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.

Quotes

“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

Contact:

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.

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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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An Open Letter to the People of Saskatchewan

Friday, November 13, 2020

On behalf of the 34 undersigned associations, chambers of commerce, and economic development groups, as well as the tens of thousands of employers and employees we represent, we are jointly writing to express our strong support for the targeted approach the Government of Saskatchewan has taken to address rising case counts in localized ‘hotspots,’ including new mandatory mask requirements.


While we acknowledge some businesses will be significantly affected by today’s announcement, returning to a widespread, large-scale lockdown would be catastrophic to Saskatchewan jobs, Saskatchewan families, and on the immediate survivability of Saskatchewan businesses — even with new and extensive government intervention. The health, societal, and economic harm would have lasting, irreversible impacts.


We are calling on all Saskatchewan residents to follow the restrictions and guidelines set out by our public health experts. Do your part and be a good neighbour. We also support the proactive enforcement of these critical measures.

Last but not least: As we enter the holiday season, we ask Saskatchewan residents to support local businesses wherever possible. Many of these businesses are barely hanging on, and every little bit counts.

And above all else: Be kind to each other. We are all in this together.

Sincerely,

Alex Fallon, President & CEO, Saskatoon Regional Economic Development Authority

Ashley Campbell, Executive Director, Concrete Saskatchewan

Beverly MacLeod, Executive Director, Association of Consulting Engineering Companies – Saskatchewan

Brent Fitzpatrick, Executive Director, Humboldt & District Chamber of Commerce

Cameron Choquette, Executive Director, Saskatchewan Landlord Association

David MacLean, Vice President, Saskatchewan & Alberta, Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters

Derek Lothian, President & CEO, Insurance Brokers Association of Saskatchewan

Elise Hildebrandt, CEO, Prince Albert & District Chamber of Commerce

Eric Anderson, Executive Director, Saskatchewan Industrial & Mining Suppliers Association Jackie Wall, Executive Director, Estevan Chamber of Commerce

Jaimie Malmgren, Executive Director, Prairie Sky Chamber of Commerce

Jason Aebig, CEO, Greater Saskatoon Chamber of Commerce

Jason Yochim, CEO, Saskatchewan REALTORS Association

Jim Bence, President & CEO, Saskatchewan Hotel & Hospitality Association

John Hopkins, CEO, Regina & District Chamber of Commerce

John Lee, CEO, Economic Development Regina

Juanita Polegi, Executive Director, Yorkton Chamber of Commerce

Karen Low, President, Merit Contractors Association of Saskatchewan

Karla Wiens, CEO, Swift Current & District Chamber of Commerce

Keith Moen, Executive Director, NSBA

Kevin Martin, Executive Director, Kindersley & District Chamber of Commerce

Linda Machniak, Executive Director, Battlefords Chamber of Commerce

Lisa Suchlandt, Executive Director, Nipawin & District Chamber of Commerce

Marilyn Braun-Pollon, Vice President, Western Canada & Agri-business, Canadian Federation of Independent Business

Mark Cooper, President & CEO, Saskatchewan Construction Association

Pam Schwann, President, Saskatchewan Mining Association

Prabha Mitchell, CEO, WESK – Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan

Rob Clark, CEO, Moose Jaw & District Chamber of Commerce

Serena Sjodin, Executive Director, Lloydminster Chamber of Commerce

Steve McLellan, CEO, Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce

Shantel Lipp, President, Saskatchewan Heavy Construction Association

Susan Ewart, President & CEO, Saskatchewan Trucking Association

Trevor Dignean, Administrator, Meadow Lake & District Chamber of Commerce

Twila Walkedan, Executive Director, Weyburn Chamber of Commerce

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WESK and FHQ Developments: Enhancing Indigenous Women Entrepreneurship

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – October 19, 2020

Regina, SK – In collaboration with strategic partners, and feedback from Indigenous women entrepreneurs, WESK (Women Entrepreneurs Saskatchewan) developed the Matchstick program to support Indigenous women in their entrepreneurial journey. Matchstick offered business planning, mentoring, business advising, and financing to over 300 Indigenous women entrepreneurs (see Matchstick Backgrounder).

