Message from the CEO

As restrictions continue to ease throughout Saskatchewan, we are excited about embracing a new post-pandemic environment and future. For over a year, we have endured the fatigue of virtual meetings and the loss of more personal, intimate face-to-face connections. We remain optimistic about the possibility of welcoming you all to our in-person events this fall. 

Our team has worked relentlessly to advance the recommendations outlined in the Saskatchewan Advisory Committee’s final report, “Enabling Scale in Saskatchewan”. This includes the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Hill and Levene Schools of Business at the University of Regina. Through this partnership, both parties have committed to advancing initiatives critical to improving the representation of women in the investment sector. 

In addition to the MOU, we are pleased to have launched four new initiatives that stem from the Committee’s final report. These initiatives include the Saskatchewan Women Entrepreneurship Charter, the Women-Owned Saskatchewan Business & the Supporter of Women-Owned Saskatchewan Businesses brand identities, the Digital Entrepreneurship Hub (our new website), and a Women Entrepreneurship Wednesday campaign.

Further, in early April, we introduced three new membership packages that support women entrepreneurs throughout their entire entrepreneurial journey. Since the membership roll-out, we have seen great uptake in new members purchasing these packages. The new membership packages include:

The Pioneer – Ideal if you have an idea or are thinking about entrepreneurship.

The Trailblazer – Ideal if you are starting or have started a business and want continual support from WESK throughout your journey. 

The Changemaker – Ideal if you have an established business that you want to take to the next level.

We would like to thank the over 200 individuals who attended the WESK Summit and Gala, and those who participated in Women Entrepreneurship Week in May. We hope that the workshops, keynotes, and panel discussions left you feeling inspired and equipped with new knowledge to take your business skills to the next level.

During that same week, as a way to propel growth in the tech sector, Innovation Saskatchewan announced funding that enables WESK to offer Founders Table for a third year. This program is dedicated to Saskatchewan female founders or women in technology interested in elevating their business and management skills. The third year of the program is set to begin in September.

Just last week, we held the first virtual WESK Charter Champion Workshop. This workshop brought together organizations committed to moving the needle to close the gender entrepreneurship gap in Saskatchewan. We are currently working on a Charter Champion toolkit to provide our Champions with best practices to better support the women-owned businesses within our province.

Lastly, if require support for your business due to the impacts of the pandemic, I encourage you to apply for the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF). To date, WESK has provided over $3M in COVID-19 support to women entrepreneurs and helped save 557 jobs.

As our communities begin to re-open, I wish you good health, time with your loved ones, and much hope and optimism for what lies ahead.

Sincerely,

Prabha Mitchell,

Chief Executive Officer, WESK

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Hill and Levene Schools of Business commit to supporting women entrepreneurs in Saskatchewan

For Immediate Release

The University of Regina’s Hill and Levene Schools of Business have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan (WESK), committing to advancing women entrepreneurship in the province.

The Hill and Levene Schools of Business are currently home to the provincial hub of a national network, Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH), as well as the RBC Woman Executive in Residence Program. The MOU is intended to advance these initiatives. In the MOU, the Hill and Levene Schools of Business and WESK have committed to working towards the following initiatives over the next two years:

  1. Exploring the feasibility of developing non-credit investor development programming for students and women in the community, to be offered by the University through the RBC Woman Executive in Residence program, Saskatchewan’s Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, and/or the Centre for Management Development;
  2. Better understanding and responsiveness to the needs of women entrepreneurs in agriculture, Indigenous women entrepreneurs, and women entrepreneurs who are new Canadians in Saskatchewan through research; and
  3. Partnering to profile and showcase best practices of women entrepreneurship through research and events.

The Hill and Levene Schools of Business have begun offering sessions on early-stage investing for both women students and entrepreneurs in the community. In addition, researchers at the Schools have initiated a research project to better understand the challenges and opportunities facing women entrepreneurs who are new Canadians.

“The Hill and Levene Schools are committed to advancing women’s entrepreneurship and women-owned businesses in Saskatchewan. I am very pleased to formalize our relationship with WESK in this way so we can make continue to make a significant impact.” says Dr. Gina Grandy, Dean of Hill and Levene Schools of Business. “This will benefit our students and our community.”

In April, WESK announced the launch of its new series of initiatives to assist in closing the entrepreneurial gender gap in the province. These are in direct response to recommendations made by the Saskatchewan Advisory Committee on the Gender Entrepreneurship Gap.

“We know that women entrepreneurs experience several barriers in accessing capital. One of the reasons being the lack of female investors and leaders on the decision-making teams. WESK is pleased to partner with the Hill and Levene Schools of Business to work towards elevating women entrepreneurs by increasing women’s representation in the investment sector,” stated Prabha Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer of WESK.

Thirty-two different organizations, including the University of Regina, signed on as Charter Champions, indicating their support of WESK’s initiatives:

  1. Launching a new digital entrepreneurship hub to provide curated resources relevant to needs at the various stages of the entrepreneurial journey.
  2. Releasing 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.
  3. Providing woman entrepreneurs with a brand identity, allowing them to self-declare as an official Woman-Owned Saskatchewan Business, making it easier for customers to notice and support her.

“By supporting women entrepreneurs in Saskatchewan, we are also honouring the University of Regina’s commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion,” says Dr. Kathleen McNutt, Vice-President (Research). “With the research projects that we have planned, we will be able to better understand the barriers and challenges that women entrepreneurs face. This information will enable us to support women entrepreneurs as they grow their businesses and contribute to the province’s economic growth.”

For more information:

Josie Fries

Marketing Advisor, WESK

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