Saskatchewan Business Support Programs

News release

The Strong Recovery Adaptation Rebate (SRAR) reimburses eligible small businesses for investments made to adapt their business to operate during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Financial assistance includes a payment of up to $5,000 for 50 percent of total eligible business-adaptation investments made by the applicant prior to February 28, 2021.  Eligible expenditures include establishing physical barriers or reconfiguring space to operate safely, providing services through digital tools, providing different services or products, and shifting to delivery or curbside services including for third-party delivery fees. The application deadline is March 31, 2021. For more information, businesses can call 1-844-800-8688, email SRAR@gov.sk.ca, or visit www.saskatchewan.ca/strong-recovery-adaptation-rebate

The Saskatchewan Small Business Emergency Payment (SSBEP) has now been extended for February and March 2021.  Eligible businesses, who have been ordered to temporarily close or scale-back operations through a public health order, could receive up to $5,000 per month that can be used for any purpose. The application deadline is April 30, 2021. For more information, businesses can call 1-800-667-6102, email ssbep@gov.sk.ca,  or visit www.saskatchewan.ca/small-business-emergency-payment

We have also announced a second offering of the Saskatchewan Tourism Sector Support Program (STSSP) for eligible tourism businesses in the accommodations, attraction and tours, events, and major event facility sectors that have seen a 30 per cent drop in revenue as a result of the pandemic.   Applications will be available March 8 and the deadline to apply is April 30, 2021. For more information, businesses can call 1-800-667-6102, email stssp@gov.sk.ca, or visit www.saskatchewan.ca/tourism-sector-support

The Re-Open Saskatchewan Training Subsidy (RSTS) has been extended to March 31, 2021. This temporary training subsidy provides businesses with financial support to train employees as they adjust to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The RSTS reimburses eligible private-sector employers 100 per cent of employee training costs up to a maximum of $10,000 per business, which will help employers adapt to the impacts of the pandemic and safely align business activities with the re-opening of Saskatchewan’s economy. For more information, businesses can email cansaskjobgrant@gov.sk.ca or visit www.saskatchewan.ca/training-subsidy.   

For more information on all of the provincial and federal government supports available, businesses can visit www.saskatchewan.ca/covid19-businesses

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Happy International Women’s Day

This year marks the third annual International Women’s Day (IWD) event that WESK has hosted with our partners at Miller Thomson. In this short time, it has quickly become one of our most looked-forward to events both by the public, and our team.

At this time last year, our IWD event marked one of the last before COVID-19 reached Saskatchewan. At this time, we had no idea that in just a week, in-person events and services would come to a halt, and would remain that way for at least the next 365 days.

Fast forward to today, and virtual events are everywhere. While the fate of this year’s IWD event may be virtual, WESK and Miller Thomson were determined to bring you an event that allowed for connectiondiscussion, and celebration. We are thrilled to announce that our first ever virtual International Women’s Day event, “Virtual Conversations“, has sold out! For those who are joining us this afternoon, we are excited to have you join us.

As you may know, this year’s theme is #ChooseToChallenge. While this day is about celebrating women’s achievements, it’s also about challenging biases and inequity. From challenge comes change, and together, we can all #ChooseToChallenge to help create an inclusive world.

We chatted with local entrepreneurs Jennifer Denouden, CEO and President of Avana Enterprises, and Christine Marie, Founder of Awasis Boutique, to learn more about the obstacles they face as women entrepreneurs and how they #ChooseToChallenge. You can read the whole digital brochure below. We hope you take time to connect, celebrate, and challenge on this International Women’s Day. We will continue to look into 2021 with optimism and hope that in-person connections will soon be feasible, and we look forward to seeing you in-person for IWD 2022!

Josie Fries, Marketing Advisor, WESK

Josie is an enthusiastic and motivated professional dedicated to bringing exciting events and learning opportunities to entrepreneurs throughout Saskatchewan. As WESK’s marketing advisor, Josie enjoys spreading the WESK buzz throughout the community, being hands-on with the planning and execution of WESK events, and values building strong relationships with partner organizations and sponsors.

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Message from the CEO

We are living in unprecedented times from the onset of the pandemic to the enormous burden–on small businesses to reinvent and remerge. It is a consistent onslaught of a million bytes of data and information in every moment, urging business owners to make decisions, be nimble, agile and pivot.

The question that our women-owned businesses in our province are contending with is – how do we remain relevant? How do we pivot? How do we emerge successfully? These are the very fundamental queries that WESK is contending with.

“A Brand is worthless if it doesn’t CONNECT with the right audiences in a RELEVANT way”.

We are expanding our horizons, becoming more inclusive and building momentum. To continue to be relevant and inclusive to you throughout your entire entrepreneurial journey, we will be launching THREE new membership packages in early April. That’s two additional options than before, so you can find your perfect fit for the stage you are at.

I am excited to share with you, for the first time ever, our three new membership packages:

A. The Pioneer: She is the first

  •  Ideal if you have an idea or are thinking about entrepreneurship.

B. The Trailblazer:She is proving it’s possible.

  • Ideal if you are starting a business and want continual support from WESK throughout your journey.                                                                                                

C. The Changemaker:She is making a difference.

  •  Ideal if you have an established business that you want to take to the next level. WESK will help you scale and make meaningful connections.

From pioneer to changemaker, entrepreneurs receive support from business advisors, access to financing, exclusive programming discounts, and essential business networking connections.