To advance the momentum achieved during the three-year pilot and move to the next phase of Matchstick, WESK and FHQ Developments Ltd. have committed to a long-term strategic partnership to enhance entrepreneurial capacity for Indigenous women entrepreneurs.

WESK CEO Prabha Mitchell said, “The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with FHQ Developments is not only pivotal as FHQ was a member on the Advisory Council of the original Matchstick program; but it further strengthens our ability and capacity to support Indigenous women in an impactful way.”

WESK has incorporated Matchstick into its core programming and services. The MOU will not only support Matchstick but also include collaboratively seeking solutions to identify and address gaps and challenges and seize opportunities for Saskatchewan Indigenous women entrepreneurs to start or grow their businesses. In addition, the two organizations will address strategies to enhance diversity in the supply chains and in procurement.

“This is an important alliance for FHQ Developments in the development of Indigenous women entrepreneurs within our territory and beyond. We are very proud of the work we have done together with WESK through Matchstick and look forward to adding more Indigenous entrepreneurs so that we can continue to diversify Saskatchewan’s economy”, said Thomas Benjoe, CEO and President of FHQ Developments. 

A report entitled Indigenous Women Entrepreneurship in Canada (July 2020), released by the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association, noted that though Indigenous women account for 51% of the Canadian Indigenous population, they make up only 41% of the self-employed Indigenous population.

Not unlike all women entrepreneurs, Indigenous women entrepreneurs encounter challenges in entrepreneurship related to their gender. The same report as above noted that the main barrier is access to financing, followed by balancing family responsibilities, lack of support within their communities and limited access to business training. These challenges were also conveyed in the Matchstick roundtable discussions with Saskatchewan Indigenous entrepreneurs, along with additional barriers including lack of mentoring and networking opportunities and limited business advising services.

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To learn more about the MOU contact:

Josie Fries, Marketing Advisor, WESK

P: 306-477-6286

Thomas Benjoe, President and CEO, FHQ Developments Ltd.

T: 306-790-2350

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 opportunities. WESK is supported by Western Economic Diversification Canada.

About FHQ Developments

In 2010, the 11-member First Nation communities of File Hills Qu’Appelle Tribal Council (FHQTC), representing over 16,000 First Nation citizens and 435,000 acres of reserve lands in Treaty 4 territory, formed FHQ Developments as a limited partnership agreement.

The mission of FHQ Developments is to contribute to the long-term economic independence and prosperity of our Limited Partners and our citizens by developing profitable business ventures and economic development opportunities while advancing employment and livelihood for our Nations and citizens in a manner consistent with the Nehiyaw (Cree), Dakota, Nakota, Lakota, and Anishinaabe (Saulteaux) Nations teachings.

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New Funding to Support Saskatchewan’s Women Entrepreneurs

Aug 5, 2020

Shared from Innovation Saskatchewan

Innovation Saskatchewan is providing $50,000 to help women entrepreneurs flourish in the province’s technology sector. This funding is consistent with the final report and recommendations of the Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan’s Advisory Committee on the Gender Entrepreneurship Gap.

The funding will support a mentorship program called Founders Table which brings together female tech entrepreneurs to gain new knowledge, business skills and industry connections. Innovation Saskatchewan partnered with Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan and Economic Development Regina in 2019 to launch the initiative.

“Founders Table addresses the historic gap in the number of female tech entrepreneurs in our province by providing support, mentorship and networking opportunities,” says Tina Beaudry-Mellor, Minister Responsible for Innovation Saskatchewan. “Feedback from participants proves this program is pivotal in both supporting our women entrepreneurs and advancing Saskatchewan as a tech sector hub in North America.”

While Saskatchewan is home to more than 34,000 women entrepreneurs, national statistics indicate only six percent of Canada’s tech companies are founded by women. A 2018 study found women in the tech sector face discrimination, organizational bias and educational barriers.

Founders Table provides in-depth learning sessions presented by entrepreneurial leaders in Saskatchewan’s tech community on topics including creating and pitching your product, connecting with customers and building company culture.

Women involved in the 2019-2020 program report positive developments in both their leadership and business growth, including better-focused products, stronger marketing and a surge in hiring additional employees.

“The current pandemic serves as a catalyst to pivot one’s business. Founder’s Table provides the opportunity and platform for women entrepreneurs to adopt and adapt technology for business growth and scale,” says Prabha Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer with Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan.

