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2007

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Last Chance…Have You Been Nominated for Prestigious Awards? Apply Today!

July 20, 2007 is the deadline for nominating qualified candidates for the prestigious 2007 RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Awards (CWEA), sponsored by RBC Royal Bank. It’s well worth it to apply. The awards, which will be presented at a gala ceremony in Toronto on November 20, are a prestigious honour, providing national recognition to Canada's women entrepreneurs whose successful businesses play a pivotal role in the growth of our local, national and global communities. If you would like to nominate yourself or someone else, there’s still time. And if you have been nominate, now is the time to submit your application.

So what exactly does it take to be among the extraordinary women celebrated each year? It could be the start of your dream or the realization of a lifetime of achievements. Entrepreneurs are awarded in all stages of growth. For tips from previous winners on how to submit a winning application, click here. “Even if you put considerable time and effort into applying and don’t win the first time, you will get something out of completing the application that will surprise you,” says two-time applicant Lola Rasminsky, Avenue Roads Art School, winner of the 2006 Trailblazer Award. “It will make you feel very good about yourself.”

“We believe that, as Canadians, we have an obligation to support women who are working to achieve their dreams and to improve their communities by helping them to start and run successful businesses,” said Joanne Gordon, Vice President of Media and Entertainment at RBC Royal Bank, at the official kick-off of the 2007 Awards. “How can you help? Nominate the extraordinary women you know, or even yourself!”

Nomination Deadline : July 20, 2007
Application Deadline : August 10, 2007 (All nominees will be sent a package.)
Categories: Start-Up, Innovation, Momentum, Trailblazer, Exporter and Lifetime Achievement
Eligibility : Any woman who owns a profitable business (not a franchise) that has been registered and operating in Canada for three full years as of May 31, 2007, earns her primary income from it and is responsible for its day-to-day management. Nominated businesses must have three complete 12-month periods of financial statements. Note: Eligibility criteria for the Lifetime Achievement Award has been reduced from 20 years to 15 years of business ownership.

Previous recipients say that winning one of these awards has boosted their profile and market presence and opened the door to new business opportunities. But winners have experienced other benefits as well. “Winning gives you credibility at a different level,” explains Suzanne Mick, Discover Wines Ltd., winner of the 2006 Start-Up Award. We got incredible press and lots of hits off the RBC Women Entrepreneurs web site.”

The 2006 awards and winners included: RBC Momentum AwardSusan Niczowski, Summer Fresh Salads Inc., Woodbridge, ON; Deloitte Start-Up AwardTracy Gray and Suzanne Mick, Discover Wines Ltd., Kelowna, BC; BDC Exporter AwardKyle MacDonald, Phoenix Interactive Design Inc., London, ON; Intel Innovation AwardYvonne Tollens, ComputerAid Professional Services Ltd., Okotoks, AB; Bell Trailblazer AwardLola Rasminsky, Avenue Road Arts School, Toronto, ON; Energy Savings Group Lifetime Achievement AwardLisette (Lee) McDonald, Southmedic Inc., Barrie, ON.

To nominate yourself or a candidate, visit www.theawards.ca, e-mail: info@powerpointgroup.com or tel: 416-923-1688, toll-free at 1-800-354-3303. And watch here for more exciting news about the Awards in the months ahead.

(April 2007)

International Women’s Business Group Continues to Grow in Canada

With the launch of a Vancouver chapter in May, the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) has increased its Canadian presence. The WPO has been active in this country for five years and currently boasts five Canadian chapters, including three in Toronto and one in Montreal, and the new Vancouver chapter.

“I’m so impressed with the incredible talents and the achievements of the women who have become the founding members,” says Barbara Mowat, facilitator of the Vancouver chapter. “I believe we could be forming a second chapter within weeks given the keen interest of the women presidents in the Greater Vancouver area to participate in the WPO business learning model.”

This rapid expansion is indicative of the remarkable growth that women-owned businesses are experiencing in Canada and the U.S. According to the WPO, 47% of businesses across Canada are women-owned. In 2006, there were an estimated 84,937 privately held, women-owned firms in Vancouver, accounting for 31.5% of all privately held firms in the metropolitan area, generating $12 billion in sales and employing 60,582 people.

It also speaks to the good response the WPO has received. “I am involved in other international business organizations and I was very impressed with the recent WPO conference I attended in Phoenix,” says Ronna Chisholm, President, dossiercreative inc., Vancouver. “I feel that joining the WPO chapter will be a great opportunity to focus on my business and connect with other business owners. So I am very much looking forward to being part of breaking new ground in Vancouver for the WPO.”

With 60 chapters, the WPO brings together women business owners to talk about business and personal issues of interest. Membership is limited to women who run companies with at least $2-million in annual revenue if they produce a product, or $1million if their business is service oriented. It is different from other women's groups in its use of small, local chapters and professional facilitators who organize meetings and focus the agenda. On average, members in Canada have been in business for 16 years and generate $8.9 million in revenue.

For information on the Women Presidents' Organization, contact Barbara Mowat (Vancouver), 604-854-5530,
e-mail Barbara.Mowat@ImpactCommunicationsLtd.com,
Fran Kennedy (Ontario), 519-782-7884,
e-mail: mf.kennedy@rogers.com or
Susan Boland (Montreal), 514-938-9527,
e-mail sboland@videotron.ca


(April 2007)

Outstanding Manitoba Entrepreneurs Recognized

The entrepreneurial achievements of seven Manitoba businesswomen were celebrated at a recent gala in their honour in Winnipeg. The 2007 Manitoba Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, hosted by the Women Business Owners of Manitoba, Winnipeg Chapter, were created to recognize those women whose energies and creativity represent the best of the entrepreneurial spirit of women business owners in Manitoba and who will stand as inspiring role models to tomorrow's emerging business leaders.

From the seven winners in various categories, one entrepreneur who exhibited superior leadership abilities, quality and innovation both in her business and her community, was selected to receive the Overall Excellence and Lifetime Achievement award - Sharon Phillips, The BraBar & Panterie. The other 2007 awards and winners are: Emerging Business - Alexandra Morrison, xLAB Interactive Communications; Building Business - Lucy Perillo, Pardon Services Ent. MB; Excellence in Service - Constance Hall, Peppertree Fashions; International Trade - Heather Campbell-Dewar, Baby Sherpa; Home Enterprise - Lori Wuerch, Foot Care for Seniors; and Contribution to Community - Kalliope Stamatis, Oak Point Restaurant.

Nominations are already being accepted for the 2008 Awards. For more information, contact Lise Carbonneau, tel: 204-832-1512; e-mail: whirlwind@shaw.ca

(April 2007)

Awards Celebrate Eastern Canadian Women Entrepreneur Achievers

Winners of the Newfoundland & Labrador Organization of Women Entrepreneurs (NLOWE) 2007 Entrepreneur of the Year Awards were feted at a gala recently in St. John’s, Newfoundland, the highlight of its annual conference.

Since 1998, the Awards have paid tribute to the province's most successful female entrepreneurs for their important contributions to the economy. Winners are selected from each region of the province. Two additional awards – the Youth Entrepreneur of the Year and the President’s Award, which salutes a person who has exhibited significant leadership characteristics that have supported and enhanced entrepreneurship – are also presented.

Here are this year’s winners:

  • Labrador Region: Corina Dumaresque of Dumaresque Desktop Design Inc., Forteau
  • Western Region: Karen Matthews of Nortique Enterprises Inc., Corner Brook
  • Central Region: Bernice Walker of Corona College, Grand Falls-Windsor
  • Eastern Award: M. Wanda Dawe of Radiance Hair Studio and Spa Ltd., Bay Roberts
  • Avalon Award: Katherine Higgins of Landells Clinic, St. John's
  • Youth Entrepreneur of the Year Award: Laura Coultas of Five Island Art Gallery, Tors Cove
  • President's Award: Cindy Roma of Telelink, The Call Centre Inc., St. John’s

"Our awards recognize the important contribution that businesswomen play in their communities and in their economies," says NLOWE Executive Director Nena Abundo. "These outstanding entrepreneurs contribute significantly to our provincial economy and serve as role models for all women entrepreneurs. Through the NLOWE Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, we celebrate their achievements and promote their successes."

For more about NLOWE and the awards, contact Nena Abundo at 709-754-5555 ext: 223, email nabundo@nlowe.org.

(March 2007)

Do You Know an Outstanding Trade Advocate?

The Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT) - Toronto, which is part of a worldwide organization dedicated to advancing global trade opportunities for women, is on the hunt for nominations for the 2007 JoAnna Townsend Award.

This 4th annual award recognizes an outstanding woman in Ontario who, through her business and personal networks, fosters opportunities that actively support women entrepreneurs to achieve success in international business. This outstanding woman acts as a role model and mentor for women entrepreneurs. She may be an entrepreneur herself or may participate on for-profit and non-profit boards, government committees and/or industry associations that champion the interests of women in business.

The award is named in honour of the late JoAnna Townsend, formerly with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, who was instrumental in introducing initiatives to encourage more Canadian women to export. The 2006 winner was The Hon. Sarmite D. Bulte, Member of Parliament for Parkdale-High Park (1997 - January 2006), selected for her tireless work, as both a volunteer and politician, in fostering growth and opportunities for businesswomen and entrepreneurs for over 25 years.

This year’s winner will be announced at the annual awards ceremony and bbq, to be held September 18 in Toronto, featuring guest speaker Kyle MacDonald of Phoenix Interactive Design, who clinched the exporter award in the 2006 RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Awards.

Nomination deadline: July 31, 2007. For more information, e-mail Barbara Vink at barbara.vink@ontario.ca

(March 2007)

Conference Invites Women Entrepreneurs to Think Big

Women Entrepreneurs of Canada (WEC) has scheduled its second annual full-day, interactive conference in Toronto on June 8 for women entrepreneurs who want to learn practical approaches to ‘Think Big’ and build a toolbox for growth. Designed to inspire big ideas and risk-taking in order to make growth happen, Think Big! will feature a range of workshops with top entrepreneurs and business leaders who will explore strategies for women entrepreneurs to structure their business for acquisition, secure financing for growth, build infrastructure and develop business.

Keynote speaker will be Charlie Coffey, former Executive Vice President, Government Affairs and Business Development, for RBC Royal Bank, who retired in 2006 and is a long-time champion of women entrepreneurs. Also on the agenda are: Ilse Treurnicht and Veronica Litinski of MaRS Discovery District; Nora Spinks, Work-Life Harmony Enterprises; Lorrie King, Deloitte; Lori Prokopich, Cassels Brock; Sue Van Der Hout, Girlphyte Inc.; and Donna Parr, Fairway Capital.

WEC, a not-for-profit association providing resources, support and networking, is dedicated to strengthening the voice of women entrepreneurs in the Canadian business landscape.

Women Entrepreneurs of Canada (WEC) is a not-for-profit association providing resources, support and networking. For information on the Think Big! conference, tel 1-866-207-4439, or e-mail wec@wec.ca.

(March 2007)

Nomination Kick-off for Prestigious Awards

A special reception was held recently in Toronto to officially launch the search for qualified candidates for the 2007 RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Awards (CWEA). “Since RBC has had a long-term commitment to help women start and grow their businesses, it is a wonderful opportunity to support these prestigious and always much-anticipated awards once again,” says Kris Depencier, National Manager, Small Business and Women’s Markets. “We were delighted with the record-high participation of so many women across Canada last year and look forward to even more nominees in 2007.”

Nomination Deadline : July 20, 2007
Application Deadline : August 10, 2007 (All nominees will be sent a package.)
Eligibility : Any woman who owns a profitable business (not a franchise) that has been registered and operating in Canada for three full years as of May 31, 2007, earns her primary income from it and is responsible for its day-to-day management. Nominated businesses must have three complete 12-month periods of financial statements.

It’s well worth it to apply. The awards, which will be presented at a gala ceremony in Toronto in November, are the biggest and most prestigious honour for women business owners across the country, providing national recognition to Canada's women entrepreneurs whose successful businesses play a pivotal role in the growth of our local, national and global communities.

Previous recipients say that winning one of these awards has boosted their profile and market presence and opened the door to new business opportunities. But winners have experienced other benefits as well. “The award created an opportunity to meet some very fine people who have created successful businesses and to discover I had a lot in common with them,” says Yvonne Tollens, President, ComputerAid Professional Services Ltd., Okotoks, Alberta, winner of the 2006 Intel Innovation Award. “The whole process also allowed our team to step back, look at what we’ve accomplished – and celebrate that.”

Since 1992 when the awards were launched, many RBC clients have been nominated and honoured. They are among the 83 winners to date recognized for outstanding entrepreneurial achievement in the areas of Start-Up, Innovation, Momentum (sponsored by RBC), Trailblazer, Exporter and Lifetime Achievement. Initially, most of the businesses nominated were small, but today their revenues range from $250,000 to over $500 million.

The 2006 awards and winners included: RBC Momentum AwardSusan Niczowski, Summer Fresh Salads Inc., Woodbridge, ON; Deloitte Start-Up AwardTracy Gray and Suzanne Mick, Discover Wines Ltd., Kelowna, BC; BDC Exporter AwardKyle MacDonald, Phoenix Interactive Design Inc., London, ON; Intel Innovation AwardYvonne Tollens, ComputerAid Professional Services Ltd., Okotoks, AB; Bell Trailblazer AwardLola Rasminsky, Avenue Road Arts School, Toronto, ON; Energy Savings Group Lifetime Achievement AwardLisette (Lee) McDonald, Southmedic Inc., Barrie, ON.

A special DVD is available featuring these 2006 winners who share their successful stories and business advice, and other information that can help you grow and promote your business. Those nominated for the 2007 awards will automatically receive this special DVD. You can also contact your RBC Account Manager.

To nominate yourself or a candidate, visit www.theawards.ca, e-mail: info@powerpointgroup.com or tel: 416-923-1688, toll-free at 1-800-354-3303. And watch here for more exciting news about the Awards in the months ahead.

(March 2007)

Study Examines Financing of Women Entrepreneurs

Although female business owners who apply for financing are as likely to obtain capital as male entrepreneurs, they are far less likely to seek external equity capital to help grow their businesses, according to a recent study conducted by the University of Ottawa. Women Entrepreneurs and Financial Capital, co-authored by Dr. Barbara Orser and Dr. Allan Riding - Deloitte Professors in the Management of Growth Enterprises - examined gender differences among 2,800 Canadian small and medium enterprise (SME) owners seeking external financing, including commercial debt, leasing, supplier financing, and equity capital. It’s the first research of its kind to take size and sector of firms into account.

The study’s finding that women business owners tend not to seek equity capital is “an important observation because equity capital is often used to finance high-growth firms," says Dr. Orser. “The ability of women to attain economic self-sufficiency may be compromised if women cannot, or do not, employ risk capital to facilitate growth and survival.”

Other findings of the research include:

  • Women are less likely to seek other forms of external financing as well, including commercial loans, leases and supplier financing.
  • On average, Canadian women business owners are smaller, less profitable and more likely than men to be concentrated in the wholesale, retail and services sectors, which are less attractive to venture capitalists.
  • On average, women exhibit lower levels of financial risk tolerance compared to men and receive a disproportionately lower share of venture capital financing.

”The findings point out that it is important for trade and women business owners’ associations, financial institutions and training agencies to clearly communicate the factors that influence terms of lending, approval rates and firm growth,” adds Dr. Orser. “This will help ensure that women entrepreneurs make informed decisions about the capitalization of their firms.”

“Such findings also demonstrate the value of programs that recognize and support growth-oriented women business owners,” says Joanne Stanley, Vice President, Marketing, of CATA Alliance and co-founder of CATA Women in Technology Forum. Its initiatives include the Sara Kirke Award for Woman Entrepreneurship which celebrates the accomplishments of a Canadian woman who has shown outstanding technological innovations and corporate leadership, and the upcoming CATA WIT Entrepreneurs Symposium to be held in Ottawa, which will bring together seasoned and first-time entrepreneurs to share their expertise and insights.

