Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan Inc. (WESK) Invests in Indigenous Economic Development in Saskatchewan

Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan Inc. (WESK) Invests in Indigenous Economic Development in Saskatchewan 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – May 14, 2018

Saskatoon, SK

Today, WESK CEO, Prabha Mitchell, highlighted investments of more than $300,000 for the Indigenous Women Entrepreneurs Program (IWEP) in Saskatchewan, through Western Economic Diversification Canada under their Western Diversification Program (WDP) and other funding sources.

“The launch of the new brand in May 2017 reflected WESK’s commitment to diversity and inclusion,” says CEO of WESK, Prabha Mitchell. “The new brand was to address the needs of every entrepreneur regardless of culture, age, and stage of business growth,” she added.

In collaboration with our strategic partners, WESK will engage and consult with Indigenous women, organizations, communities, chiefs, elders, and other leaders in four communities to identify barriers, deliver training and offer supports including business advising and financing to start or grow a business. The project is intended to develop a best practices model to assist Indigenous women to start/grow a business, employ people in their communities, and fuel economic growth.

“Investing in the capacity of Indigenous women to become successful entrepreneurs will help build a stronger and more inclusive economy in Saskatchewan,” said the Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada. “The Government of Canada is committed to supporting the skills, education and resources Indigenous Peoples need to fully participate in the economy and strengthen their communities.”

“The IWEP was initiated by WESK to foster entrepreneurial capacity amongst Indigenous women and serve as a catalyst for economic growth in Indigenous communities,” says CEO of WESK, Prabha Mitchell. ”Such an undertaking is not feasible without the support and engagement of our partners including the Federation of Sovereign Indigenous Nations, the Saskatchewan Indian Equity Foundation, First Nations University, and FHQ Developments,” she added.

“Working together, we have been able to leverage additional resources from the Government of Saskatchewan and Indigenous Services Canada to support the IWEP,” says Vice Chief Heather Bear. “The Treaty right to livelihood encompasses economic self-sufficiency. The FSIN saw this partnership with WESK as an opportunity to increase the economic self-sufficiency of First Nations women, through entrepreneurship, and thereby improve the well-being of families,” she added.

“Our women are the life givers and caregivers in our Nations,” says Chief Bobby Cameron. “They are the heart and soul of all of our families and communities. When they succeed we all succeed,” he added.

This investment in Saskatchewan was part of an announcement of over $27 million made by Minister Bains on March 13, 2018 at the Songhees Nation in British Columbia, supporting a total of 45 Indigenous projects across Western Canada.

 

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To learn more about the Indigenous Women Entrepreneurs Program contact:

 

Prabha Mitchell, Hon. CPA, CGA; MSW          Katelyn Bruce
CEO, WESK                                                     Marketing & Communications
108-502 Cope Way                                        108-502 Cope Way
Saskatoon, SK S7T 0G3                                  Saskatoon, SK S7T 0G3
T: 306.477.7173 ext. 281                                 T: 306.477.7173 ext. 286
E: pmitchell@wesk.ca                                     E: kbruce@wesk.ca