Applicants are being considered in August; 10 to 15 successful candidates will begin meeting in September. Founders Table members can come from anywhere in Saskatchewan but must have less than five years in business and gross revenues under $250,000.

View the original article here: https://innovationsask.ca/news/founderstable

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Saskatchewan Advisory Committee on the Gender Entrepreneurship Gap Releases Final Report to the Government of Saskatchewan

Impact on Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and Job Creation

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – July 28, 2020

SASKATOON, SK – Women entrepreneurs are major contributors of economic growth and job creation. In 2019, women entrepreneurs contributed $23.1 billion to the Saskatchewan economy and created 191,836 jobs. Yet, research indicates women entrepreneurs encounter unique barriers that hinder full participation in growing the wealth of our province.

The final report presented today to the Government of Saskatchewan’s Status of Women Office by the Saskatchewan Advisory Committee on the Gender Entrepreneurship Gap focused on levelling the playing field by outlining ten recommendations that support women entrepreneurs to grow their businesses. 

“Enabling women-owned businesses to scale not only advances gender equality but also spurs economic growth,” said WESK CEO Prabha Mitchell. “If Saskatchewan accounts for 4.2 per cent of national GDP, there is potential for an additional injection of $6.3 to $17.64 billion in GDP by supporting women in scaling their businesses.”

The Committee’s recommendations were defined under the following four key pillars:

  1. Enhancing access to capital;        
  2. Developing scale-enabling policies;
  3. Streamlining access to data, programs and networks; and
  4. Enhancing awareness and support by building momentum

Evidence indicated women are less likely to secure capital than their male counterparts. One of the 10 recommendations referenced policy changes to creating incentives for angel investors. Research has shown companies with at least one female founder outperformed all-male founding teams by 88% over a ten-year period. Women-led businesses can successfully scale and incentives for angel investors provides potential capital beyond traditional financial institutions.

“When we support women entrepreneurs, we increase Saskatchewan’s economic growth and competitiveness and build a better quality of life for all residents,” says Minister Responsible for the Status of Women Office Tina Beaudry-Mellor. “Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan and its Advisory Committee are to be commended for this important study, which charts a collaborative course towards increasing women’s economic participation and prosperity.”

A proposed partnership with post-secondary institutions related to access to capital accounted for another recommendation. Financial acumen relative to accessing capital, and more importantly, increasing the number of female investors and leaders in decision-making teams is paramount.  The Committee recommended post-secondary institutions develop and deliver micro-credentialing programs to augment financial literacy as well as educate and empower women to engage in investment activities.  

The Committee, created by the Government of Saskatchewan in May 2019, had a mandate to advise the Government on strategies, policies and activities to close the entrepreneurship gap by examining gender disparity in business growth. The twelve-member Committee commenced work in September 2019 and concluded in June 2020. In spring 2020, the Committee re-examined the original recommendations to address the challenges emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Building a business climate conducive for women-owned businesses to scale also contributes to advancing the achievement of goals defined in the Saskatchewan Growth Plan.

Watch the live recording of the press conference here: https://youtu.be/3tgAOb7YVBs

Links

For more information, please contact:

Josie Fries, Marketing Advisor, WESK

T: 306-477-6286

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.

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Government of Canada to invest $8.3 million in western Canadian women entrepreneurs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – July 16, 2020

SASKATOON, SK – Canadian women entrepreneurs are contributing to the economic success of our communities. At the same time, they have unique and systemic hurdles to overcome when starting and growing a business, and have been severely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, many of the sectors where women entrepreneurs tend to operate like retail, accommodation and food services, have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. 

To help remedy this situation, Terry Duguid, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (Western Economic Diversification Canada), today announced $8.3 million through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund to support the Women’s Enterprise Initiative (WEI) organizations across Western Canada. PS Duguid made the announcement on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD).

The Women’s Enterprise Centre in British Columbia, Alberta Women Entrepreneurs, Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan (WESK), and the Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba will each receive $2 million in additional loan funds for women entrepreneurs. In addition, $300,000 in operating funding will be divided equally among the four WEIs to meet the increased demand for advisory services and business supports.