For more information about the study, contact Dr. Barbara Orser at 613-562-5800, ext.4570 or orser@management.uottawa.ca and for details on CATA WIT Forum, contact Joanne Stanley at 613-236-6550 ext. 223 or jstanley@cata.ca

(February 2007)

Celebrating International Women’s Day in Canada and Abroad

Events took place across the country to commemorate International Women’s Day on March 8. This special day was established by the United Nations in 1977 as an opportunity to celebrate the advancement of women’s equality and to assess the challenges that remain. Here is a roundup of some of the events that took place.

  • International Women’s Day Short Film Showcase: This second annual event, presented by Women in Film and Television International (WIFTI) and sponsored in part by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, saw WIFT chapters in 15 cities throughout Canada, New Zealand, and the U.S. showcase an outstanding collection of short films by some of today’s best female filmmakers.
  • Trade Roundtables: Helena Guergis, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, International Trade & Sport, kicked off the Short Film Showcase in Toronto on March 8 and also held a series of regional roundtables that week to hear the needs and challenges of women exporters in conducting business internationally. The purpose of the discussions included connecting with business leaders in positioning Canadian businesses for success in a rapidly changing global economy, discussing the challenges related to global competitiveness for women-led small and medium enterprises, and identifying gaps in the services and programs currently provided by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada (DFAIT).
  • Women’s Enterprise Centre Resources Launch: In B.C., two new resources were launched – a mentoring program for women throughout the province and a new guide, Taking the Leap to Entrepreneurship, which is meant to lend support to women who are making the transition to self-employment.
  • Flash of Fame: To commemorate and celebrate the day, Donna Messer (dmesser6@cogeco.ca ) of ConnectUs Communications created a web site inviting women from around the world to provide a picture and brief description of themselves that briefly flashed throughout the day. “Women are the emerging economic force behind the increasing success of small business development,” said Donna. “They need a change to have a brief flash of fame.”

(February 2007)

Incoming Trade Mission Seeks Linkages

Over 20 businesswomen in the service sector from 13 developing countries will visit Canada in May as part of an International Business Services Forum presented by the International Trade Centre in Geneva, an agency of the World Trade Organization and the UN. The purpose of this incoming trade mission, conference and trade fair, to be held May 15-16 in Toronto, is to link the women to potential partners in Canada and explore business opportunities. It will also allow Canadian businesswomen to gather information about opportunities and how to do business in new markets in Asia, Africa and South America. Some of the women participating also represent women's business groups interested in developing linkages with Canadian businesswomen and business groups.

The program includes a conference with presentations on how to do business in the local markets and link with local buyers and suppliers, a marketing clinic on best practices in the international marketing of services, one-on-one advice from international consultants, a trade fair and networking.

For more information and to register, contact Andrina Lever of Lever Enterprises at 416.920.5114 or aglever@rogers.com.

(February 2007)

New Mentoring Program Launched in B.C.

Aspiring women entrepreneurs in B.C. as well as those who want to grow their businesses now have access to a comprehensive mentoring program launched throughout the province by the the Women's Enterprise Centre, with funding from the B.C. Ministry of Community Services. The program was officially kicked off, first in Victoria, on International Women's Day (March 8). Other communities offering the Centre's free program include Kamloops, Terrace, Whistler/Squamish, Kelowna and Cranbrook. "This means the program will reach women outside large urban centres who often don't have access to these kinds of resources," explains Laurel Douglas, the Centre's CEO.

The program comprises two components:

  1. For pre-startup transitioners. Those just starting to consider the transition to self-employment have access to a resource guide on "Taking the Leap to Entrepreneurship", also launched on March 8, and a self-guided e-learning module; and
  2. For early stage transitioners. Those who have been in business up to two years can access the Taking the Leap resource guide, peer mentoring groups, a one-on-one mentoring program and mentor advisory forums.

"As a result of considerable research we conducted, we designed the program to fill the gap we saw in the market for resources to assist early-stage entrepreneurs," notes Laurel. "In addition, because we will see a big shift in demographics over the next decade, with the majority of women's businesses owned by those over 45, we wanted to help women who have never run a business make the transition."

Part of the Centre's research included focus groups with entrepreneurial women from seven cities across B.C. who discussed the barriers they face when entering self-employment and other issues around women transitioning to entrepreneurship. Common refrains heard from the groups were the "rollercoaster ride of emotions" brought on by their experiences and the dilemma of trying to find a balance between their home lives and the demands of their businesses. Their candid disclosures formed the basis for the mentoring program as well as the Taking the Leap to Entrepreneurship guide, which addresses many of these personal challenges.

For more information, contact the Women's Enterprise Centre at tel 250-868-3454, 1-800-643-7014 (toll-free in B.C.) or e-mail to info@womensenterprise.ca.

Small and Medium Size Firms Leading Canada's Productivity Achievements

The rate of productivity is growing faster in small and medium companies than in larger firms, according to RBC Economists Derek Holt, Amy Goldbloom and Ivana Repcic. A recent Current Analysis report shows that productivity of smaller Canadian firms has been rising by 2.5% to 3% a year this decade, while the increase among larger competitors has been only 0.5%.

"As Canada's business community restructures and reloads to meet the challenges of a changing global economy, this in turn has positive implications for the future health of Canadian businesses and for the nation's living standards," the report states. "Businesses are responding to the challenges by boosting productivity in an effort to make the Canadian economy more competitive."

Currently, micro and small businesses make up some 98% of businesses in Canada. And in 39 of 70 industry classifications (56% of industries), micro employers had faster productivity gains than the industry average. At the same time, consolidation has played a key role in productivity. Industries that have fewer small businesses through consolidation have higher productivity gains than industries in which small businesses have increased their share of total businesses.

The report suggests that governments should redesign tax structures to make the system more productivity friendly by addressing such factors as high rates of corporate taxation on productivity-enhancing capital investments.

The industries showing strongest productivity growth in micro and small firms include: wholesale auto parts, chemical manufacturing, plastics and rubber manufacturing, and information and cultural industries. The strongest growth in medium-sized companies include the non-store retailing, petroleum products manufacturing and wholesaling, air transportation and wood products manufacturing industries.

For timely and relevant analysis and forecasts of the economy and financial markets in Canada, the United States and key international markets, visit http://www.rbc.com/economics.

(January 2007)

Nominations Open for 2007 RBC Awards

Now is the time to start thinking about nominating exemplary women business owners who deserve to be recognized and rewarded for their efforts. The search for qualified candidates for the 2007 RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Awards (CWEA) is underway. “Since RBC has had a long-term commitment to help women start and grow their businesses, it is a wonderful opportunity to support these prestigious and always much-anticipated awards once again,” says Kris Depencier, National Manager, Small Business and Women’s Markets. “We were delighted with the record-high participation of so many women across Canada last year and look forward to a growing pool of nominees in 2007.”

Eligibility: Any woman who owns a profitable business (not a franchise) that has been registered and operating in Canada for three full years as of May 31, 2007, earns her primary income from it and is responsible for its day-to-day management. Nominated businesses must have three complete 12-month periods of financial statements.
Categories: Start-Up, Innovation, Momentum, Trailblazer, Exporter and Lifetime Achievement.
Nomination Deadline : July 27, 2007
Application Deadline : August 10, 2007 (All nominees will be sent a package.)

It’s well worth it to apply. The awards, which will be presented at a gala ceremony in Toronto in November, are the most prestigious honour for women business owners - big and small - across the country, providing national profile and recognition. “It’s fantastic that these Awards occur ,” says Kim McArthur, recipient of the 2001 Start-Up Award, who spoke at a special breakfast to honour the 2006 recipients late last fall. “Sometimes it is lonely being a woman entrepreneur, so it is very uplifting to hear the stories of the winners, who are always so passionate about their work. I’m very proud to have won this Award in the past. It’s very supportive and also very helpful when you talk to banks and potential investors.”

The 2006 awards and winners included: RBC Momentum AwardSusan Niczowski, Summer Fresh Salads Inc., Woodbridge, ON; Deloitte Start-Up AwardTracy Gray and Suzanne Mick, Discover Wines Ltd., Kelowna, BC; BDC Exporter AwardKyle MacDonald, Phoenix Interactive Design Inc., London, ON; Intel Innovation AwardYvonne Tollens, ComputerAid Professional Services Ltd., Okotoks, AB; Bell Trailblazer AwardLola Rasminsky, Avenue Road Arts School, Toronto, ON; Energy Savings Group Lifetime Achievement AwardLisette (Lee) McDonald, Southmedic Inc., Barrie, ON.

To nominate yourself or a candidate, visit www.theawards.ca, e-mail: info@powerpointgroup.com or tel: 416-923-1688, toll-free at 1-800-354-3303. And watch here for more exciting news about the Awards in the months ahead.

(December 2006)

New Data On Women's Business Ownership Shows Sharp Increase

Between 1997 and 2006, the number of majority women-owned firms in the United States increased from 5.4 to 7.7 million, an increase of 42% - almost double that of all firms (23%) - according to the Center for Women's Business Research. The Center recently released its biennial update of statistics on national women-owned businesses.

The study also revealed the fastest growing industry sectors for majority-owned firms between 1997 and 2006:

  • wholesale trade (283%),
  • health care services (130%),
  • arts, entertainment and recreation (117%),
  • and professional, scientific and technical services (83%).

The largest percentage of majority women-owned firms is in the service sector (69%) followed by retail trade (14%).

For more information about the study, contact: Juanita Weaver, Center for Women’s Business Research, Tel 202-638-3060 x 719, e-mail jweaver@womensbusinessresearch.org

(December 2006)

Feds Renew Focus on Women in Trade

During a cabinet expansion in January, Prime Minister Harper created a new junior cabinet position in the area of trade that is good news for women. Helena Guergis, MP, Simcoe-Grey, Ontario, was named Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Sport, with a mandate that includes outreach work regarding women in international trade. First elected to the House of Commons in 2004 and re-elected in 2006, she was most recently Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Trade, David Emerson. She has served on the standing committees on International Trade and on the Status of Women.

Ms. Guergis “will work with Minister Peter MacKay and Minister David Emerson on protecting and advancing Canada’s interest and values on the world stage,” the Prime Minister said in announcing her appointment.

(December 2006)

Bank Consortium Works Together to Support Women Entrepreneurs

Representatives of 15 banks from all continents - including RBC Royal Bank - gathered in Edinburgh, Scotland in November to discuss best practices on supporting women entrepreneurs. Chaired by Kristina Depencier, RBC’s National Manager of Small Business and Women's Markets, the 2006 annual summit of the Global Banking Alliance for Women (GBA) was hosted by Bank of Scotland Corporate in conjunction with the International Finance Corporation, GBA’s secretariat. For the first time, banks from developing countries participated in the two-day event which showcased women’s global economic contributions, and discussed global and UK research findings about women as consumers, entrepreneurs, and influential power brokers and celebrated innovation, entrepreneurship and business success.

“The reach of the GBA and the degree to which it has expanded into developing countries is impressive,” says Kris. “The 2006 summit represented an excellent opportunity for founding members like RBC to advance women entrepreneurship globally by sharing best practices on how to promote and support the tremendous opportunity women business owners represent to emerging economies.”

Other highlights included:

  • Release of the first research study on Access to Finance for women entrepreneurs in South Africa since apartheid, which revealed that while black women are the most entrepreneurial segments of the population, they are the least likely to be banked.
  • Keynote address from Cherie Blair, wife of UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, who said, “We have some things to celebrate, but I also know that whatever country is our home, whatever area we work in, there’s still a long way to go before the barriers to equality are removed.”

RBC Royal Bank was a founding member of the GBA in December 2000, along with representatives of non-competing financial institutions in North America, Australasia, and Europe, recognized by the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as best practices banks in delivering financial services to the women’s market in their respective economies. Each had a highly developed marketing strategy, which included specific programs to attract and retain women in business as clients, and proven positive results. Today, other members include: RBC Centura; Access Bank plc., Nigeria; Banco Uno, El Salvador; Bank of America; Bank of Ireland; Bank of Scotland; Commercial International Bank, Egypt; Development Finance Company of Uganda Ltd.; Exim Bank, Tanzania; First National Bank, South Africa; Westpac, Australia; Westpac, New Zealand; Women's Development Bank, South Africa; Women’s World Banking.

The representatives of the GBA work collaboratively and share resources and best practices for the mutual benefit of both members and women around the world.

For more information about the GBA, contact Lucie Giraud, International Finance Corporation, e-mail: lgiraud@ifc.org

(November 2006)

10th Anniversary Women's Trade Mission to Washington, D.C., Planned for Fall

A return Women’s Trade Mission to Washington, DC, is being planned for November 13-19, 2007, marking the 10th anniversary of the first-ever all-women trade mission to the U.S. capital. Back in November, 1997, Canada’s International Trade Minister, the Honourable Sergio Marchi, led 120 Canadian businesswomen on that mission, sponsored by RBC Royal Bank. It resulted in $35 million in deals being signed, and became the launch pad for the first research on Canadian women exporters and the historic Canada-USA Businesswomen's Trade Summit that took place in Toronto in 1999, also sponsored by RBC.

“It has now been 10 years since that first exciting and historic trade mission so it is appropriate that we recognize the achievements of Canadian women by making a return mission to Washington, ” says Andrina Lever, President of Lever Enterprises, who is organizing the trade mission along with The Honourable Sam Bulte. “The first mission in 1997 was a large mission to help put women on the radar screen of the Government of Canada. This one will be smaller and more focused.”

For information on participating in the 10th Anniversary return Women's Trade Mission to Washington, D.C. in November of 2007, contact Andrina Lever at 416-920-5114 or e-mail aglever@rogers.com.

(November 2006)

Initiative Launched to Advance Women’s Economic Progress

Organized by the U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce (USWCC), the National Congress on the Economic Advancement of Women is a recent initiative that brings together individuals and organizations to tackle economic issues faced by women in the U.S and to create a strong movement for change and progress. A cornerstone of the National Congress is the ongoing reporting of economic progress and failures in order to provide a clear measuring stick on the economic advancement of women.

The USWCC compiled a number of interesting statistics on the current economic state of women in the U.S. to underscore its position that the economy is leaving women behind and to emphasize the need for a united front to address the situation:

  • Even though the number of (majority-owned) women-owned firms grew 42.3% between 1997 and 2006, their combined annual sales grew only 4.4%. This represents a 37% decrease in average revenues. (Center for Women's Business Research)
  • "A woman in the United States is 45% more likely to be poor than a man." Legal Momentum (Sept 2006)
  • "Millions Of U.S. Women May Run Out Of Retirement Savings." Society of Actuaries (Sept 2006)
  • "Projected trend indicates it could take 40 years for women to achieve parity with men in corporate officer ranks.” Catalyst (July 2006)

“Although women have moved from the home to the workforce, to business, boardrooms and elected office, these statistics show that we are still not reaching appropriate levels of economic opportunity and must exert our influence ,” said Margot Dorfman, CEO, USWCC, during the kick-off teleconference and virtual meeting of the National Congress in mid-November. Participating individuals and organizations discussed a comprehensive brief prepared by USWCC. It recommends establishing an economic system that serves women and proposes solutions to help women own their economic independence. Regional meetings will be held with interested organizations early this year to take the initiative to the next level.

“I am very excited to announce that the Congress has representation from 43 states and women from all walks of life,” Margot adds. “We have now set the course for strategic change across the board to advance the economic status of women in my lifetime. And we are willing to work with interested organizations in other countries to help women gain empowerment globally.”

For information on the initiative, Tel USWCC at 1-888-418-7922 or E-mail margot@uswcc.org .