Many of you may recall that in July of 2020, WESK and the Saskatchewan Advisory Committee released a report with 10 recommendations on how Saskatchewan can affect change and close the gender entrepreneurship gap. Over the course of the last 7 months, WESK, our Team, has worked relentlessly to advance four of these recommendations.

First, the creation of the Saskatchewan Women Entrepreneurship Charter will call upon organizations to increase their support of women-owned businesses and work towards closing the gender entrepreneurship gap. This is a necessary and significant stride in the right direction, empowering organizations to adopt and adapt practices to be more inclusive. The Charter affirms a commitment to advance women entrepreneurship and build connections through four defining principles:

  1. Procure with her
  2. Amplify her voice
  3. Share skills with her
  4. Shatter a ceiling

Second, the development of Brand Identity to celebrate local Saskatchewan women entrepreneurs. This brand identity consists of two components:

  1. Women-Owned Saskatchewan Business: Not only will majority woman-owned businesses have access to utilize a unique “Women-Owned Saskatchewan Business” brand identity, but they will also have the opportunity to be showcased through our Woman-Owned Saskatchewan Business Database. This database will be accessed by our Saskatchewan Women Entrepreneurship Charter Champions, prominent, influential organizations, who are committed to closing the gender entrepreneurship gap and publicly to all those dedicated to continuing to support local.
  2. For organizations or businesses that are not majority women-owned, the “Supporter of Women-Owned Saskatchewan Businesses” was created to allow advocates of women entrepreneurs to show their support.

As part of the brand identity, WESK will be launching a campaign focused on showcasing and elevating our Saskatchewan women entrepreneurs. These features will highlight various woman entrepreneurs that have signed on to the brand identity as an official woman-owned business

Last, but not least is the development of the revolutionary WESK digital entrepreneurship hub, an innovative, pioneer and trailblazing initiative for WESK. This hub will provide seamless access to services, resources, and more. Through the Hub, entrepreneurs can take our quiz/audit to define needs, then navigate the Hub in a seamless manner to access the most relevant resources.

While all these initiatives will be officially launching on April 7th, I encourage you to stay connected as we start to unveil more exciting details in the coming weeks.

As we continue to navigate through the pandemic, we recognize the growing void for many of not being able to: connect in person, share a laugh in person, see the twinkle and passion in the other’s eye as you swap stories about business/personal lives. However, we cast our sight to the horizon with much optimism, primarily because of the vaccine.

To transition from this extraordinary world of isolation and virtual reality to the more normal world of in-person gatherings and networking, WESK is hosting a safe “COVID-conscious” hybrid approach to our annual business conference. This conference has been rebranded this year as the WESK Summit and WESK Summit Gala. The hybrid approach will allow entrepreneurs and business professionals from across Saskatchewan to join us.
In-person and Livestream tickets are now on sale. If you have not done so, I encourage you to purchase your preferred ticket type and join us in May.

To all that stand with us, by us and support us in moving the needle on closing the gender entrepreneurship gap – thank you for your belief, your courage and faith in POSSIBILITIES.

The future belongs to people and organizations that see POSSIBILITIES before they become obvious (great words spoken by Ted Levitt, American economist, and Harvard Professor). At WESK, we remain committed to supporting you in discerning these possibilities and turning them into reality

Stay safe and I look forward to seeing you in person in the near future.

Sincerely,

Prabha Mitchell,

Chief Executive Officer, WESK

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Request for Proposal

Digital Entrepreneurship Hub – Indigenous Space

March 1, 2021

Since 1995, WESK has helped thousands of women start, purchase, and expand their businesses. Now, we are taking an even bolder approach focused on innovation and excellence. We are stepping up our training, engaging with great partners, and bringing even more resources to entrepreneurs to help generate success.

The Digital Entrepreneurship Hub was a recommendation that stemmed from the Saskatchewan Advisory Committee Report which was released in September 2020. This website will enable women to access relevant resources in a timely manner. The digital nature of the hub eliminates barriers of access such as distance, accessibility to childcare, and financial resources. This online hub will also link women to mentors and subject matter experts in a virtual environment. WESK is confident that the Indigenous space within the online hub will house all the information an Indigenous woman in Saskatchewan will need to start or grow her business. New and exciting resources will be added that are not available online.

Scope of Work

The goal of this project is to increase the amount of culturally appropriate and valuable content offered by WESK for Indigenous women. This work will include:

• Advise on barriers and challenges faced by Indigenous women in all areas of business;
• Develop an Indigenous content strategy;
• Develop culturally appropriate content;
• Identify content that needs to be sourced or created;
• Research, develop, write and edit new or modify existing content;
• Audit current WESK resources;
• Assist in developing criteria for acceptable external links; and
• Gather external links (including descriptions and permissions).

Specific Requirement

Prospective bidders are asked to provide a concise proposal that addresses the following:

• Must be an Indigenous woman
• List capabilities and qualifications
• How the work would be organized and managed (including timelines)
• Costs associated with the work to be undertaken, including direct costs
• Portfolio of work completed
• At least 3 relevant references

Payment Procedures/Contract Terms

To be determined in conjunction with the successful contractor. The price quoted should be inclusive. If your prices exclude certain fees or charges, please provide a detailed list of excluded fees with an explanation of those fees. If third-party contractors are hired, please include their information as well.

Please submit your proposal to Cara Cote (ccote@wesk.ca) no later than March 11, 2021, at 5:00 pm. The winning contractor will be contacted by March 18, 2021

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