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.
Chief Executive Officer, WESK