(November 2006)

Congratulations to 2006 RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Award Winners

Close to 1,000 people gathered to celebrate and support the winners of this year's prestigious RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Awards (CWEA), sponsored by RBC Financial Group, at an inspiring ceremony in Toronto on November 21. The preeminent awards provide national recognition to Canada's women entrepreneurs, whose successful businesses and achievements contribute so much to Canadian and global economies as well as to their communities. Here are the seven outstanding women selected from a record 875 nominations received from across Canada this year – a 55% increase over 2005:

  • RBC Momentum Award - to Susan Niczowski, Summer Fresh Salads Inc., Woodbridge, ON – Since starting her business from the kitchen of her parent’s house in 1991, Susan has grown her food company into a $41 million business and a recognized brand in Canada and the U.S. She and her team of employees - who share her passion for quality food, her belief in excellent customer relations and her vision of aggressive growth - have set a target of 15% annual revenue growth.
  • Deloitte Start-Up Award - to Tracy Gray and Suzanne Mick, Discover Wines Ltd., Kelowna, BC – Tracy and Suzanne have created the most successful, privately-owned specialty VQA Wine and Gift Store in British Columbia since establishing it in 2003. Believing that the excellent wine of Central BC was being overlooked, they saw an opportunity to make the winery experience accessible by opening a store that provides excellent service through its knowledgeable staff and that acts as an information centre for BC wineries.
  • BDC Exporter Award – to Kyle MacDonald, Phoenix Interactive Design Inc., London, ON - With the intent of improving the technology behind financial institutions’ self-service products such as ATM machines, Kyle created the only company in Canada, and one of only three worldwide, that competes on a global level in the ATM software solution market. She revolutionized the industry and has travelled millions of miles over the years to develop solid client relationships and turn Phoenix into a global leader. Its talented professionals routinely raise the bar in retail banking with software solutions.
  • Intel Innovation Award - to Yvonne Tollens, ComputerAid Professional Services Ltd., Okotoks, AB –  Raised on a cattle ranch, Yvonne turned her passion and knowledge into creating the first company to provide technology and software solutions for the cattle industry. Since 1986, ComputerAid has improved the lives of cattlemen by reducing paperwork, simplifying industry processes, and making it easier to manage over $1.5 billion of cattle and commodity inventory annually. It is now one of Canada’s most successful agricultural software companies.
  • Bell Trailblazer Award - to Lola Rasminsky, Avenue Road Arts School, Toronto, ON – In 1993, Lola founded the school to fill a gap left by the dissolution of arts programming in the public school system, becoming the first entrepreneur in Toronto to run an arts school as an independent business without government support or an arts institution’s backing. Today, more than 1,200 students between the ages of nine months and 90 years, ranging from inner city children to corporate executives, attend.
  • Energy Savings Group Lifetime Achievement Award - to Lisette (Lee) McDonald, Southmedic Inc., Barrie, ON – Lee began her career as a critical care nurse who saw an opportunity to improve existing medical equipment to prevent inadvertent administration of more than one anesthetic agent at a time. Within six months of operating her business out of her home, Lee’s products were being sold to hospitals around the world. Today, 23 years later, the company has three divisions and over 100 employees, sells to more than 62 countries and holds numerous patents.

“These winners all share a strong vision and a relentless passion in pursuing their dreams,” says Jim Westlake, Group Head, Canadian Personal and Business Clients, RBC Financial Group. “They have influenced and benefited our economy through hard work and resolve; but more importantly I believe, they have become positive role models for the young women of today.”

Since the awards were launched in the early '90s, over 5,000 women have been nominated, including many RBC clients. "There was a huge increase in the number of applications, particularly from Western Canada,” says Pat Pape, President of the Powerpoint Group Inc., producers of the awards. "And the addition of a new award this year to recognize an outstanding exporter also allowed us to expand the tribute to remarkable Canadian women.”

Watch for more on the winners and their secrets to success. To learn more about the Awards, visit www.theawards.ca, e-mail: info@powerpointgroup.com or tel: 416-923-1688, toll-free at 1-800-354-3303.

Calling All Potential Exporters to Dubai (UAE), Bahrain

Women exporters/entrepreneurs in the financial services and education/training sectors are invited to participate in the “booming economic growth of Dubai” in a Canadian businesswomen’s trade mission to the Gulf States in March 2007. A private sector-driven initiative of Women Engaging in Bridge Building (WEBB) Canada, the mission will travel to Dubai and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, and Manama in Bahrain. “Canadian women entrepreneurs are forging ahead and are significantly contributing to our economic growth,” says Nazreen Ali, President of WEBB Canada. “Now we also want to see what it is like to sell to the world.”

The mission will include business meetings, plenary sessions, meetings with experts, roundtable discussions, industry visits, receptions, networking opportunities and city tours. A major component will be to identify and set up one-on-one meetings with potential business matches. Introductions to local businesswomen and exporter networks and associations will also be made.

While primarily targeted to women business owners, participation is also open to businesswomen who are in a position to influence business opportunities for other women. Eligibility criteria include:

  • Business that are at least 50% woman-owned and with at least one woman actively involved in operating the business and holding authority to make major business decisions.
  • Senior level women executives from Canadian corporations.
  • Businesses that are export-ready or have made some export sales, and have committed to developing the export market within the next 12 to 24 months.

WEBB is an international network of women and men devoted to bridge-building both in the West and in the East to promote women in business and provide opportunities for economic, social and political improvement. Honourary Chair of this mission and a member of its Canadian Advisory Board is Charlie Coffey, former RBC Executive Vice President, Government Affairs and Business Development, who is known for his outstanding contributions to the advancement of Canadian businesswomen.

For information on how to participate in the trade mission, contact Nazreen Ali, tel: 613-737-6820, e-mail nazreen@webb-international.org

(October 2006)

Women’s Organization Launches ‘Think Big!’ Program

Women Entrepreneurs of Canada (WEC), has launched a two-year program focusing on public education, research and policy to encourage women business owners to ‘Think Big!’ about growth and expansion. An integral part of the program is the introduction of the WEC Wiki on its website. Women’s organizations, universities, business forums and government can share information relevant to women entrepreneurs at the WEC Wiki.

“It will be an innovative forum that connects with Canada’s biggest thinkers,” says Ruth Bastedo, President. “This is the first stage of the WEC Think Big! Program. Phase II will support academic research on what makes women successful and will use the media to raise the profile of women business owners.”

A not-for-profit association providing resources, support and networking for women entrepreneurs, WEC recently repositioned to increase its relevance to women business owners and to focus its efforts more on research and policy.

For information on how to join WEC, contribute to the WEC Wiki site, or support its research initiatives, call 1-866-207-4439 or e-mail wec@wec.ca.

(October 2006)

RBC Champion for Women Entrepreneurs Begins a New Chapter

Charlie Coffey, Executive Vice President, Government Affairs and Business Development, is departing RBC after an extraordinary 44-year career that has focused on reaching out to clients and communities, including women entrepreneurs, across Canada and beyond. Charlie has been honoured by many groups and organizations for his leadership in action; he accepted two awards from the Canadian Embassy in Washington for RBC’s outstanding contribution to the advancement of Canadian businesswomen. In 2004, Charlie was named an Officer to the Order of Canada for his exemplary work in supporting early child development, aboriginal peoples, women entrepreneurship, education and diversity.

Charlie is proud of RBC’s trailblazing role as a financial institution that understands the strategic importance of the women entrepreneurs’ market to economic growth and prosperity in Canada. In particular, ground-breaking, attention-getting events such as the first Canadian businesswomen’s trade mission to Washington in 1997 and the first Canada-US Businesswomen’s Trade Summit in 1999, sponsored by RBC, resonate with him. “Those were certainly very important events in a public policy and political sense,” he says. “Each brought senior Canadian and American government officials, including Canada’s Trade Minister and the U.S. Secretary of State, to the table.”

“Led by people like Charlie Coffey, RBC Royal Bank was a visionary in recognizing women entrepreneurs as an emerging market and launching initiatives for them,” says The Honourable Sarmite Bulte, winner of the 2006 JoAnna Townsend Award from the Organization of Women in International Trade-Toronto that recognizes women trade advocates.

What is Charlie’s advice to women entrepreneurs? “Whatever issues you’re faced with, always take the high road because you’ll find it less crowded up there.” He believes self-confidence, support mechanisms and a willingness to ask for help are further keys to success. “And push for change,” he urges. “Join Equal Voice and advocate for more women in public office and around the board tables.”

Whether he is pushing the envelope on the children first agenda, the plight of aboriginal peoples or the creation of The Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg, Charlie’s strong social justice mindset, which he attributes to his mother’s influence, will continue to prevail in the next chapter of his career and life. Recently, Charlie was appointed to the national committee of the Aga Khan Foundation Canada, where he hopes to help improve the lot of disadvantaged peoples. “The Foundation is doing some incredible work around the world,” he says.

It is clear this ongoing champion of women entrepreneurs won’t be idle in the months and years ahead.

(September 2006)

Top 100 Women-Owned Businesses Focus on Growth

The eighth annual W100 ranking of top Canadian women business owners (by revenue) compiled by PROFIT magazine shows that the growth of their businesses is high on the agenda for these successful businesswomen. This year’s group generated average revenues of $27.5 million (up almost $2 million from 2005), employ on average 100 people, and report an astonishing three-year average growth rate of 137%. Many of the W100 companies are successful in industries traditionally dominated by men, including manufacturing, construction and software development. When asked their opinion as to what holds many women back from growing small businesses into large ones, 53% said they believe women may be unwilling to take the risks that come with growing a company, 45% felt some women entrepreneurs don't want to sacrifice time with their families, and 44% cited insufficient access to capital. And 42% said that women don't "dream big enough".

Congratulations once again to Rebecca MacDonald, CEO of Energy Savings Income Fund, who, for the fourth year in a row ranked number 1 on the list with revenues over $1.2 billion, a growth of 29% over last year. Kudos also to the 2005 RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year winner in the Momentum category, Sherri Stevens, President of Stevens Resource Group, who ranked number 27 on the W100 list.

Details of Canada's Top 100 Women Business Owners are found in the November 2006 issue of the magazine or telephone PROFIT at 1-800-713-GROW (4769) for more information.

(September 2006)

Women Business Owners of Manitoba Celebrate 20th Anniversary

A special Celebration of Membership was held recently in Winnipeg to mark the 20th year that Women Business Owners of Manitoba (WBO) has been operating. Founded by Marilyn Gault in 1986 with 10 members, WBO today boasts a membership of 150.

“We’re thrilled about the celebration and proud of our 20-year history in Winnipeg,” commented Benita Stafford-Smith, President. “Women business owners in our province run thriving operations and are a segment whose numbers continue to grow at a higher rate than businesses owned by men”.

The reception celebrated the past, present and future of the organization. Chaired by past Presidents Carleen Carels and Sharon Philips, speakers included Winnipeg Mayor Sam Katz and MPP The Honourable Scott Smith, Manitoba’s Minister of Competitiveness, Training & Trade.

WBO connects members with other women business owners, facilitates personal and professional growth, assists women in starting and maintaining successful businesses, and liaises with and complements other related organizations.

For more information about Women Business Owners of Manitoba, Winnipeg Chapter contact Lise Carbonneau at 204-832-1512 or e-mail whirlwind@shaw.ca

(September 2006)

Outstanding Women to be Honoured at Gala

The country’s premier Awards ceremony to honour exceptional women entrepreneurs is fast approaching. Winners of the 2006 RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Awards, will be announced at a special gala in Toronto on November 21. “The Awards ceremony is very inspirational – almost like the Oscars!” says Sherri Stevens, President of Stevens Resource Group Inc. and recipient of one of the 2005 Awards – the RBC Momentum Award.

RBC Financial Group – lead sponsor of the Awards – congratulates the many outstanding women who were nominated this year. A record number of nominations were received from across Canada. Six awards will be presented at the gala to take place on Tuesday, November 21 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Award categories are Momentum, Start-Up, Innovation, Trailblazer, Exporter and Lifetime Achievement.

Get your ticket today! To purchase, contact Kirsten Baker at 1-800-354-3303 or 416-923-1688 x 22 or kbaker@powerpointgroup.com. To learn more about the awards, visit www.theawards.ca.

(August 2006)

Trade Advocates for Women Entrepreneurs Recognized

The Hon. Sarmite D. Bulte, Member of Parliament for Parkdale-High Park (1997 - January 2006), is this year’s recipient of the JoAnna Townsend Award, presented by the Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT) - Toronto, The award recognizes an outstanding woman in Ontario who acts as a trade advocate to help women entrepreneurs achieve success in international business. Supporters include Export Development Canada, Hodgson Russ, Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, and Ann Wylie Toal Designs.

“When you work hard and do things because of your passion and desire to make a difference, it means a great deal to be acknowledged,” said Sarmite. During her remarks, she also recognized RBC Royal Bank for its leadership in recognizing women entrepreneurs as an important market. "The Royal Bank was a champion from the beginning by supporting the first businesswomen’s trade mission in 1997 and by launching other initiatives for women entrepreneurs."

Sarmite was selected for her tireless work towards fostering growth and opportunities for businesswomen and entrepreneurs for over 25 years. She has been actively involved in many national and international women’s business organizations, including a founder of Women Entrepreneurs of Canada (WEC) and a former President of the Canadian Association of Women Executives and Entrepreneurs (CAWEE). Once elected as MP for Parkdale-High Park in 1997, she continued to champion the cause for women in business and trade as part of the government, garnering numerous national and international awards. In 2002, she was appointed to chair the Prime Minister’s Task Force on Women Entrepreneurs, resulting in the seminal Task Force Recommendations to the government of Canada in 2003.

Also honoured as runner up was consultant Betty Wood, who was recognized, among other things, for numerous initiatives she undertook to help women expand into the international arena when she was National Director of Women’s Market Strategies for RBC Royal Bank.

The award is a tribute to the memory of JoAnna Townsend, a champion of women exporters. In her role with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Ms. Townsend was instrumental in introducing many initiatives to encourage more Canadian women to export and spearheaded the groundbreaking Beyond Borders report, the first research of its kind in the world on women and their role in international trade.

Award finalists included Darlene A. Homonkov, Executive Director. Golden Horseshoe BioSciences Network, Samantha Kane, Founding Partner, Kane-MacKay & Associates Ltd., Mikah Lee, CEO, LPR Global Inc., Donna Messer, President, ConnectUs Communications, Sonja Perovic, President, Loopmedia Inc., and Angela Santomeiri, CEO, Langu-EDGE Solutions Inc.

Keynote speaker at the Awards ceremony – sponsored by TLI – The Mandarin School – was Marg Hachey, Executive Vice-President, Duocom Communications of Canada Inc. (mhachey@duocom.ca). She emphasized that today’s robust technology makes it feasible for small businesses to do business globally without having to leave the office. “The world today is truly at your fingertips,” she said.

The Organization of Women in International Trade – with chapters around the world – is dedicated to advancing global trade opportunities for women. For information about OWIT-Toronto, contact Amanda de Vogel at amanda.devogel@sympatico.ca, and for OWIT-Alberta, contact Cheryl Lockhart at cheryl@intl-strategies.com.

(August 2006)

Major Banking Institutions Gather to Share Best Practices

An international event designed to give a global perspective on women as an economic growth engine will take place in Glasgow, Scotland in November. Participants at the Global Banking Alliance for Women (GBA) World Summit, hosted by Bank of Scotland Corporate in conjunction with the International Finance Corporation, will showcase women’s global economic contribution, discuss global and UK research findings about women as consumers, women as entrepreneurs and women as influential power brokers and celebrate innovation, entrepreneurship and business success.

“The Global Banking Alliance helps its members expand access to financing for women. We are delighted to welcome new members from Central America, South America, Africa and the Middle East to this year’s Summit,” says Kristina Depencier, GBA Chair and National Manager of Small Business and Women's Market for RBC Royal Bank. Kris will address the Summit on the purpose of the GBA and its goals.

RBC Royal Bank was a founding member of the GBA in December 2000, along with representatives of non-competing financial institutions in North America, Australasia, and Europe, recognized by the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as best practice in delivering financial services to the women’s market in their respective economies. Each had a highly developed marketing strategy, which included specific programs to attract and retain women in business as clients, and proven positive results. Other members include: RBC Centura; Access Bank plc., Nigeria; Bank of America; Bank of Ireland; Bank of Scotland; Commercial International Bank, Egypt; Development Finance Company of Uganda Ltd.; First National Bank, South Africa; Banco Uno El Salvador; Westpac Australia; Westpac New Zealand; Women's Development Bank, South Africa.

The representatives of the GBA work collaboratively and share resources and best practices for the mutual benefit of both members and women around the world.

For more information about the GBA, contact Francesca Molinaro, International Finance Corporation, e-mail fmolinaro@ifc.org

(August 2006)

Join the Celebration!

Winners of the 2006 RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Awards will be announced at a special gala ceremony in Toronto in November. “The Awards ceremony is very inspirational – almost like the Oscars!” says Sherri Stevens , President of Stevens Resource Group Inc. and recipient of one of the 2005 Awards – the RBC Momentum Award.