Targeted support for women entrepreneurs in Western Canada

These organizations will use the funds to assist Canadian women-owned businesses unable to access larger federal relief funding programs by providing them with immediate liquidity to face COVID-19-related challenges. WEI organizations have extensive experience working with women entrepreneurs, assisting them to overcome barriers and challenges in building their businesses. They also have a proven track record in providing loans and after-care services to women entrepreneurs to ensure their long-term success.

Supporting businesses during this unprecedented time of crisis is an integral part of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan. These businesses are the backbone of our economy—they provide good jobs that support families across the country.  By supporting employers today, Canada will be in a stronger position as we come out of this crisis.

Quotes

“The RRRF will assist in amplifying the supports provided by WESK (and other members of the Women’s Enterprise Initiative) to women entrepreneurs in our province. Women entrepreneurs leveraging the new loan fund can also utilize the wrap around services of WESK to address business recovery in a strategic fashion.”

  • Prabha Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer, Women Entrepreneurs Saskatchewan

“Women entrepreneurs and women-owned businesses are facing unique challenges in Canada and across the West. I’m pleased the Government of Canada is able to provide these supports so they can continue operating and building Canada’s economic future. Women entrepreneurs want to go back to building their businesses, and we will be there to help them build back better.

  • The Honourable Mélanie Joly, MP for Ahuntsic-Cartierville, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada

“Western Canadian women entrepreneurs make incredible contributions to our economy and communities every day. Their economic empowerment is essential for a thriving economy and will be crucial for the economic recovery of western Canadian communities. With WD’s assistance and other Government of Canada supports women-led businesses will come back stronger than ever.

  • Terry Duguid, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (Western Economic Diversification Canada) and to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change (Canada Water Agency)

Quick Facts

  • On May 13, 2020, the Government of Canada launched the $962 million Regional Relief and Recovery Fund—including $304.2 million for Western Canada—to support businesses economically impacted by the COVID-19.
  • The funding announced today is provided through WD, which strategically invests in projects that promote sustainable community economic diversification, enhance business development and growth, and facilitate innovation.
  • In 1995, WD established the Women’s Enterprise Initiative (WEI), creating an independent non-profit organization in each western province to support women entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses. The WEI organizations provide business advisory services, loans (up to $150,000), mentorship and networking opportunities to support women entrepreneurs.
  • The Government of Canada is advancing women’s economic empowerment with the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, a nearly $5-billion investment that seeks to double the number of women-owned businesses by 2025.

Related Links

Associated Links

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Contacts

Jeremy Ghio

Communications Director, Office of the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages

Josie Fries

Marketing Advisor, WESK

WD Toll-Free Number: 1-888-338-WEST (9378)
TTY (telecommunications device for the hearing impaired):
1-877-303-3388

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New Report on Women Entrepreneurship in Saskatchewan released by WESK during Women Entrepreneurs Week

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 20, 2020

SASKATOON, SK – The Government of Saskatchewan has officially proclaimed the week of May 17 through May 23, 2020 to be Women Entrepreneurs Week across the province. Women-led businesses have consistently increased and along with this rise is a significant impact to the Saskatchewan economy. In 2019, women-led businesses contributed $23.1 billion to the province’s GDP.

A new Women Entrepreneurship in Saskatchewan report was released today, commissioned by WESK, prepared by PwC, and sponsored by Conexus Credit Union, Hill Levene Schools of Business, and the Women Entrepreneurs Knowledge Hub. (Note: The report was commissioned prior to the COVID-19 crisis, however the findings are relevant and valuable in plotting a course through economic recovery to sustainability and growth.)

A key measure of a healthy economy is the creation and number of jobs; the report noted that 191,836 Saskatchewan people were employed in women-led businesses in 2019.

Prabha Mitchell, CEO of WESK commented, “WESK commends our Government for this annual proclamation of Women Entrepreneurs Week while recognizing the gravity and impact of COVID-19 on ALL small businesses. The report revealed though the majority of women led/owned businesses employ 0-10 employees, their contributions of 191,836 employees to job creation and $23.1 billion to our GDP is enormous and they will remain a pivotal segment in stimulating recovery in our province.”   

The report was initiated through the work undertaken by the Saskatchewan Advisory Committee on Women Entrepreneurship. Last year the Government of Saskatchewan, Status of Women Office announced the creation of an advisory committee to research and develop policy and recommendations on advancing gender equality in the creation of economic activity.

