak from Peppermint Technologies Inc.

Peppermint Technologies Inc. revitalizes organizational learning through the delivery of scheduled, short bursts of training content straight to your phone via text or email. Our easy to use authoring tool allows organizations to develop relevant, timely training to a geographically dispersed workforce in a cost-effective, time-saving manner, allowing employees to spend less time away from work while increasing learning retention and application.

Kristy Ehman from Hyon

There are two types of people in this world. You’re either someone that will do the work to sell your used items or you can’t be bothered. Hyon is connecting these two groups.

Heidi Watson from Guardian EMR

E-HIS supports health professionals in building modern and efficient practices for Canadians. Clinicians can onboard to our secure EMR and use the same forms and work processes they’ve always used. Reach out if you want to save time and increase your clinic’s revenue.

Jana and Robyn Ham from Financial Foundations (fifo)

Fifo was created with the social mission of making financial literacy and the application of financial education accessible to all. The fifo app leverages technology to connect financial institutions with their clients and empower the user to make informed financial decisions. As true entrepreneurs, the sisters also created Sask Masks. The Sask Masks mission is twofold: slowing the spread of the coronavirus and supporting the community. The social enterprise makes handmade face masks and donates the net proceeds to local charities including the Regina Food Bank, Carmichael Outreach, and the YWCA Regina. Sask Masks can be found on Facebook and Instagram @saskmasks.

Jessica McNaughton from memoryKPR

At memoryKPR (pronounced keeper) our founders have a passion for untold stories. The creation of this company is rooted in protecting, saving, storing, and designing stories. As our world becomes more digital, so do our stories, we need permanent solutions to be able to keep and pass on these stories. We are that solution. We serve memorial, funeral, wedding, events and individuals.

Joanne Cunningham from Wave9

Wave9 helps conventional oil producers to reduce operating expenses and environmental impacts. We analyze data and photos and provide an easy-to-use dashboard for field workers to help them to focus their time on the highest value tasks. Unlike some other systems which can require field workers to sift through mountains of data, Wave9’s use of AI and our focus on the user allows us to deliver valuable insights without disrupting today’s processes.

Adapted by WESK from Innovation Saskatchewan’s original article: https://innovationsask.ca/success-stories/women-entrepreneurs-week-2020

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