RBC Financial Group – lead sponsor of the Awards – congratulates the many outstanding women who were nominated this year. A record number of nominations were received from across Canada and the judges are busy assessing the applications to make the final selections of winners. “Given the number, quality and cross-Canada representation of the nominees, this year’s Awards ceremony will certainly be exciting and will showcase truly amazing women and role models,” says Kristina Depencier, National Manager, Small Business & Women’s Markets, RBC Royal Bank.

Six awards will be presented at the gala to take place on Tuesday, November 21 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Award categories are Momentum, Start-Up, Innovation, Trailblazer, Exporter and Lifetime Achievement.

Get your ticket today! To purchase, contact Kirsten Baker at 1-800-354-3303 or 416-923-1688 x22 or kbaker@powerpointgroup.com. To learn more about the awards, visit www.theawards.ca.

(July 2006)

Women and Men Differ when Surfing Internet

Some 63% of women who use the Internet from home search for information about health or medical conditions, compared with only 53% of men, according to Statistics Canada’s recently-released Canadian Internet Use Survey of more than 30,000 Canadians in 2005. Men, on the other hand, are more likely (56%) than women (48%) to use the Internet from home to access government programs, download government forms and file income taxes online.

Other findings include:

  • 68% of adult Canadians used the Internet for non-business reasons during the previous year
  • Internet use varies depending on where one lives – 58% of Canadians living in small towns or rural areas accessed the Internet, compared with between 68% and 77% in larger cities
  • Income levels and education also affect Internet use – 88% of adults with household incomes over $86,000 used the Internet, whereas only 61% with incomes below that figure did and 80% of adults with some secondary education used the Internet, compared with 49% with less education
  • 34% of women aged 18-24 who used the Internet at home, and 43% of their male counterparts, spent 10 or more hours per week online
  • Close to 60% of Canadian home users utilize online banking

For more information about the Survey, contact Larry McKeown at tel 613-951-2582, or email larry.mckeown@statcan.ca

(July 2006)

Organization Created to Increase Women’s Access to Global Supply Chain

In a move to increase links between U.S. women-owned firms with women-owned businesses around the world, the U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce (USWCC) has recently launched the USWCC Women's Global Network. This network aims to provide women business owners in the U.S. and around the globe with the opportunity to gain access to the growing global supply chain.

The Network takes a four-pronged approach to connecting members to opportunities and partners around the world:

  • Education – The USWCC University will offer webinars on topics such as world economic regions, industry sector growth and demand, how to do business with offshore partners, and how to position businesses within the evolving global supply chain.
  • Connection to opportunities – Through its Guide to Women Contractors and its Opportunity Center, women-owned firms, large corporations and government buyers and liaisons work together to bring opportunities to women through both print and online communities.
  • Certification of women-owned status – Non-U.S.-based firms can acquire "International Women-Owned Business Certification" to obtain increased private sector opportunities with U.S. women-owned firms, U.S. based Fortune 500 firms and other large international firms.
  • Access to resources – Business, financial and technology resources designed to assist women business owners will be made available.

For information, contact USWCC at 888-418-7922.

(July 2006)

Congratulations to All Our Nominees!

With a record number of nominations received from across Canada for the RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Awards, RBC Financial Group - lead sponsor of the Awards - congratulates the many outstanding women from across Canada who have been nominated in 2006. Winners will be announced and celebrated at a gala ceremony in Toronto in November. "The Awards ceremony is very inspirational - almost like the Oscars!" says Sherri Stevens, President of Stevens Resource Group Inc. and recipient of one of the 2005 Awards - the RBC Momentum Award.

Now that nominations for the 2006 Awards are closed, judges are busy assessing the applications to make the final selections of winners. "Given the number, quality and cross-Canada representation of the nominees, this year's Awards ceremony will certainly be exciting and will showcase truly amazing women and role models," says Kristina Depencier, National Manager, Small Business & Women's Markets, RBC Royal Bank.

Six awards will be presented at the gala to take place on Tuesday, November 21 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Award categories are Momentum, Start-Up, Innovation, Trailblazer, Exporter and Lifetime Achievement.

Get your ticket today! To purchase, contact Kirsten Baker at 1-800-354-3303 or 416-923-1688 x22 or kbaker@powerpointgroup.com. To learn more about the awards, visit www.theawards.ca.

(June 2006)

Study Analyzes Best Practices in U.S. Federal Procurement

A report just released by the U.S. National Women's Business Council (NWBC), Best Practices in Federal Procurement: A Study of the Successes and Barriers for Women-Owned Business, evaluates best practices in federal procurement assistance programs offered through the Offices of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU). Based on interviews with OSDBU offices and women business owners, the report offers policy makers and government agencies a detailed analysis of current outreach efforts as well as recommendations for improving federal contracting assistance programs in the future.

Some of the best practices identified include:

  • vendor outreach sessions, where program and procurement officials meet directly with small businesses
  • increased use of technology, including nationwide conference calls and video conferencing
  • regional meetings and training for small businesses seeking procurement opportunities

The report is intended as a guide for women business owners interested in federal contracting.

For information, contact Allison Gilmore, Tel 202-205-6827 or e-mail allison.gilmore@sba.gov.

(June 2006)

Exit Strategies Differ for Women Entrepreneurs

A unique study, Exit Strategies of Women and Men Business Owners, conducted by the Center for Women's Business Research (CWBN), examines how women and men business owners in the U.S. approach exiting their businesses. The main finding is that women and men are similar in wanting a good price when selling their businesses (85% said that price was the most important factor), but women owners are more likely to have concerns about the future well-being of the business and its employees.

Among the other findings:

  • Women business owners are considerably more likely than men owners to take into account the buyer's identity, personality, and background (72% vs. 30%).
  • Women owners are more concerned than men owners about the buyer's plans for the business (79% vs. 52%) and plans for current employees (86% vs. 61%).
  • Women and men owners are equally likely to plan to maintain ownership (20%), sell (38%), pass on to family (23%), close (3%) or have no exit plan (16%).

For more information, contact the CWBN at Tel: 202-638-3060, ext. 10 or e-mail info@womensbusinessresearch.org.

(June 2006)

Organization for Women in Technology Expands

Canadian women in the technology fields received a boost recently with the inauguration of the Toronto Chapter of The CATA WIT (Women in Technology) Forum, a division of the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATAAlliance). The Toronto launch is the most recent phase of the organization created to help women who work within technology companies or who are entrepreneurs, advance their careers through networking, mentoring, professional development and advocacy.

"The technology sector is an area where women can advance quickly if we get together and share our strengths," says Joanne Stanley, Vice President, CATA WIT Forum. "Science and technology depends on brain-power, which is inherently equitable. Already in sectors like computers and communications, 26% of the management positions belong to women. This could offer a fast track to women who are qualified and determined. But we need to take active measures to increase that percentage and advance ourselves."

Since its formation - resulting from a partnership forged in 2003 with SpringBoard, a U.S. based not-for-profit - the CATA WIT Forum has achieved significant accomplishments, including:

  • Conducted two major online surveys to gauge women executives' degree of interest in creating a national forum to help women in technology companies advance their careers. This revealed an overwhelmingly positive demand and provided valuable guidance in creating WIT Forum goals and programs
  • Created a National Advisory Board, composed of the Vice President and the Board Champion of CATA's WIT Forum and women leaders in the technology community, to provide direction and strategy to the organization
  • Held two competitions for the Sara Kirke Award for Woman Entrepreneurship, presented annually to the woman who has shown the most outstanding technological innovation and corporate leadership
  • Formed partnerships with a variety of organizations.
  • Launched Ottawa and Toronto chapters
  • Attracted over 100 members.

For more information, contact Joanne Stanley at jstanley@cata.ca or tel 613-236-6550, ext 223.

(May 2006)

Canadian Recognized for Bringing Women Presidents' Organization to Canada

At a June celebratory luncheon to mark its 5th anniversary in Canada, the Women Presidents' Organization (WPO) honoured Rhona Levine Rubin (rlr@rogers.com), President of RLR & Associates Inc., recipient of the 2006 WPO President's Award in recognition of her many contributions and for introducing the international organization to Canada.

"This Award is given annually to someone who goes above and beyond to help the WPO," said Dr. Marsha Firestone, President, WPO. "Rhona spearheaded the startup of the WPO in Canada and remains on its Advisory Council."

Currently operating her own consulting firm specializing in designing and implementing strategic business relationships for women entrepreneurs, Rhona spent 15 years with the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). "I'm incredibly honoured to receive this award," said Rhona. "That the WPO has thrived here is testimony to the power of women in Canada. I stand in awe of the energy, wisdom and power - both economic and political - of WPO members. They have broken the barriers to show women's achievements have no boundaries."

With 60 chapters, including five in Canada, the WPO brings together women business owners to talk about business and personal issues of interest. Membership is limited to women who run companies with at least $2-million in annual revenue if they produce a product, or $1 million if their business is service oriented. It is different from other women's groups in its use of small, local chapters and professional facilitators who organize meetings and focus the agenda. On average, members in Canada have been in business for 16 years and generate $8.9 million in revenue.

For information on the Women Presidents' Organization, contact Angela Balan (Toronto), 416-762-1990, e-mail abalan@karioss.com or Susan Boland (Montreal), 514-938-9527, e-mail sboland@videotron.ca

(May 2006)

Last Chance…Nominate an Outstanding Woman Today!

July 31, 2006 is the deadline for nominating qualified candidates for the prestigious 2006 RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Awards (CWEA), sponsored by RBC Financial Group. It's well worth it to apply. The awards, which will be presented at a gala ceremony in Toronto on November 21, are a prestigious honour, providing national recognition to Canada's women entrepreneurs whose successful businesses play a pivotal role in the growth of our local, national and global communities. If you would like to nominate yourself or someone else, there's still time. The categories are Momentum, Start-Up, Innovation, Trailblazer, Exporter and Lifetime Achievement.

To increase the scope of the awards, the eligibility criteria have been expanded to recognize the accomplishments of women who have made a significant impact on a company they have purchased:

  • The nominee must own the majority of shares of the company, hold the Senior Executive title and be responsible for the day-to-day management and the financial bottom line of the company. She must be the founder of the business or have had a significant impact on the company if acquired. The business has been registered and operating in Canada for three full years as of May 30, 2006 and must have three complete 12-month periods of financial statements.

"Without sponsors like RBC to celebrate and promote the accomplishments of women entrepreneurs, our stories would not be told," says Andrea Feunekes, President of Remsoft Inc. in Fredericton, New Brunswick and winner of the 2005 Innovation Award.

To nominate yourself or a candidate, visit www.theawards.ca, e-mail: info@powerpointgroup.com or tel: 416-923-1688, toll-free at 1-800-354-3303. If you've already been nominated, now is the time to compile your application. (Application deadline: August 14, 2006). Check here for tips from past winners on how to submit a winning application.

(May 2006)

Get Application Tips for RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Awards

Nominations for the 2006 RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Awards (CWEA) are coming in from across Canada. That's no surprise because it's well worth it to apply. The awards, which will be presented at a gala ceremony in Toronto on November 21, are a prestigious honour, providing national recognition to Canada's women entrepreneurs whose successful businesses play a pivotal role in the growth of our local, national and global communities. If you would like to nominate yourself or someone else, there's still time. The nomination deadline is July 31, 2006.

If you've already been nominated, now is the time to compile your application. (Application deadline: August 14, 2006). And if you are wondering how to go about it, where to start and who can help, here are some tips on finding the resources to assist you in submitting a winning application:

  1. Select the appropriate category Visit www.theawards.ca for award categories, eligibility requirements and information about the selection process and tailor your submission appropriately.

    • "I talked about our innovations in financing, in customer contact, in production and even in human resources." Marianne Bertrand (2002 Innovation winner)
  2. Set aside some time. Decide up front that you are going to reserve time to gather the information and package it strategically. If you do not have the time, consider hiring a freelance writer or professional marketing firm to help you, especially if your expertise is not in marketing.

    • "Set aside enough time to prepare. I spent two days." Lynda Powless, Turtle Island News (2005 Trailblazer winner)
    • "Getting a proper writer and editor is important because you may be too modest in putting forth all the areas in which you are great." Barbara Mowat, Impact Communications Ltd. (1993 Impact on Local Economy winner)
  3. Engage your staff. Get others to help you, especially if your forte is the technical aspect of your business. For example, have your marketing or sales team pull together an overview of your company and its products/services. Past winners have found this to be a double-edged advantage - not only does it enhance the submission, it gets everyone thinking about the company's accomplishments, of which they're a part.

    • "Involve your team. They have different insights and can add beneficial information to the package. Our Marketing Coordinator helped finesse it, our Controller provided the financial info, and our Operations Manager identified risks in business that we've overcome." Sherri Stevens, Stevens Resource Group (2005 RBC Momentum winner)
    • "I sat with my general manager and told her my story, which we taped, and then she did the written submission , based on the recorded story answers to the questions she asked me during our talk." Carol Denman, Atchison & Denman Court Reporting Services Ltd. (1993 Turnaround winner)
  4. Consult with your accountant or banker. If you need help completing the financial data section of the application form, check here for step-by-step instruction. And you can also ask your accountant or banker to help you pull together financial data.

    • "Ask your bank manager what to highlight financially. Getting that financial advice was invaluable." Lynda Powless, Turtle Island News (2005 Trailblazer winner)
  5. Learn from past winners. View the DVD sent with your application form to find out what the 2005 Award winners have to say. And check out the advice from many previous recipients who share more insights on what they did to submit a winning application.

For more information, visit www.rbcroyalbank.com/sme/women/
canadian-women-award.html
or www.theawards.ca,
e-mail: info@powerpointgroup.com or tel: 416-923-1688,
toll-free at 1-800-354-3303.

(April 2006)

Olympian Inspires Quebec Businesswomen

Ann Dow, RBC Olympic athlete, was the keynote speaker for a packed house of some 125 women entrepreneurs at an RBC Financial Group sponsored breakfast in Sainte-Foy, Quebec this spring. Ms. Dow, who competed in the 2000 Sydney Olympics and 2004 Athens Olympics and was a bronze medal winner at the 2002 FINA (Federation Internationale de Natation) championships, proved inspiring.

RBC Financial Group sponsored events in Quebec have included annual participation in the YWCA's Gala Femmes de Mérites along with informative women entrepreneur seminars held in conjunction with the YWCA, and women's breakfast events for the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

For information on upcoming events in the province, contact Judy Goyette, Directrice de comptes, Services aux entreprises - Québec, Tel 418-692-6850 or e-mail to judy.goyette@rbc.com.

(April 2006)

Canadian Clinches International Trade Award

Canada's Andrina Lever - a pioneer and a long-time advocate and champion for the advancement of women's entrepreneurship internationally, both in public policy circles and with respect to access to international markets - is the 2006 recipient of the prestigious Woman of the Year Award presented by the Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT) Andrina is President of Toronto-based Lever Enterprises (aglever@rogers.com), a consulting firm specializing in international trade, finance and commercial development. She is also a founding partner of JIT International Ltd., a UK based not-for-profit firm specializing in assisting and training women entrepreneurs in developing countries and countries in transition.

The OWIT Award is given annually to a woman who has furthered international trade through excellence and innovation and who by doing so has enhanced the status of women in international trade and business. OWIT, a non-profit professional organization designed to promote free trade and the advancement of women in business, has 29 affiliated chapters around the world, including Toronto and Alberta, with over 5,000 active members.

"As part of the founding Board of the first Canadian chapter of OWIT in Toronto in 2000, this honour from OWIT at the international level is very special indeed," says Andrina. "It is a unique organization which brings together women from all over the world in all different sectors who have an interest or stake in international trade. It is important to support organizations like OWIT which can help educate us, create networks for us and in general support us in our businesses."