“The majority of women-led businesses in Saskatchewan are labour intensive, which means they are important and efficient job creators,” said Tina Beaudry-Mellor, Minister responsible for the Status of Women Office. “Supporting and amplifying them is critical, especially as we emerge from COVID-19 restrictions and look towards rebuilding our economy.”

The Women Entrepreneurship in Saskatchewan report findings confirmed understanding and addressing the barriers that exist for women entrepreneurs can improve opportunities for them to scale businesses, boosting economic growth in our province. 

To celebrate Women Entrepreneurs Week, May 17 to 23, WESK has a variety of virtual activities including two panel discussions with stellar women entrepreneur guests. The first on May 21 will delve into the topic of Rebounding from the Crisis – What’s Next? On May 22, the second panel will explore What it Takes to Succeed as a Tech Entrepreneur. For a complete list visit: https://wesk.ca/women-entrepreneurs-week/

For more information, please contact:

Josie Fries, Marketing Coordinator
WESK
T: 306-477-6286
E: jfries@wesk.rbdemo.site
W www.wesk.rbdemo.site

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.

In the past 25 years, WESK has provided over $38.8 million in financing to women entrepreneurs and more than $30.9 million has been leveraged as a result.

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Backgrounder

Highlights from the Women Entrepreneurship in Saskatchewan Report

Commissioned by WESK, prepared by PwC, and sponsored by Conexus Credit Union, Hill Levene Schools of Business, and the Women Entrepreneurs Knowledge Hub.

Gender analysis of Saskatchewan businesses

Share/size of women-led businesses

  • 88.4% of women-led businesses in Saskatchewan have up to 10 employees.
  • Across all business size categories, the share of men-led businesses is greater.
  • Women are less likely to lead a business as the size of the business increases.

Financial metrics of women-led businesses

  • For businesses with 1 to 49 employees, women-led businesses have lower revenues than men-led businesses.
  • For businesses with 50 to 99 employees, women-led businesses have higher revenues than men-led businesses.
  • Women-led businesses are less capital intensive than men-led businesses.

Sectoral composition of women-led businesses

  • In the ‘Health care, social assistance’ and ‘National security’ sectors, the number/share of women-led businesses appear to be greater than men-led businesses.

Women-led businesses by city of location

  • Of the total Saskatchewan businesses:
  • 24% are in Saskatoon
  • 20% are in Regina, and
  • less than 4% are in each of the remaining cities.
  • Women-led businesses in Regina are larger in comparison to Saskatoon.
  • Women-led businesses are more often headquartered in Saskatchewan.

Contribution of women-led businesses to the Saskatchewan economy in 2019

  • $23.1 billion in GDP
  • 191,836 employees
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Announcement: WESK postpones events due to COVID-19.

Updated March 17, 2020.


SASKATOON, SK – In response to the recent spread of COVID-19, WESK has decided to postpone all events until the end of April. This measure is being implemented to ensure the safety of all members, clients and employees. Please rest assured WESK will continue to provide services with minimal disruption while ensuring the safety of the community.

We ask for your patience and understanding at this time as we monitor the situation locally and provincially.

March 16, 2020 UPDATE:

We are providing you with an update on additional measures WESK is implementing to minimize/mitigate the risk of COVID-19 in our community. Please note the following:

  • Upcoming Exchange Information Sessions will be postponed.
  • Networking events including WESK Meets, Shaken with a Twist, and Uncorked are cancelled up until April 30.
  • Training workshops, including Business Growth Luncheons and Business Plan Basics will now be administered as webinars.

We continue to monitor the situation closely, and it is anticipated that decisions regarding the postponement of the WESK 25th Anniversary Gala and Conference will be made at a later date.

WESK business advisors are available to offer continued support though these challenging times and are working to provide reprieve to our loan clients. We encourage you to schedule phone or video appointments with our advisors as needed.

March 17, 2020 UPDATE:

Effective March 17 at 4:00pm until at least March 31, the WESK office will be closed and the team will be working remotely to ensure the safety of our employees and our clients. No in-person meetings will be taken at this time, but we encourage our clients to book phone or video meetings as needed. All services will continue to be offered to our clients with minimal disruption.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact our office.

