Conexus, a forward-thinking, innovative credit union, made the commitment to advancing gender parity and equality by signing the Saskatchewan Women Entrepreneurship Charter in 2021. Conexus is dedicated to improving the financial well-being of their members and communities by creating simple, personal, and empowering experiences that are transformational, not just transactional. As a local co-operative, Conexus’ profits are returned to their members through rates, no-fee accounts, and community investment.
“Conexus is proud to work with so many female entrepreneurs, leaders, founders, and changemakers across the province every day, and we’re excited to be a part of this movement to amplify our ongoing investment in women entrepreneurs,” says Conexus Vice President of Member & Community Engagement, Nicole Westerlund. “We celebrate the strong female leaders across our organization and in our communities today, and we’ll be here to champion, support and celebrate the next generation of local women entrepreneurs.”
Signing the Charter was an easy choice for Conexus. They have a long history of empowering female leaders through mentorship, development opportunities and business financing. They have proudly achieved gender equality on their Board of Directors, and within their Executive Leadership Team. While Conexus has started to move the needle towards gender equality, they acknowledge that there is still more work that needs to be done and remain committed to continuing to lead this change for future generations.
Conexus is currently focusing on Principle two of the Charter, Amplify Her Voice. The objective of this principle is to give women entrepreneurs the opportunity to broaden their customer base through co-promotion, recognition, and accelerator programs that give her the boost she needs to scale her business.
It is a priority for Conexus to recognize gender bias and consider how they finance, fund, and support female business members and this is why, since the launching of the Conexus Venture Capital Inc. in 2019, they have invested in six companies with a female founder or at least one woman on the founding team. Conexus is proud to share that as of Q4 2021, every single one of these companies has seen a fair market value gain on the initial investment. It is their estimate that each of their woman-founded companies are performing with an 80%-90% IRR.
Conexus’ support for female-founders also spans across its business incubator company, Cultivator, as they have supported a total of 29 female-founded startups in Saskatchewan, nine of which are currently in their GROW and SCALE programming. To date, these companies have generated over $2.3 million in revenue, raised over $1.5 million in capital and received over $1.8 million in government funding.
Conexus is Saskatchewan’s largest credit union. Being a part of the community is fundamental to who they are as a business. One of their key values is to “Be Bold & Creative,” to act with courage, be curious and challenge the status quo. Signing the Charter falls within this value, and Conexus looks forward to being a part of moving the needle closer to gender parity in Saskatchewan. Join WESK in celebrating this month’s Charter Champion, Conexus.
About the Saskatchewan Women Entrepreneurship Charter
The Saskatchewan Women Entrepreneurship Charter is an initiative launched by WESK to address the gender entrepreneurship gap in our province. The charter is comprised of four principles to provide guidance and examples as to how you and your organization can best support local women-owned businesses.