Andrina has spearheaded and participated in a number of initiatives which were important to underlining the role of businesswomen in the world of international trade as well as identifying their unique policy needs and concerns. Among her accomplishments:

  • founded the Women Leaders Network of APEC, the Women Leaders Network of the Americas and the Commonwealth Businesswomen Leaders Network
  • helped develop policy recommendations to APEC SME Ministers from 1996-2006
  • organized the first Canadian women's trade mission in 1997 to Washington, DC and the 1999 Canada/USA Businesswomen's Trade Summit
  • presented policy recommendations for women entrepreneurs to the OECD in 1997, 2000 and 2004
  • advised on and helped draft the seminal Prime Minister's Task Force Report on Women Entrepreneurs
  • was the Prime Minister's Representative to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Council and is a member of the Trade Minister's SME Advisory Board
  • participates in the Andrina Lever Foundation - established by the mayor of Coquimbo as a result of her work in northern Chile - which provides assistance to women victims of violence and teaches micro-enterprise skills.

The Woman of the Year Award will be presented to Andrina at OWIT's 2006 World Conference in San Francisco this fall. For information, contact Beth Peterson at beth@bethpetersonenterprises.com.

Also, if you know someone in Ontario, including yourself, who should be recognized as a trade advocate for women, consider participating in the nomination process for the 2006 JoAnna Townsend International Trade Award. OWIT-Toronto is on the hunt for nominations for this 3rd annual award to recognize an outstanding woman in Ontario who, through her business and personal networks, fosters opportunities that actively support women entrepreneurs in achieving success in international business. A role model and mentor for women entrepreneurs, this outstanding woman may participate on for-profit and non-profit boards, government committees and/or industry associations that champion the interests of women in business or may be an entrepreneur herself. The award is named in honour of the late JoAnna Townsend, formerly with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, who was instrumental in introducing initiatives to encourage more Canadian women to export.

Nomination deadline: July 31, 2006. For more information,
e-mail susanmogg@rogers.com.

(April 2006)

Seeking Successful Woman Exporter for National Award

An exciting addition to the 2006 RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Awards (CWEA) categories this year is The Business Development Bank (BDC) Exporter Award. This will be given to a woman who has a profitable business in a global marketplace and has increased sales significantly by developing international markets for her products and/or services. The recipient must provide evidence that at least 30% of her company sales come from outside Canada and demonstrate consistent year over year growth in international sales over the past three fiscal years.

The other categories are: RBC Momentum Award, Start-Up, Innovation, Trailblazer, and Lifetime Achievement.

It's well worth it to apply. The awards, which will be presented at a gala ceremony in Toronto on November 16, are a prestigious honour, providing national recognition to Canada's women entrepreneurs whose successful businesses play a pivotal role in the growth of our local, national and global communities.

"Without sponsors like RBC to celebrate and promote the accomplishments of women entrepreneurs, our stories would not be told," says Andrea Feunekes, President of Remsoft Inc. in Fredericton, New Brunswick and winner of the 2005 Innovation Award.

Nomination Deadline: July 31, 2006
Application Deadline: August 14, 2006 (All nominees will be sent a package.)

To nominate yourself or a candidate, visit www.theawards.ca, e-mail: info@powerpointgroup.com or tel: 416-923-1688, toll-free at 1-800-354-3303.
Check here for tips from past winners on how to submit a winning application. And watch here for more exciting news about the Awards in the months ahead.

(March 2006)

New Book Sheds Light on Growth in Women's Entrepreneurship

Today, there are 850,000 women entrepreneurs in Canada. And by the year 2010, that number is expected to jump to one million. In her new book, Female Enterprise in the New Economy, Karen D. Hughes, Associate Professor in the School of Business and Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta, explores the reasons behind the dramatic rise of women entrepreneurs and the impact this social phenomenon has on Canadian society and its economy.

Speaking at a launch reception in Toronto hosted by Women Entrepreneurs of Canada (WEC), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to facilitating and championing women entrepreneurship, Karen offered these insights gleaned from her research, which included statistical analysis, interviews and other sources:

  • Women entrepreneurs are one of the hardest working groups in Canada's economy - they work 20% more than any other group. At the same time, women entrepreneurs have very high job satisfaction - 85.7% compared to 68.2% for women employees in organizations.
  • The key motivations for women to become entrepreneurs include a desire for independence, work-family balance and flexibility, challenge and more money, although this is not a huge motivator for many women. Compared to men, they are far more motivated by a desire for work-family balance.
  • There is enormous diversity in terms of types of women entrepreneurs, including "necessity entrepreneurs", solo entrepreneurs, business moms and more classic entrepreneurs who are highly growth-oriented.
  • Finding time for self is one of the biggest challenges, especially for start-ups and high-growth oriented women entrepreneurs. Income security is a challenge for some, but overall women entrepreneurs feel more secure than employees.
  • Many women, particularly younger women, are moving into non-traditional sectors and the creative economy, such as new media and high tech.

"On balance, the rewards outweigh the downsides for most women entrepreneurs," explains Karen. "There are wonderful opportunities to create challenge, meaning and control, so women entrepreneurs will continue to grow and diversify." The challenges women will face in the future will be balancing this growth with quality of life and managing excess hours and demands. "There are enormous upsides in terms of the kinds of work women are creating. They are a unique feature in the Canadian economy."

For more information, contact Karen Hughes at karen.hughes@ualberta.ca. Check here for more details on the book.

(March 2006)

Nominations Open for Canada's Top 100 Women Business Owners

PROFIT: Your Guide to Business Success magazine is calling for nominations for its 8th annual PROFIT W100: Canada's Top Women Entrepreneurs ranking of the country's most successful female entrepreneurs based on company revenue. Results of the survey, with stories profiling women business leaders, are published in the November issue of PROFIT, providing national publicity.

The W100 helps illustrate the contribution women entrepreneurs make to the Canadian economy. Last year's group employed close to 14,000 full- and part-time employees and each entrepreneur generated, on average, revenue of $25.6 million in her last fiscal year.

Nomination deadline: June 30, 2006.

For more information, contact PROFIT toll-free at 1-800-713-GROW (4769).

(March 2006)

Detailed Profile of Canadian Women Entrepreneurs Released

A special issue of the Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship represents the most comprehensive profile of women entrepreneurs in Canadian history. Focusing on gender, training and entrepreneurship, it showcases 14 papers from Canadian and American scholars. The studies document the varied nature of women's entrepreneurship, including the diversity in start-up motives, firm size, structure, capitalization, performance and learning. "As Canada is recognized as a leader in women's enterprise development, we anticipate that this publication will be of interest to women business owners, academics, service providers and policy makers from around the world," says the special issue editorial team.

A joint initiative of the University of Ottawa School of Management, Carleton University Sprott School of Business and the University of Regina Faculty of Business Administration, the project was undertaken to provide new insights and knowledge about women business owners following the 2003 Prime Minister's Task Force on Women Entrepreneurs and the 2004 Canadian research and policy conference, Sustaining the Momentum: An Economic Forum on Women Entrepreneurs. These important initiatives increased awareness of the important contributions women business owners make to the Canadian and global economy and highlighted the need for more quality research about women entrepreneurs.

Topics covered in the special issue include:

  • An Industry Canada synopsis about the performance, distribution, capitalization and obstacles to the growth of majority women- and male-owned firms, documenting significant gender differences in key aspects of business ownership;
  • An examination of the association between motives for self-employment and financial outcomes of business ownership;
  • Access to capital for women entrepreneurs, dispelling a number of Canadian myths, such as the fact that gender of the SME ownership team does not affect either loan turndown rates or rates of loan application;
  • The structure, challenges and outcomes of two gender-specific training initiatives - the Women Enterprise Initiative, a Western Canadian training program, and the US Women's Business Center Initiative. which are effective in supporting emerging and early-stage women-owned firms.

"This is the largest research project on women entrepreneurs in Canadian history and we hope that the findings will assist business owners in the decision to start and grow their firms," say guest editors Dr. Barbara Orser, Deloitte Chair in the Management of Growth Enterprises, School of Management, University of Ottawa, and Dr. Judith Madill, Professor of Marketing, Sprott School of Business, Carleton University. "That said, much remains to be done. We hope that this issue will further motivate researchers to undertake studies about women entrepreneurs; business owners to continue voicing their concerns to private and government service providers; and policy makers to ensure that all programs and policies include the participation of women entrepreneurs."

Contact Dr. Barbara Orser at orser@management.uottawa.ca, Dr. Judith Madill at judith_madill@carleton.ca, or Dr. Robert Anderson, Managing Editor, The Journal of Small Business and Entrepreneurship, Faculty of Administration, University of Regina at jsbe@uregina.ca for more information.

(February 2006)

Quebec Extends Maternity Leave Benefits to Self-Employed

Self-employed women in Quebec are the first of their counterparts in Canada to have access to maternity benefits, as the province broke new ground earlier this year by expanding its parental leave program. Having opted out of the federal Employment Insurance (EI) program for special EI benefits such as maternity, adoption and parental leave, Quebec offers a basic or special plan to self-employed women who are now required to contribute to the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP). Premiums are calculated based on annual insurable income.

In terms of the length of their leave, mothers can choose from a Basic Plan with a benefit period of 18 weeks or a Special Plan with 15 weeks, receiving 70% of their average gross weekly income if they choose the former and 75% if the latter. In addition, under expanded parental insurance, parents can choose a benefit period of 32 weeks or 25 weeks. Since these benefits may be taken by one parent or shared between them, a mother could receive benefits for 50 weeks under the basic plan. Maximum insurable earnings under QPIP will be adjusted annually starting in 2006 at $57,000, compared to $39,000 under the federal EI program. Further, there is no two week waiting period for QPIP like there is under EI.

Because the 2003 Report of the Prime Minister's Task Force on Women Entrepreneurs ranked lack of access to maternity benefits high as a barrier for self-employed women , Quebec's move and progress in this area are being watched by public policy experts focusing on businesswomen. "I think Quebec is certainly attempting to support entrepreneurial women. The province is working hard to provide resources and support by increasing options for self-employed women that reduce the stress associated with trying to manage work and family," says Nora Spinks, President of Work-Life Harmony Enterprises, which specializes in training, research and consulting in work-life policy for governments, employers and communities. "It will take a year to find out how many women entrepreneurs in Quebec take advantage of the program. We will be monitoring the situation closely and conducting polls and surveys."

For more information, contact Nora Spinks at 416-497-8942 or nspinks@worklifeharmony.ca.

(February 2006)

Women's Association Moving in a New Direction

Women Entrepreneurs of Canada (WEC), a not-for-profit association providing resources, support and networking, is repositioning itself with the objective of strengthening the voice of women entrepreneurs in the Canadian business landscape.

Based on the needs expressed by its membership and research undertaken over the last several years by academic institutions and government, such as the 2003 Prime Minister's Task Force on Women Entrepreneurs, WEC's new goals include:

  • Creating a comprehensive policy platform that encompasses all of the major issues that pertain to the needs of women entrepreneurs in Canada, from access to capital through to access to childcare and maternity/paternity benefits;
  • Investing in, promoting and facilitating research into women's entrepreneurship that focuses on discovering models of success for women;
  • Organizing two anchor high-profile events each year, starting with this spring's "Think Big: Creating Sustainable Growth" conference, co-presented with the Rotman School of Management and sponsored in part by RBC Dominion Securities, which will feature workshops with top entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and business leaders.

"With women opening four out of five new businesses and tripling the rate at which they have opened them over the last 20 years, they are clearly embracing entrepreneurship and there is a need for a unified voice and the enunciation of a new vision and appreciation of self-employment," explains Ruth Bastedo, President. "WEC will move towards becoming the pre-eminent forum for women entrepreneurs to express themselves in the Canadian economy. We will also strive to consolidate the different services offered in the community and have WEC act as a portal."

For more information about WEC, call 1-866-207-4439 or email wec@wec.ca.

(February 2006)

Special Workshop Series Part of Prestigious Awards Program

RBC Financial Group is enhancing its sponsorship of the 2006 RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Awards (CWEA) by partnering with the Business Development Bank (BDC) to offer a series of cross-Canada seminars this spring, designed for women entrepreneurs who are ready to grow to the next level. The Accelerating Growth for Women Entrepreneurs workshops will provide opportunities to learn about topics like financial growth, HR planning, marketing and exporting, to hear the success stories of other women entrepreneurs, to network and to meet community resource people who can support you during your business growth process. There will also be a reception to celebrate the recipients of the RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Awards.

"We’re delighted to provide a forum to support the successful expansion of women-led firms," says Kristina Depencier. "RBC has had a long-term commitment to help women grow their businesses. These workshops are one more way that we can provide practical, hands-on assistance to our customers."

The workshops are planned for the following:

  • Toronto – Thursday, April 20, 2006
  • Halifax – Tuesday April 25, 2006
  • Montreal – Wednesday April 26, 2006
  • Vancouver – Monday May 8, 2006
  • Winnipeg – Wednesday May 10, 2006

Contact the Powerpoint Group at 416-923-1688 or 1 800- 354-3303 or visit www.powerpointgroup.com for details and to register. All participants will receive a special DVD featuring vignettes of the 2005 RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Awards’ winners and their business advice.

And a reminder to submit nominations for the 2006 RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Awards. They will be presented at a gala ceremony in Toronto on November 16, representing the biggest and most prestigious honour for women business owners across the country. The deadline for nominations is July 31, 2006.

Previous recipients say it’s well worth it to apply. Winning one of these awards has boosted their profile and market presence and opened the door to new business opportunities. There are other benefits, too. "Initially I did not want to apply, but was encouraged by others and, after receiving the award, realized how important it was to everybody in the company to be recognized for what we have accomplished together," explains Andrea Feunekes, President of Remsoft Inc. in Fredericton, New Brunswick and winner of the 2005 Innovation Award. "Without sponsors like RBC to celebrate and promote the accomplishments of women entrepreneurs, our stories would not be told. The winners are not only role models for women, but also demonstrate to everyone that it’s possible to be a high tech or other kind of unique and interesting company in the middle of nowhere, not just in a big city."

"It’s fabulous that RBC sponsors these awards that really get to the grassroots," echoes Lynda Powless, owner of Turtle Island News in Ohsweken, Ontario, and the 2005 Trailblazer winner. "The awards are so positive and uplifting for women, including minority women."

To nominate yourself or a candidate, visit www.theawards.ca, e-mail: info@powerpointgroup.com or tel: 416-923-1688, toll-free at 1-800-354-3303.

(February 2006)

Entrepreneurs Tap into new Quebec Women’s Center

Over 100 women have already completed training programs offered by the Women Entrepreneurial Center of Quebec (WECQ), based in Montreal, which celebrated its official opening in December. Attracting over 300 people, the launch event featured The Honourable Eleni Bakopanos, then Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Social Development, who offered congratulations on behalf of the Prime Minister.

"The Center is really filling a need," says Nicole Beaudoin, President and CEO of WECQ. "Women of all ages and at all stages of business development – even those who want to start a business – are taking advantage of the training, mentoring and coaching." With a staff of 10 and three full-time teachers, the Center’s one-stop service provides access to up-to-date information on existing programs and services, skills upgrading through training programs, one-on-one mentoring, and seminars and workshops on business management for all phases of business – pre-start-up, start-up, growth or expansion.

Another top objective of the not-for-profit organization, supported by Canada Economic Development, is to collect and analyze socio-economic data on women entrepreneurship, which will be published by business school HEC Montreal’s Professor Louise St-Cyr, Chair, SME Development and Succession. Over the next three years, she will follow the progress of 50 of the women who completed the Center’s initial training program.

For more information about the Center and its activities, call toll free 1-866-521-5733.

(January 2006)

Number of Women Entrepreneurs on the Rise – U.S.

Recent statistics released by the U.S. Census Bureau indicate that women started businesses at twice the national rate during the five-year period between 1997 and 2002. By the end of 2002, 6.5 million of all non-farm businesses were owned by women, representing a 20% increase in women-owned businesses. The majority of these were single-person enterprises, but women-owned businesses with more US$1 million rose by 18% and those with more than 100 employees rose by 10%.

Another study, recently released by the Center for Women’s Business Research, "Women-Owned Firms Doing Business Without Employees: A Growing Economic Force," examined women-owned firms without employees in the U.S. during the period of 1997 to 2004. Findings included:

  • The fastest growth rates for women-owned firms without employees are in the fields of agricultural services (29%), construction (27%) and transportation, communications and public utilities (26%), which are historically male-dominated.
  • The revenues for women-owned firms without employees grew 66% compared to 42% for all firms without employees.
  • In the U.S., 75% of all firms do not have employees and 81% of women-owned firms are without employees.
  • Currently, women-owned firms without employees generate US$167 billion in sales and make up 32% of all firms with no employees.