If you purchased a ticket for any of our events, please contact the WESK office. For the most up to date information and cancellations, please refer to WESK’s event page on our website or call the WESK offices: Saskatoon (306) 477-7173; Regina (306) 359-9732.  

For the most updated information and latest bulletins regarding COVID-19 please refer to the Government of Saskatchewan website: https://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/health-care-administration-and-provider-resources/treatment-procedures-and-guidelines/emerging-public-health-issues/2019-novel-coronavirus.

ABOUT WESK 

WESK is a non-profit organization that has helped thousands of women start, purchase and expand their businesses. Our priority is supporting women throughout Saskatchewan to achieve their entrepreneurial goals. With invaluable advising and support, one-of-a-kind training opportunities, and a distinct and supportive financing program, WESK is dedicated to guiding clients on their entrepreneurial journey. From start up to success, WESK means business.

Prabha Mitchell

Phone: (306) 477-7173

Chief Executive Officer, WESK

Email: info@wesk.rbdemo.site

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Katherine Regnier to be recognized with the 2020 Celebration of Achievement Award at WESK’s Virtual Small Business Conference

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

March 13, 2020

SASKATOON, SK – Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan (WESK) announced today that Katherine Regnier, Chief Executive Officer and Founder of Coconut Calendar, is this year’s recipient of the Celebration of Achievement Award. Katherine will be formally presented with the award at WESK’s Virtual Small Business Conference, presented by Conexus Credit Union online on September 28.

The Celebration of Achievement Award pays tribute to an exceptional female entrepreneur who has built a business in Saskatchewan with a significant impact on the economy and the community. This entrepreneur is an inspirational leader and a role model for women in business. Katherine is the third Celebration of Achievement recipient, preceded by Rachel Mielke in 2018, and Jess Tetu in 2019.

“When I started this journey, I didn’t know how hard the mountain would be to climb. I didn’t realize how much support, encouragement, and helping hands I would need to keep going. And last but not least, I didn’t foresee being a role model to other women entrepreneurs or being noted as one of the few women leading a tech company in Canada. But what I do know now, is that it takes a community to come this far, and I feel so privileged to be receiving this award from WESK’s collection of strong women right here at home” stated Katherine.

At 3-months pregnant, Katherine quit her full-time job focus solely on Coconut Software. After five years of bootstrapping her company to over $1M in sales, Katherine decided to seek venture capital funds. To date, Katherine has successfully raised $4.9M and has grown her team to over 50 employees. Her success has helped to put Canada on the map with investors across North America.

Katherine is passionate about giving back to the community and is a strong advocate for entrepreneurs and women in technology. She is a founding board member of Co.Labs, Saskatchewan’s first technology incubator and hosted the very first Prairie Investment Forum (PIF), which was a celebration of technology and investment in the Prairies.

In addition to the Celebration of Achievement Award, WESK is excited to be highlighting other female business leaders in the province as part of the Jewels of Saskatchewan Panel at their 25th Anniversary Awards Gala. Panelists include Jess Tetu, Krista Moe, and Devon Fiddler.

WESK CEO Prabha Mitchell states, “The achievements of women entrepreneurs and leaders who are making an extraordinary impact here at home and globally deserves celebration and recognition. The 25th Anniversary Awards Gala is a celebration of exactly that.”

“We would like to thank our sponsors of this event and those who have been strong supporters of our vision and mission” stated Mitchell.

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For more information:

Josie Fries

Marketing Coordinator, WESK

T: 306.477.6286

About WESK

Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan’s (WESK) vision is for all Saskatchewan entrepreneurs to have an equal opportunity to achieve success and recognition. Entrepreneurship is a catalyst for independence, economic development, employment, growth, innovation, and equality. For 25 years, WESK has worked with hundreds of women, helping them start, purchase, and expand businesses. WESK is a non-profit, membership-based organization that provides business advisory and support services; start-up, purchase and expansion lending; mentoring and networking, and a variety of learning opportunities from seminars and webinars to events. Since 1995, WESK has provided more than $37 million in loans and professional advice to women across the province. Together, women entrepreneurs and WESK have shaped and enhanced the Saskatchewan economy. WESK is supported by the Western Economic Diversification Canada.

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