WESK Summit Gala: WESK announces 13 women entrepreneurs as finalists for entrepreneur awards


Today, WESK announced the names of the 13 women entrepreneurs selected as finalists for its five women entrepreneur awards. The five award recipients will be announced at the WESK Summit Gala on Wednesday, May 19th, 2021 at a virtual event. The event will recognize outstanding Saskatchewan female business leaders in the following categories: Community Involvement, Indigenous Entrepreneur, Innovation, Resilience, as well as the esteemed Celebration of Achievement Award.

This year, WESK underwent a rebrand of its annual Awards Gala and Small Business Conference, and it is now referred to as the WESK Summit Gala and the WESK Summit. The WESK Summit Gala provides an opportunity to recognize outstanding female entrepreneurs with one of five entrepreneur awards, while also celebrating the achievements of all woman entrepreneurs in our province.

This year marks the fourth year of WESK’s Celebration of Achievement Award. This award pays tribute to an exceptional woman entrepreneur who has built a business in Saskatchewan of significant impact to the economy and the community. She is an inspirational leader and a role model for women in business. The finalists are: Janna Dutton (Dutton Group Tim Hortons) and Christine Hrudka (Pharmacy First).

The Community Involvement Award is presented to the Saskatchewan woman entrepreneur that has been a leader in creating ways of conducting business that have a positive impact on the community. The finalists are: Jennifer Denouden (Avana), Shaina Lynden (Ryde YXE Cycle Studios), Valerie Sluth (Praxis Consulting).

The Indigenous Entrepreneur Award is presented to the Indigenous Saskatchewan woman entrepreneur, which through a strong business concept shows plans for future growth and viability over the long term. The finalists are: Christine Marie (Awasis Boutique), Destinee Peter (Tangles Hair and Beauty Salon), Jennifer Dubois (Miyosiwin Salon Spa).

The Innovation Award is presented to the Saskatchewan entrepreneur that is pushing conventional boundaries and is disrupting and reshaping her industry through ground-breaking achievements in bringing innovation to market. The finalists are: Jennifer Denouden (Avana), Monique Simair (Maven Water and Environment), Serese Selanders (SolusGuard & ORA).

The Resilience Award is presented to the Saskatchewan woman entrepreneur who has shown strength and determination through COVID-19. She has shown an ability to pivot in response to unexpected and difficult challenges brought about by the pandemic, while continuing to maintain strong business operations. The finalists are: Jolene Watson (Clarity Coaching and Development), Heather Monaghan (Helping Hands Care Group), Shaina Lynden & Bradie Mustoe (Ryde YXE Cycle Studios).

The importance of recognizing women entrepreneurs is even more pronounced this year. The grit, perseverance, and determination of women entrepreneurs in our province, in this unprecedented year of risk and uncertainty is remarkable. Today, we honor and celebrate their resilience and success”

Prabha Mitchell, CEO of WESK

Associated Links

For more information:

Josie Fries, Marketing Advisor, WESK


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.

Back to News & Articles

WESK announces new initiatives to help close the gender entrepreneurship gap in Saskatchewan

Saskatoon, SK – April 8, 2021

Today, at a virtual press conference, Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan (WESK) announced the launch of its new series of initiatives to assist in closing the entrepreneurial gender gap in the province.

This series of initiatives is in direct response to recommendations made by the provincially mandated and WESK-led Saskatchewan Advisory Committee on the Gender Entrepreneurship Gap. It includes the launch of a new digital entrepreneurship hub to provide curated resources relevant to needs at the various stages of the entrepreneurial journey. This digital hub is accompanied by the recently restructured membership packages.

WESK’s next initiative consists of the release of the Saskatchewan Women Entrepreneurship Charter. The charter is comprised of four principles to support women-owned businesses. Embracing this charter means committing to doing business with women-owned companies, promoting, mentoring and including them in practical and quantifiable ways.

The last initiative in this series provides a woman entrepreneur with a brand identity, allowing her to self-declare as an official Woman-Owned Saskatchewan Business, making it easier for customers to notice and support her. The brand identity also includes a supporter logo allowing organizations to get involved and display their support of women-owned businesses.

These initiatives illustrate WESK’s efforts to help address the unique barriers women face in their entrepreneurial journey, from start-up to scale-up. They fulfill its mandate to support the province’s women entrepreneurs as they increasingly contribute to Saskatchewan’s socio-economic growth.


“Today’s announcement is a substantial step in the right direction to help address the gender entrepreneurship gap . Investing in Saskatchewan women entrepreneurs is not just the right thing to do, it’s the smart thing to do.” – Prabha Mitchell, WESK’s Chief Executive Officer

“As an established entrepreneur, I am looking forward to taking full advantage of the new digital hub. The entrepreneurial journey can be lonely and distressing at times, this type of program is really helpful.” – Rauncie Kinnaird, Owner of Sandy Shores Resorts

“Tackling the challenges women entrepreneurs face, particularly in the wake of the pandemic, begins by addressing the barriers that make it difficult for innovators to thrive. As a champion of the Saskatchewan Women Entrepreneurship Charter, I’m committed to fostering an ecosystem in which entrepreneurs can continue to create positive social change in their local and global economies” – Jeff Pickett, Managing Partner at EY

Quick Facts

  • In Saskatchewan, women-owned small and medium enterprises only represent 13.7% of businesses, although a recent WESK-commissioned PwC report shows that these businesses contribute 26% of the total GDP and employ about 33% of Saskatchewan’s workforce, contributing $23.1 billion (2019) to the province’s economy.
  • In Canada, female-owned businesses contributed nearly $150 billion to the economy (2019), and could add another $150 billion by 2026 by advancing gender equality.
  • At current levels of women entrepreneurship, it will take 180 years to close the gender gap. Concerted efforts are required to remove barriers, such as financing inequities with their male counterparts for whom 24.8% of applications are rejected compared to 65.7% for women.

Associated Links


Josie Fries, Marketing Advisor, WESK

Tel: 306-477-6286 – Email: jfries@wesk.ca

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.

Above: The newly released brand identities, created by WESK, for women-owned businesses and their supporters.
Above: WESK’s new website, now a Digital Entrepreneurship Hub, complete with a business phase identifier and curated resources, tailored to phase of business.

Back to News & Articles