For information about the Center for Women’s Business Research report, call 202-638-3060, ext. 10, or e-mail info@womensbusinessresearch.org.

(January 2006)

Seeking Successful Woman Entrepreneurs for Prestigious Awards

Nominations for qualified candidates are now open for the 2006 RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Awards (CWEA). "RBC Financial Group is pleased to be the lead sponsor of these preeminent awards once again," says Kris Depencier, National Manager, Small Business and Women's Markets. "We were delighted with the record-high participation of so many women across Canada last year and look forward to even more nominees in 2006."

Nomination Deadline: July 31, 2006
Application Deadline: August 14, 2006 (All nominees will be sent a package.)
Eligibility: Any woman who owns a profitable business (not a franchise) that has been registered and operating in Canada for three full years as of May 31, 2006, earns her primary income from it and is responsible for its day-to-day management. Nominated businesses must have three complete 12-month periods of financial statements.

It's well worth it to apply. The awards, which will be presented at a gala ceremony in Toronto on November 16, are the biggest and most prestigious honour for women business owners across the country, providing national recognition to Canada's women entrepreneurs whose successful businesses play a pivotal role in the growth of our local, national and global communities.

Previous recipients say that winning one of these awards has boosted their profile and market presence and opened the door to new business opportunities. As a result of winning the inaugural 2005 RBC Momentum Award, Sherri Stevens, Founder & President of Stevens Resource Group in Woodstock, Ontario, has already been honoured by a local Chamber of Commerce and received an Award of Excellence from the Mayor. "It's great that RBC is recognizing the achievements of women entrepreneurs with these awards because there are so many of us out here and we're making great strides in the business arena," she says. "I have had a whole series of speaking engagements since the announcement and have done many media interviews," adds 2005 Bell Trailblazer Award winner Lynda Powless, owner of Turtle Island News Publications in Ohsweken, Ontario,

Since 1992 when the awards were launched, many RBC clients have been nominated and honoured. They are among the 76 winners to date recognized for outstanding entrepreneurial achievement in the areas of Start-Up, Innovation, Momentum (sponsored by RBC), Trailblazer, and Lifetime Achievement. Initially, most of the businesses nominated were small, but today their revenues range from $250,000 to over $500 million.

The 2005 awards and winners included: RBC Momentum Award - Sherri Stevens, Stevens Resource Group Inc., Woodstock, ON; Deloitte Start-Up Award - Sharon McNamara, Kiln Art, Chester Basin, NS; Intel Innovation Award - Andrea Feunekes, Remsoft Inc., Fredericton, NB; Bell Trailblazer Award - Lynda Powless, Turtle Island News Publications, Ohsweken, ON; and Energy Savings Group of Companies Lifetime Achievement Award - Wendy McDonald, BC Bearing Engineers Limited, Burnaby, B.C.

To nominate yourself or a candidate, visit www.theawards.ca, e-mail: info@powerpointgroup.com or tel: 416-923-1688, toll-free at 1-800-354-3303. And watch here for more exciting news about the Awards in the months ahead.

(December 2005)

International Women's Day Activities Planned

Canadians will celebrate International Women's Week from Sunday, March 5, to Saturday, March 11, 2006, with the highlight being International Women's Day on March 8. The Canadian theme is "Beyond Laws: The Right to be Me" which addresses women's rights and diversity.

Mark your calendars. A wide range of organizations across the country, such as Canadian Women's Foundation, LEAF (Women's Legal Education and Action Fund), Women Entrepreneurs of Canada (WEC), and Réseau des femmes d'affaires du Québec (RFAQ) - and the world - will mark the occasion with special events. Also, the Canadian Association of Women Executives & Entrepreneurs' (CAWEE) gala celebration of its selection of the ExtraOrdinary Woman of the Year will be held in conjunction with International Women's Day. Contact CAWEE at tel: 416-756-0000, email: info@cawee.net for details.

The idea of a day for women, celebrated all over the world, began in the early part of the 20th century in North America and Europe in recognition of the women's rights movement and achieving universal suffrage for women. In December 1977, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women's Rights and International Peace. This year marks the 25th anniversary of Canada's ratification of the most comprehensive international treaty on women's rights, the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.

Information on International Women's Day events will be posted on our Calendar of Events as it becomes available.

(December 2005)

New Scholarship Awarded

Carleton University's Sprott School of Business student Alison Walsh has been named the winner of the first JoAnna Townsend International Business Award, a new scholarship given annually to exceptional Sprott Bachelor of International Business students who intend to pursue their third year of study in Central or South America. Alison is a member of the Dean's Honour Roll, has consistently excelled in international business and Spanish studies, and demonstrates a spirit of community commitment through volunteer work at Calgary's Women's Centre and Providence Children's Centre. The award will help support her undergraduate studies at Universidad Adolfo Ibanez,Vina del Mar, Chile.

Established in 2005, the award is named after a highly-respected champion of women entrepreneurs and exporters, JoAnna Townsend, former Director of the Small and Medium Enterprises Division, Department of Foreign Affairs & International Trade, who passed away in Ottawa in January 2004. The criteria include academic excellence, demonstrated community contributions and interests in entrepreneurship and/or equity issues.

To date, over $75,000.00 has been raised toward the scholarship. For more information, contact Rebecca Murray, Carleton University's Development and Alumni office at (613) 520-2600 ext. 4137 or rebecca_murray@carleton.ca.

In addition to this scholarship, the JoAnna Townsend Award is presented annually by the Organization of Women in International Trade-Toronto (OWIT-Toronto). This award recognizes an outstanding woman in Ontario who, through her business and personal networks, creates opportunities that help women exporters achieve success in international business.

(December 2005)

Priorities Differ Between Women and Men Entrepreneurs

While Canadian women are starting more businesses than ever before, their reasons for doing so are not just about money. According to a recent RBC survey, conducted by Ipsos-Reid, access to a more flexible working schedule is a greater motivator for women entrepreneurs (63%) than men (51%). In addition, women are less likely than men (51% versus 59%) to start a business because they want to be their own boss. As well, women are more likely to employ a spouse (43 versus 37%) or a child (16 versus 10%) and to be first-time business owners (73% versus 65%).

At the same time, the study revealed little difference in the challenges faced by entrepreneurs regardless of their gender. Virtually equal numbers of male and female entrepreneurs listed their three main challenges faced when starting up a business as: finding clients (57% for women/56% for men); keeping a steady workload (37% for women/38% for men); and working long hours (34% for both genders).

"Women in Canada are turning to self-employment and pursuing their career dreams at unprecedented levels," says Kris Depencier, RBC Royal Bank's National Manager, Small Business & Women's Markets. "Since 1981, the number of women entrepreneurs has increased by over 200%. They are choosing to become entrepreneurs in all major industries and are responsible for starting the majority of all new businesses in Canada."

Survey findings are from an Ipsos-Reid/RBC Royal Bank poll conducted in August 2005. For the survey, invitations were sent to a representative sample of Canadian adults 18 years of age or older, resulting in 2,380 completed online interviews among entrepreneurs and 1,661 completed online interviews among aspiring entrepreneurs.

For more information, visit www.rbc.com/newsroom/20051123sme.html or contact Judi Levita at (416) 974-8810.

(November 2005)

Top 100 Women-owned Businesses Deliver the Goods

The seventh W100 ranking of top Canadian women business owners (by revenue) compiled by PROFIT magazine shows that women build not only innovative, thriving businesses, but growing businesses. This year's group employs close to 14,000 full- and part-time employees and each entrepreneur generated, on average, revenue of $25.6 million in her last fiscal year. And, 92 of the 100 generated a net profit. When asked to name the factors contributing most to their success, 78% of W100 winners cited a top-notch product or service, 68% credited their ability to attract and retain a motivated workforce and 48% named sales and marketing. An inspiring 73% of the W100 believe they've achieved work/life balance, suggesting that entrepreneurs can have it all.

Congratulations once again to Rebecca MacDonald, CEO of Energy Savings Income Fund, who, for the third year in a row ranked number 1 on the list with revenues over $933 million, a growth of 26% over last year. Kudos also to Sandra Wilson, President of Robeez Footwear, number 27 on the list, who has seen an astonishing three-year revenue growth rate of 1,200%.

Details of Canada's Top 100 Women Business Owners are found in the November 2005 issue of the magazine or contact PROFIT at profit@profit.rogers.com for more information.

(November 2005)

Women Business Organizations Expand

The Women Presidents' Organization is increasing its Canadian presence with the launch of a Montreal chapter. Membership is open to women who run companies with at least $2-million in annual revenue if they manufacture products, or $1 million if their business is service oriented.

The Women Presidents' Organization, a not-for-profit membership organization with 54 chapters in the U.S. and Canada, including the new Montreal chapter and three in Toronto, brings together women business owners to exchange ideas - both business and personal - in a think-tank style. It is different from other women's groups in its use of small, local chapters and professional facilitators who organize meetings and focus the agenda. Each chapter caps its membership at about 20 people, with the average member running a business with US$12 million in annual revenues. Membership fees are US$1,500.

For information about joining the Montreal chapter, contact WPO Facilitator Susan Boland at e-mail: sboland@videotron.ca or tel: (514) 938-9527, and for the Toronto chapters, contact Angela Balan, WPO Facilitator, at e-mail: abalan@karioss.com or tel: (416) 762-1990.

Building on its success in the Oakville/Burlington, Ontario area, Company of Women launched a Toronto chapter this fall. Founded in 2003, Company of Women has attracted 300 members to date from across the greater Toronto area.

"Our goal is to establish a community of women who support each other professionally and personally," explains founder Anne Day. The Company of Women reports that an average of 150 women attend its dinners. In addition, the organization has:

For information about Company of Women, contact Anne Day at (905) 338-1771 or anneday@companyofwomen.ca.

(November 2005)

Atlantic Women Entrepreneurs Sign New Business Deals in Boston

A group of new women exporters participating in a trade mission to Boston in November 2005 returned home with signed deals, strong business leads and valuable in-market experience. The first Women Exporters' Initiative, organized by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and the Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters, was led by Senator Catherine Callbeck.

The highlight of the mission was the business meetings organized by a matchmaker. Each of the 16 participants had up to six meetings with potential clients. They were also introduced to local networks of women business owners and exporters, as well as officials from the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and other business organizations.

"Exporting plays a critical role in a growth strategy. The participants are not only coming back to Atlantic Canada with the market experience they need to increase their trade activities, but also with new export sales," says the Honourable Joseph McGuire, Minister of ACOA. "Congratulations to all participants who made this mission a great success."

The women business owners will now receive after-care support from ACOA representatives and mentors who will help them effectively integrate an export strategy into their businesses.

For more information about ACOA and its initiatives, call toll free 1-800-561-7862 or e-mail Rose-Marie LeBlanc at rose-marie.leblanc@acoa-apeca.gc.ca.

(October 2005)

Canada's Most Powerful Women Celebrated at Summit

Winners of the 3rd Annual Canada's Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Awards were announced recently at a Summit in Toronto that saw participants get a fresh approach to professional development while networking with the Top 100 female achievers in the country. Under the leadership of the Women's Executive Network (WXN), The Top 100 Awards are a symbol of the success women have attained and represent a unique array of proven achievers from many walks of life.

Congratulations go to RBC Royal Bank client Rossana Magnotta, President and Co-founder, Magnotta Winery Corporation, honoured in the Entrepreneurs category for the second year in a row. RBC Royal Bank is proud that three of our executives were honoured in the Corporate Executives category: Elisabetta Bigsby, Group Head, Implementation Office and Human Resources; Janice Fukakusa, Chief Financial Officer; and Barbara Stymiest, Chief Operating Officer.

These awards recognize exceptional women in seven categories:

  1. Entrepreneurs - Women who own and operate Canada's largest businesses, in descending order of sales revenue and regional population size;
  2. Corporate Executives - Women who hold the most senior position of any woman in Canada's largest publicly traded and privately owned companies in descending order of sales revenue, provided that the position is at or higher than the level of senior vice-president;
  3. Public Sector Leaders - Women who occupy the most senior position in a government department, ministry or university, municipality, hospital or regional health authority, in descending order of operating budget;
  4. Trailblazers - Women who are the first in their fields and/or have made a great contribution to Canadian society;
  5. Professionals - Women professionals in practice who play a senior leadership role within their organizations;
  6. Champions - Women who have made a distinct and describable difference to the advancement of women in the Canadian workplace by either helping to achieve greater opportunities for women in traditional careers or acting as "agents of change" on a national level; and,
  7. Future Leaders (new this year) - Exceptional young women who have distinguished themselves early in their careers, and who show tremendous potential to continue making their mark in years to come. Women in this category are recognized not only for achieving early success, but also for demonstrating poise, maturity, vision and leadership in the pursuit of their dreams.

In addition, each nominee was also measured by her community contributions.

For more about the Top 100 Awards and the Women's Executive Network, call 1-866-465-3996 or e-mail Pamela Jeffery at pjeffery@wxnetwork.com.

(October 2005)

Nominate an Extraordinary Woman

Nominees are being sought for The Canadian Association of Women Executives and Entrepreneurs (CAWEE) Extraordinary Woman of the Year Award 2006. The Award is presented to one extraordinary woman each year in recognition of her dedication to herself and other women in their pursuit of personal, professional and financial achievement. Last year's winner was Marnie Walker, Founder of Student Express Ltd.

The criteria for candidate submissions are:

  • Encourages and mentors women in their career goals
  • Encourages and assists women in achieving personal life goals (eg. financial, family, health, talents)
  • Participates actively in the community on issues that affect women
  • Makes personal sacrifices in the process of assisting other women

The nomination deadline is January 3, 2006. For further information, contact CAWEE at tel: 416-756-0000, email: info@cawee.net.

(October 2005)

2005 RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Award Winners Selected

Winners of this year's prestigious RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Awards (CWEA) - sponsored for the first time by RBC Financial Group - were announced and feted at a gala ceremony in their honour in Toronto on November 22. The preeminent awards provide national recognition to Canada's women entrepreneurs, whose successful businesses play a pivotal role in the growth of our local, national and global communities. Here are the five outstanding women selected from a record 564 nominations received from across Canada this year:

  • RBC Momentum Award - to Sherri Stevens, Stevens Resource Group Inc., Woodstock, ON - From a one-person company 15 years ago, Sherri has expanded this temporary and permanent staffing service to seven branches throughout southwestern Ontario. A firm believer in empowering employees, she and her team have created a flexible and responsive business that readily adapts to changing market environments and exploits opportunities for continued growth.
  • Deloitte Start-Up Award - to Sharon McNamara, Kiln Art, Chester Basin, NS - Through thoughtful market investigating and thorough planning, this self-taught artist has turned her talent into a successful business in just five years, producing one-of-a-kind glass tableware she sells at trade and consumer shows and at her two retail stores.
  • Intel Innovation Award - to Andrea Feunekes, Remsoft Inc., Fredericton, NB - Seeing a gap in the technology available for the forest industry to correctly assess needs and plan for future harvesting, reforesting, and other forest management activities, Andrea developed revolutionary software that addressed these needs. Under her guidance, Remsoft has grown from a start-up with a handful of clients in 1992 into the world's leading developer and supplier of software and services for sustainable forest management.
  • Bell Trailblazer Award - to Lynda Powless, Turtle Island News Publications, Ohsweken, ON - Lynda is publisher and editor of the only national native weekly newspaper in Canada, bringing aboriginal issues to the forefront for some 10,000 readers. Facing considerable adversity, Lynda has broken new ground in her incisive approach to covering aboriginal news across the country and her challenge to aboriginal politicians to be accountable for their actions.
  • Energy Savings Group of Companies Lifetime Achievement Award - to Wendy McDonald, BC Bearing Engineers Limited, Burnaby, B.C. - Wendy has grown what was originally a small machine shop into an international distributor of bearings, power transmission components and fluid power with sales exceeding $200 million annually. A true pioneer, she overcame many gender obstacles and convinced bankers, suppliers and even some within the company that, as a woman in a "man's" business, she could build and run a successful enterprise.

