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.
“WESK is committed to delivering practical programs that help women entrepreneurs be successful at every step of their business journey, from feasibility to expansion. Together, we can move the needle to close the gender gap in Saskatchewan’s business landscape.” – Prabha Mitchell, WESK’s Chief Executive Officer
“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
- 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.
Josie Fries, Marketing Advisor, WESK
Tel: 306-477-6286 – Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.