As we navigate our way through a “new normal”, we recognize that the way we conduct business in the future has likely changed irrevocably. While we welcome the creativity and innovation of the “new normal”, there are still concerns and uncertainty that plague much of how the economy will unfold. The re-opening of our Saskatchewan economy is critical in spurring recovery and infusing some sense of normalcy but for many, it also creates new challenges.
Our team has started to gradually transition back to the office, though we remain closed to the public for the time being. We continue to serve our clients remotely and encourage you to reach out and connect with us. Like many entrepreneurs, COVID has provided an opportunity for WESK to take pause and reassess our programs and services to ensure relevance, effectiveness and efficiencies. I welcome any ideas and feedback you may have regarding enhancing our service delivery.
One of the pivotal and redefined programs we are launching is The Exchange: Rebound Edition. We recognized that the pandemic significantly impacted small and medium-sized businesses and as a result, we pivoted from our original focus on scaling up. The redesigned year one of the program ensures women entrepreneurs acquire the knowledge and business acumen to successfully rebound from economic shock.
Applications for The Exchange: Rebound Edition closed on July 13 and we are thrilled with the response! If you are interested but missed the deadline, please reach out to us. The program will be launched on July 22, 2020 by bringing all applicants together for a virtual retreat. The retreat is an opportunity for participants to come together and receive guidance and mentorship from other reputable entrepreneurs.
On July 16, Terry Duguid, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (Western Economic Diversification Canada), announced that WESK will receive $2M through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF). This fund will enable WESK to assist Saskatchewan female-owned businesses by providing them with immediate liquidity to face COVID-19-related challenges. Loans of up to $40,000 are available through WESK’s Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) to female entrepreneurs who unable to access larger federal relief programs.
As we enter the summer months, we take a break from our monthly networking events Shaken with a Twist and Uncorked. Thank you to all of you who have joined us over the past few months as we transitioned to a virtual format. Both events will resume virtually in September.
We understand that virtual events cannot take the place of the personal experience of an in person gathering. We all miss the networking, the laughs, and reuniting with familiar faces. I am looking forward to reconnecting with you all in January 2021 when we resume with Shaken with a Twist and Uncorked in person should the curve stay flattened.
Lastly, I am proud of how Saskatchewan residents have come together to flatten the curve, ensure safety, and support our small businesses. As businesses begin to re-open and small gatherings become more acceptable, I encourage you all to stay safe and continue to engage in healthy practices recommended by our Chief Medical Officer. As I’ve said before, TOGETHER, we can get through this and beyond.
Stay well and stay safe,
Chief Executive Officer,