"These women and their achievements represent the best in entrepreneurship in this country," says Kristina Depencier, RBC's National Manager, Small Business and Women's Markets. "They stand as role models for both women and men who are striving to succeed in today's businesses environment. RBC is proud to have the opportunity to help celebrate these remarkable women."

Since the awards were launched in the early '90s, over 5,000 women have been nominated, including many RBC clients, and close to 100 Canadian women entrepreneurs have been presented with an award in that time. "We were overwhelmed by the success of this year's program," says Pat Pape, President of the Powerpoint Group Inc., producers of the awards. "The number of nominations and applications grew tremendously and there was much greater representation from right across Canada than ever before!"

Watch for more next month on the winners and their secrets to success. To learn more about the Awards, visit www.theawards.ca, e-mail: info@powerpointgroup.com or tel: 416-923-1688, toll-free at 1-800-354-3303.

(September 2005)

Women Starting Single-owner Enterprises on the Rise in the U.S.

In terms of the number of businesses, gross revenues and net income, U.S. female-owned sole proprietorships (single owner enterprises) grew grown much faster than their male-owned counterparts between 1985-2000, according to a recent report from the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Highlights of the findings include:

  • Nearly two-thirds of female sole proprietors are in the services industry.
  • Growth opportunities for women-owned businesses are in transportation, communications and utilities, while agricultural services, forestry and fishing are the main growth areas for male-owned sole proprietorships.
  • The types of businesses in which both genders are active also reflect gender segregation: "carpentry and miscellaneous trade contractors" were dominated by male-operated sole proprietorships; while "beauty shops" and "child day care" were dominated by women business owners.

An underlying message to women entrepreneurs is to reach out in their counterparts' territory. Male-owned sole proprietors operated larger businesses; but the SBA report states that a "higher proportion of total gross receipts are more evenly distributed among medium-sized women-owned sole proprietorships."

The report, U.S. Sole Proprietorships: A Gender Comparison, 1985-2000, Small Business Research Summary, September 2005, was published by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), Office of Advocacy. For more information, e-mail the SBA at advocacy@sba.gov or tel: 202- 205-6533.

(September 2005)

Fashion Industry Advocate Clinches Export Award

The Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT) - Toronto, has honoured Susan Langdon, Executive Director of the Toronto Fashion Incubator (TFI), with this year's JoAnna Townsend Award. The award, supported by International Trade Canada, Industry Canada's Network for Women Entrepreneurs, Export Development Canada, Hodgson Russ, Ann Wylie Toal Designs and CMI Cosmetic Manufacturers Inc., recognizes an outstanding woman in Ontario who, through her business and personal networks, fosters opportunities that actively support women entrepreneurs to achieve success in international business. It was presented at a ceremony in Toronto on September 20, sponsored by Grant Thornton LLP.

"Winning the award was a completely unexpected but delightful surprise," said Susan. "I am very honoured to be recognized in memory of an incredible woman."

Susan was selected for her outstanding contributions in encouraging Canadian fashion designers to enter the international trade arena. Through one-on-one private consultations and by sharing her extensive knowledge, advice and contacts in foreign markets, she has educated and encouraged TFI's young entrepreneurs, many of whom are women aged 18 to 39, to sell south of the border. She maintains regular contact with business development officers in Canadian Consulates around the world, and with their help, has organized new vendor auditions in Toronto for major U.S. retailers. In addition, educational seminars and news articles developed by Susan share knowledge on topics such as Exporting to the United States, U.S. Trade Shows, and International Brand Development.

The award honours the memory of JoAnna Townsend, a champion of women exporters. In her role with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (now International Trade Canada), Ms. Townsend was instrumental in introducing many initiatives to encourage more Canadian women to export and spearheaded the groundbreaking Beyond Borders report, the first research of its kind in the world on women and their role in international trade.

Award finalists included Robin Kay, President, Fashion Design Council of Canada, Barbara Orser, President, Equinox Management Consultants Inc., and Co-Holder, Deloitte Chair in the Management of Growth Enterprises, University of Ottawa, and Deborah Turnbull, Vice President, International Trade Development, Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters.

The Organization of Women in International Trade - with chapters around the world - is dedicated to advancing global trade opportunities for women. For information about OWIT-Toronto, contact Amanda de Vogel at amanda.devogel@sympatico.ca, and for OWIT-Alberta, contact Karin Simpson at karin@owitalberta.org.

(August 2005)

"Gender Intelligent" Survey Ranks Best Companies

Results are in from a survey that asked Canadian women to consider 14 industry sectors and which companies made the best effort to meet the needs of women consumers. This third annual survey, The Thomas Yaccato Report: Women Consumers Speak Out, conducted earlier this year, was distributed online to the members of The Women's Executive Network (WXN), a national by invitation-only network of 10,000 women executives in a variety of industries from the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors as well as successful entrepreneurs.

RBC Financial Group achieved top ranking in the Banking category. In the Investment Companies and Property & Casualty Insurance categories, RBC Dominion Securities and RBC General Insurance each ranked second, respectively. Here is a quick snapshot of top standings in other categories:

  • Home Furnishing: IKEA
  • Automotive: Honda
  • Grocery Stores: Loblaws
  • Computer/Technology: Dell
  • Drug Stores: Shoppers Drug Mart
  • Home Electronics: Future Shop
  • Home Improvement: Home Depot

Company rankings were assessed based on industry-specific responses to questions such as: "What one retail store in the women's clothing sector do you think best meets the needs of women consumers?". According to the researchers, in order to successfully meet the needs of women consumers, companies must incorporate four fundamentals into how they do business: be intelligent about gender differences; communicate intelligent and relevant information; recognize that women live multidimensional lives; and be a company that lives its corporate soul.

The survey came from The Thomas Yaccato Group's Gender Intelligence LabTM, which is Canada's first gender-based market research tool. The purpose of The Lab is to provide companies with the 'gender lens' needed to develop products, services, and business strategies that capture the attention and loyalty of women consumers.

For more information, contact The Thomas Yaccato Group at 416-367-3677, e-mail insight@tyg.ca.

(August 2005)

New Federal Government Office to Assist SMEs with Procurement

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) wishing to do business with the government have a new resource from Public Works and Government Services Canada. The Office of Small and Medium Enterprises (OSME) will assist companies as they navigate the government procurement system and will also endeavour to ensure the procurement system treats SMEs fairly and equally. Its mandate and functions include:

  • Helping SMEs comply with and understand the government's procurement processes;
  • Acting as an ombudsman for SMEs;
  • Organizing special events in order to help SMEs;
  • Scheduling information sessions in partnership with chambers of commerce and various SME associations.
  • Analyzing SME access to and performance in government business;
  • Reviewing SME participation on all major crown procurements (over $10m);
  • Participating on the new government commodity councils to develop more effective procurement strategies; and,
  • Proposing improvements to procurement processes.

The OSME will also work with business organizations to share information on forming joint ventures to access major government contracts.

In addition, the following free seminars are available to SMEs across Canada:

  • How to Do Business with the Federal Government, which provides information on how to market to the federal government, how the government does its buying, and how to keep track of opportunities to bid on Canadian government purchases.
  • Writing an Effective Proposal, providing an understanding of what is in a Request for Proposal (RFP), how bids are evaluated and how you should respond to an RFP.

For more information and seminar dates and locations, contact the OSME at 1-800-811-1148, e-mail osme@pwgsc.gc.ca.

(August 2005)

Join Celebration to Honour Exceptional Women

Winners of this year's prestigious 2005 RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Awards (CWEA) - sponsored for the first time by RBC Financial Group - will be announced and feted at a gala ceremony in Toronto on November 22. "RBC is delighted to be part of this exciting and always inspiring event that will honour truly outstanding women and role models from right across Canada," says Kristina Depencier, National Manager, Small Business & Women's Market, RBC Financial Group.

The awards provide national recognition to Canada's women entrepreneurs, whose successful businesses play a pivotal role in the growth of our local, national and global communities. Since the Awards were launched in the early '90s, many RBC clients have been nominated and honoured. They are among the winners to date recognized for outstanding entrepreneurial achievement in the areas of Start-Up, Innovation, Impact on Local Economy, Export and Lifetime Achievement. (This year, two new Awards will be presented: a Momentum Award to recognize women who have passed start-up mode and are now running long-term, viable businesses; and a Trailblazer Award to honour a true trendsetter.) Initially, most of the businesses nominated were small, but today their revenues range from $250,000 to over $500 million.

"We are overwhelmed by the success of this year's program," says Pat Pape, President of the Powerpoint Group Inc., which produces the awards. "The number of nominations and applications has grown tremendously and there is much greater representation from right across Canada than ever before. And the quality of submissions is very strong. This year's awards will truly raise the bar of excellence."

Judging panels from across Canada are reviewing all applications that met the eligibility requirements for each award category.

Tickets, on a first-come, first-served basis, are available now. To purchase, or to learn more about the awards, visit www.theawards.ca, e-mail: info@powerpointgroup.com or tel: 416-923-1688, toll-free at 1-800-354-3303.

(July 2005)

Women's Entrepreneurial Centre Launches in Quebec

September marks the start-up of Quebec's first Women's Entrepreneurial Centre (WECQ), a bi-lingual, not-for-profit organization funded by the government in response to recommendations in the 2003 report from the Prime Minister's Task Force on Women Entrepreneurs. The Centre will offer women entrepreneurs a range of services, including assessment of entrepreneurial needs and channeling to appropriate advice and services, access to up-to-date information on existing programs and services, skills upgrading through training programs, seminars and workshops on business management, customized consultation and coaching and mentoring, and networking activities. A bilingual web portal is being developed.

Based in Montreal, the Centre has received $1.8 million over three years in support from Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions (CED-DEC). A principal partner of the Centre is the Quebec Businesswomen's Network (QBWN), which will expand services to women entrepreneurs in the province, particularly those in rural and remote regions.

One of the Centre's goals is to assist 5,000 women within three years. "We'll be doing a lot of mentoring through the Internet," says Nicole Beaudoin, President and CEO of the Centre. "And setting up networking activities, in regional locations as well as major cities, will help women break out of their isolation. They will now have an opportunity to share information, discuss their successes and failures, and make invaluable contacts in an atmosphere of solidarity and mutual assistance."

An important plan of the Centre, in partnership with universities, governments and the private sector specializing in this field, is to collect and analyze information on women's entrepreneurship. "We will advance our knowledge concerning the phenomenon of women's entrepreneurship by developing local data banks, and by constantly reviewing and studying the evolution of needs and factors that contribute to enterprise success rates," Nicole explains. A Statistics Canada Census showed that from 1981 to 2001, growth rates for male entrepreneurs were 32% in Québec and 38% in Canada, while those for women entrepreneurs were 213% and 208% respectively. "Women therefore merit special attention."

For more information about the Centre and its activities, call toll free 1-866-521-5733.

(July 2005)

Calling Influential B.C. Women - Award Nominations

If you know a B.C. businesswoman who embodies the qualities of an influential woman in business, Business in Vancouver asks you to nominate her for its 7th Annual Influential Women in Business Awards. Five women will be selected from nominations received based on three criteria: professional accomplishments, power and influence and business community involvement. The winners will be honoured at a special Awards luncheon March 1, 2006 and will be featured in the March 7th edition of Business in Vancouver. Past winners have included such luminaries as Dr. Julia Levy, Dr. Martha Piper, Carole Taylor, Nancy Greene and Doreen McKenzie-Sanders.

All nominees must be:

  • A resident of British Columbia or employed in British Columbia.
  • An active owner, partner, president or senior manager in a private or public sector company.

Nomination deadline: November 30, 2005.

For more information about the Awards or for a nomination package, contact Cheryl Carter at 604-608-5109 or e-mail ccarter@biv.com.

(July 2005)

Top Publisher Wins 2005 Consumers' Choice Award

Congratulations are in order for RBC client Kim McArthur, President of McArthur & Company Publishing Ltd., named the 2005 Greater Toronto Business Woman of the Year by Consumers' Choice Awards. Winners are chosen based on a Gallup poll of the business community in Toronto and the GTA. Some 1,800 people were surveyed for the 2005 Awards.

McArthur & Company is a publisher and distributor of Canadian and international fiction and non-fiction for adults and children. Founded in 1998, it has published 55 bestsellers, 16 of them hitting No.1, evenly split between Canadian and international authors. Its authors have been shortlisted for 21 Canadian literary prizes, including the prestigious Governor General's Award for Fiction, the Giller Prize, and the Leacock Award, and have won seven.

"I am thrilled that a cultural business such as ours is being recognized by the Consumers' Choice Awards in the company of so many other excellent businesses in Toronto and the GTA," says Kim, also a recipient of the Canadian Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award for Startup in 2001.

Her recipe for success? "Make sure you find something you absolutely love to do... and always have fun. The passion for what you do drives a really good business."

(June 2005)

Maternity Benefits for Self-Employed Women Urged

In June, Women Entrepreneurs of Canada (WEC) member and legal counsel Soma-Ray Ellis presented to the Standing Committee on the Status of Women on the issue of parental benefits for self-employed women. Under the current Employment Insurance Act, all persons in "insurable employment" are potentially eligible to receive benefits. However, self-employed workers (with the exception of self-employed fishers) are excluded from coverage. Since self-employment has grown faster among women than among men in the past 25 years, an increasing number of women are excluded from EI parental coverage. According to the WEC presentation, "the outcome is that fewer parents are able to spend time with their new-borns or newly adopted infants/children."

The presentation states that "Given an increase in self-employment among women, the substantial contribution by women entrepreneurs to the Canadian economy and the current restrictions to employment insurance, positive steps need to be taken to ensure that self-employed women are not excluded from maternity or parental benefits. This would be consistent with international developments in the sphere of social programs and services, as well as Canadian commitment to equality."

To reinforce its recommendation, WEC cited these statistics and facts:

  • In comparison to other countries, women in Canada make up a large share of the self-employed population.
  • There are more than 821,000 women entrepreneurs in Canada contributing in excess of $18.109 billion to the Canadian economy every year. Between 1981 and 2001, the number of women entrepreneurs in Canada increased 208%, compared with a 0.6% increase for men.
  • In 2000, women entrepreneurs held ownership in 45% of Canadian small and medium enterprises (SMEs), at least 50% ownership in 31% of knowledge-based industry (KBI) firms and 31% of manufacturing firms.
  • Several countries have committed to ensure that all parents are eligible for parental and maternity benefits, regardless of their employment status, include Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Finland, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria, Denmark and the Netherlands.
  • In 2001, the Quebec National Assembly passed legislation that extended maternity and parental benefits to self-employed individuals living in Quebec.

For more information or to access a copy of the presentation, contact WEC, tel: 1-866-207-4439, e-mail wec@wec.ca.

(June 2005)

The Deadline is Approaching…Nominate an Outstanding Woman Today!

August 2 is the deadline for nominating qualified candidates for the prestigious 2005 RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Awards (CWEA), sponsored by RBC Financial Group. "We are so pleased to sponsor these preeminent Awards," said Jim Westlake, Group Head of Canadian Personal and Business Markets, at the CWEA launch reception held in Toronto in June. "And while we are proud of the fact that over 4,000 women - ranging in age from their early 20s to their mid-70s - have been nominated since the program began 15 years ago, we hope that this is just the beginning! Taking the time to nominate someone is important - not only for the future of this program, but also to celebrate and recognize the importance of all women entrepreneurs."

The awards, which will be presented at a gala ceremony in Toronto on November 22, provide national recognition to Canada's women entrepreneurs, whose successful businesses play a pivotal role in the growth of our local, national and global communities. Since the Awards were launched in the early '90s, many RBC clients have been nominated and honoured. They are among the winners to date recognized for outstanding entrepreneurial achievement in the areas of Start-Up, Innovation, Impact on Local Economy, Export and Lifetime Achievement. (This year, two new Awards will be introduced: a Momentum Award to recognize women who have passed start-up mode and are now running long-term, viable businesses; and a Trailblazer Award to honour a true trendsetter.) Initially, most of the businesses nominated were small, but today their revenues range from $250,000 to over $500 million.

"Let's add to the 4,000 nominations that have come in for these awards since 1992 and to the over 70 Canadian women entrepreneurs who have been presented with an award in that time," urged Gay Mitchell, Regional President of Ontario for RBC Royal Bank and co-host of the launch reception. "Their hard work and resolve have influenced and benefited the Canadian economy and have made them positive role models for the young women of today. The nomination process is quick and easy."

Nomination Deadline: August 2, 2005
Application Deadline: August 15, 2005 (All nominees will be sent a package.)
Eligibility: Any woman who owns a profitable business (not a franchise) that has been registered and operating in Canada for three full years as of May 30, 2005, earns her primary income from it and is responsible for its day-to-day management. Nominated businesses must have three complete 12-month periods of financial statements.

To nominate a candidate or yourself, visit www.theawards.ca, e-mail: info@powerpointgroup.com or tel: 416-923-1688, toll-free at 1-800-354-3303. For insider tips from previous winners on how to prepare a winning submission, visit www.rbcroyalbank.com
/sme/women/canadian-women-award.html

(May 2005)

Network For Women in Technology Sector Launched

Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance's (CATAAlliance) Women In Technology (WIT) Forum, the new network dedicated to the advancement of women who work in the technology sector, was officially launched May 31, 2005. WIT Forum's mission is to help women in technology companies advance in their careers and succeed as entrepreneurs through mentoring, networking, professional development and advocacy.

"Our recent survey revealed an overwhelmingly positive demand for the creation of the Women In Technology Forum.," says Joanne Stanley, Vice President, CATAAlliance. "While there are many organizations that support the advancement of women, those of us who work in the advanced technology sector face a number of unique issues and demands. CATA's WIT Forum has been created to boost women's participation and progress in a very challenging sector."

Projects planned to jump-start its role as the "go to" forum that is committed to the advancement of women include:

  • A WIT Forum online calendar of women in technology
  • A book on Leadership Success for Women, slated for launch in the fall of 2005
  • A "Mentors and Role Models" network
  • A "Start-up Toolkit" workshop
  • An e-newsletter
  • A program on "Leadership Essentials for Women" (to be developed with the University of Ottawa's Executive MBA school)
  • Other training programs to be developed with input from the priorities revealed in the recent survey

A number of organizations are partnering with CATA to make the WIT Forum a success. These include RBC Royal Bank, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the University of Ottawa, OCRI, Toronto Venture Group, Osler Hoskin Harcourt, Springboard, MaRS Discovery District and MEDT.

The WIT Forum is of interest to women in the technology sector launching or managing early-stage ventures, women in the management team of emerging-growth companies, established women-owned businesses seeking growth opportunities and others interested in exploring entrepreneurship. For more information, contact Joanne Stanley at jstanley@cata.ca or tel 613-236-6550, ext 223.

(May 2005)

Outstanding Professional Women Honoured

Congratulations to the exceptional winners recently announced for two separate awards programs!

Two RBC Royal Bank clients, Sherill Hershberg, Hartford Investments Ltd., and Donna Warenko, Granite Internet Services Inc, were among the recipients of this year's Women Business Owners of Manitoba Winnipeg Chapter-sponsored 2004 Manitoba Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. Twenty-four women were vying for eight coveted awards in various categories of business. The awards honour women from across the province whose energies, creativity and tenacity to succeed represent the best of the entrepreneurial spirit. The categories and respective winners are:

  • Building Business - Sherill Hershberg, Hartford Investments Ltd.
  • Excellence in Service - Donna Warenko, Granite Internet Services Inc.
  • Impact on Local Economy - Heather Boyd, Basics of Your Day Store
  • International Trade - E. Jane Campbell, Panache Model and Talent Management and School
  • Emerging Business and Overall Excellence - Dallas Ballance, GoodwinBallance Communications
  • Home Enterprise - Kal Barteski, iDeaMonsters
  • Contribution to Community - Priti Shah, PRAXIS Conflict Consulting

For more about WBOM, e-mail info@wbom.mb.ca.

The Influential Women of Northern Ontario Awards, sponsored by RBC Royal Bank, are presented annually to women who have contributed to economic wealth, growth and job creation in Ontario's northern region, to women who have initiated change within their communities and to women who have made a positive difference. Gala celebrations for the four northeastern and three northwestern award recipients were held in Sault Ste-Marie and Thunder Bay.

Northeastern Ontario winners are:

  • Export - Karen Lacasse, Lacasse Fine Wood Products Inc.
  • Young Entrepreneur - Laura-Lee Gilbert, Curves Fitness Centres for Women
  • Public Sector - Leslie Fields, reeve of Assiginack Township on Manitoulin Island
  • Private Sector - Kathryn Antonio, My Ol' Blues

Northwestern Ontario winners are:

  • Young Entrepreneur - Carole Long, Pita Pit
  • Public Sector - Rosalind Lockyer, PARO Centre for Women's Enterprise
  • Private Sector - Iris Sullivan, Robin's Donuts

For more information, contact Brianne Cartmill, Tel 705-673-5705, Ext. 306, 1-800-757-2766 or e-mail brianne@nob.on.ca.

(May 2005)

World Economic Forum Launches New "Gender Gap Index"

Canada ranked 7th out of 58 countries (a rank of one representing the smallest divide between women and men, and 58 the largest) in the first-ever study that attempts to quantify the size of the "gender gap". As reported in Women's Empowerment: Measuring the Global Gender Gap, this World Economic Forum study measured the size of the gap between women and men in five critical areas: economic participation, economic opportunity, political empowerment, educational attainment and health and well-being. It included 30 OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development) countries and 28 other emerging markets.

Other highlights:

  • Nordic countries Sweden (1), Norway (2), Iceland (3), Denmark (4) and Finland (5) are at the top of the list as the countries with the smallest "gender gap."
  • Large, populous Asian nations such as India (53), Pakistan (56), Turkey (57) and Egypt (58) hold some of the lowest positions in the rankings.

"In this study, we acknowledge the clear economic incentive behind empowering women: countries that do not fully take advantage of one half of the talent in their population are misallocating their human resources and thus undermining their competitive potential," says study co-author Saadia Zahidi, Economist at the World Economic Forum.

The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas. The study used a large number of hard data indicators from international organizations as well as qualitative information from the Forum's own Executive Opinion Survey to create the rankings.

For more information, e-mail the World Economic Forum at gcp@weforum.org.

(May 2005)

The Search is On…Take the Time to Recognize a Successful Woman Entrepreneur

Now is the time to nominate exemplary women business owners who deserve to be recognized and rewarded for their efforts. The search for qualified candidates for the 2005 RBC Canadian Woman Entrepreneur Awards is underway, with RBC Financial Group pleased to be the lead sponsor of these preeminent awards for the first time. "Since RBC has had a long-term commitment to help women start and grow their businesses, it is a wonderful opportunity to support these prestigious and always much-anticipated awards," says Kristina Depencier, National Manager, Small Business and Women Entrepreneurs' Markets. "We admire the accomplishments of women entrepreneurs across Canada and we are honoured to celebrate them."

The awards, which will be presented at a gala ceremony in Toronto on November 22, provide national recognition to Canada's women entrepreneurs, whose successful businesses play a pivotal role in the growth of our local, national and global communities. Since 1992 when the awards were launched, many RBC clients have been nominated and honoured. They are among the 71 winners to date recognized for outstanding entrepreneurial achievement in the areas of Start-Up, Innovation, Impact on Local Economy, Export and Lifetime Achievement. (This year, two new Awards will be introduced: a Momentum Award to recognize women who have passed start-up mode and are now running long-term, viable businesses; and a Trailblazer Award to honour a true trendsetter.) Initially, most of the businesses nominated were small, but today their revenues range from $250,000 to over $500 million.

"One of the most exciting developments over the years has been the attention that this award has brought to the achievements of Canadian women entrepreneurs and the high profile that they gain as a result," says Pat Pape, President of the Powerpoint Group Inc., which produces the awards. "This award sets a standard to which all women entrepreneurs can aspire and we not only welcome, but encourage, nominations from right across Canada."

Nomination Deadline : August 2, 2005
Application Deadline : August 15, 2005 (All nominees will be sent a package.)
Eligibility: Any woman who owns a profitable business (not a franchise) that has been registered and operating in Canada for three full years as of May 30, 2005, earns her primary income from it and is responsible for its day-to-day management. Nominated businesses must have three complete 12-month periods of financial statements.

To nominate yourself or a candidate, visit www.theawards.ca, e-mail: info@powerpointgroup.com or tel: 416-923-1688, toll-free at 1-800-354-3303. For insider tips from previous winners on how to prepare a winning submission, visit www.rbcroyalbank.com/sme/women/
canadian-women-award.html

(April 2005)

Government Announces Funding for Women Entrepreneurs' Network

The Canadian government is committing over $2 million over three years toward the establishment of a Network for Women Entrepreneurs (NWE) in Ontario. Women entrepreneurs across the province can now access business information services toll-free at 1 888 300-9308. The Network will provide them with online or in-person access to business information, counselling, networking, training and other programs and services tailored to their specific needs. The goal of the NWE is to forge new partnerships across Ontario's diverse urban, rural and northern populations, and build on existing federal, provincial and municipal networks.

"The Government of Canada recognizes that women entrepreneurs are a vital part of our economy," said the Honourable David L. Emerson, Minister of Industry, in announcing the funding. "The Network for Women Entrepreneurs will build upon existing services for businesswomen in Ontario and respond to the challenges that women entrepreneurs face."

As reported in the 2003 report from the Prime Minister's Task Force on Women Entrepreneurs, chaired by the Honourable Sarmite Bulte, small business is the fastest-growing sector of our economy and women entrepreneurs are the fastest-growing segment within that sector. There are more than 821,000 women-owned businesses in Canada, contributing in excess of $18 billion annually to the economy. The funding announcement for the NWE "represents another step forward in implementing recommendations made in the Task Force's report," said Ms. Bulte.

The NWE will be delivered by Industry Canada and administered by the Canada-Ontario Business Service Centre (COBSC), which provides information to small businesses at all points in their life cycle.

For more information, contact Catherine Goguen, Senior Coodinator, Women's Program, Canadian-Ontario Business Service Centre, at goguen.catherine@cbsc.ic.gc.ca

(April 2005)

Recognition Opportunities Available for Successful Women Entrepreneurs

If you know someone who should get the recognition she deserves - or perhaps you deserve some kudos yourself! - participate in the nomination process for these programs:

  • PROFIT W100 ranking of Canada's Top Women Entrepreneurs. PROFIT: Your Guide to Business Success magazine is calling for nominations for its 7th annual ranking of the country's most successful female entrepreneurs based on company revenue. PROFIT is also looking to profile companies with strategies and visions that will motivate other women in business, and encourages nominees to attach more detailed answers to the application questionnaire. Nomination deadline: June 30, 2005. For more information, contact Jennifer O'Connor: toll-free at 1-800-713-GROW or by e-mail at jennifer.oconnor@profit.rogers.com.
  • 2005 JoAnna Townsend International Trade Award. The Organization of Women in International Trade (OWIT) - Toronto, which is part of a worldwide organization dedicated to advancing global trade opportunities for women, is on the hunt for nominations for this 2nd annual award. It recognizes an outstanding woman in Ontario who, through her business and personal networks, fosters opportunities that actively support women entrepreneurs to achieve success in international business. This outstanding woman acts as a role model and mentor for women entrepreneurs. She may be an entrepreneur herself or may participate on for-profit and non-profit boards, government committees and/or industry associations that champion the interests of women in business. The award is named in honour of the late JoAnna Townsend, formerly with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, who was instrumental in introducing initiatives to encourage more Canadian women to export. Nomination deadline: July 31, 2005. For more information, e-mail susanmogg@rogers.com

(April 2005)

Women-owned Firms Show Strength

Between 1997 and 2001, women-owned employer businesses in the U.S. were just as likely as all employer establishments to have remained in business, and exhibited more employment resiliency than average, according to the National Women's Business Council (NWBC) Issue in Brief. "Trends in Women-Owned Employer Establishments: 1997 to 2001", available online, is the result of an agreement between the NWBC and the U.S. Census Bureau which enables information on trends in the number and employment of women-owned employer establishments to be published annually.

Among the highlights:

  • Women-owned employer firms proved to be more resilient than employer firms overall during the period, reporting a 9.7% decline in employment, compared to a 10.9% decline among all establishments.
  • Among those firms that were still in business in 2001, 42% of women-owned establishments increased employment, compared with 43% overall.
  • 27% of women-owned establishments held their employee base during the period, compared to 24% of all businesses; and 31% saw a decrease, compared to 33% of all businesses.

For more information about the National Women's Business Council, e-mail info@nwbc.gov.

(April 2005)

Extraordinary Woman of the Year Named

The Canadian Association of Women Executives and Entrepreneurs (CAWEE) has selected RBC Royal Bank client Marnie Walker, founder of Student Express Ltd., as its 2005 Extraordinary Woman of the Year award recipient. The award is given annually on International Woman's Day to one woman who:

  • Encourages and mentors women in their career goals
  • Encourages and assists women in achieving personal life goals (ie. financial, family, health, talents, etc.)
  • Participates actively in the community on issues that affect women, and
  • Makes personal sacrifices in the process of assisting other women.

Student Express, a school bus company founded by Marnie in 1989, provides transportation for special-needs individuals attending schools, special programs, camps and other organizations. It has grown to $10 million in revenues, 250 buses, and almost 300 employees. Marnie supports and encourages women personally and professionally, and is active in community, academic and professional associations. She established "Overcoming Adversity" bursaries for female students at her alma maters, Sutton District High School and York University.

Watch next month for Marnie's tips on starting and growing a business. For more information about CAWEE, visit www.cawee.net

(February 2005)

International Women Entrepreneurs Event Coming to Vancouver

For the first time in Canada, this spring Vancouver will host the 9th annual gala and celebratory event of Leading Women Entrepreneurs of the World - a not-for-profit organization established to identify, honor, promote and encourage female entrepreneurial excellence - from May 22-26, 2005. Previous events have been held in Paris (1997), London (1998), Monaco (1999), Venice (2000), Madrid (2001), Paris (2002), Bermuda (2003) and Sydney (2004).

Since its inception in 1997, the organization has inducted as honorees 300 women representing more than 50 countries. It provides an exclusive forum for honorees to exchange ideas and network with like-minded individuals. The Leading Women Entrepreneurs of the World honorees collectively generate more than $US 161 billion annually for the global economy and employ more than 489,000 people around the world. An honoree must be nominated and meet the following criteria:

  • Sole or major (50% minimum) ownership or past ownership of a public, private or non-profit company
  • Annual sales of US$5 million for third world countries or more
  • Annual sales of US$20 to US$25 million for the balance of other countries or more
  • Must be one of the foremost, known female entrepreneurs in her country and/or within her applicable industry
  • Must be well-known and respected within her industry as well as among peer groups
  • Must be well known and identified for her and/or her company's involvement in either civic or charitable activities or both
  • Must be easily identified as someone who would be considered a role model for other women and leaders

For more information, visit www.leadingwomen.org.

(February 2005)

Women in Technology Survey Participants Sought

In order to design the various components of its upcoming Women in Technology (WIT) Forum, including networking, mentoring and role models and professional development, CATAAlliance (Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance) is looking for input from women stakeholders and members through an online survey. The survey asks for feedback and preferences on what the WIT Forum could provide to women in high growth technology companies or women entrepreneurs starting their own companies. To participate in the survey, visit http://www.e-penso.com/survey/s?s=WIT

Over the past several months, CATA has been spearheading the development of this new program to boost women's participation and advancement in the high-growth technology sector. Working with a committee including RBC Royal Bank, PricewaterhouseCoopers and the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, CATA has created a framework for the initiative.

To learn more about CATAAlliance - a leading, influential and entrepreneurial technology alliance, committed to growing the global competitiveness of its members - visit www.cata.ca.

(February 2005)

Calling Canada's Leading Woman High-Tech Entrepreneurs

The call for nominations for the Sara Kirke Award for Canada's Leading Woman High Tech Entrepreneur is underway. The Award is part of the Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATAAlliance) new Advancing Women in Technology (WIT) Forum, designed to help women in technology and high growth companies advance in their careers and succeed as entrepreneurs.

Sara Kirke, considered by many to be North America's first entrepreneur, arrived in Newfoundland in 1638 and became one of the most successful merchants on the English Shore. The Sara Kirke Award for Women Entrepreneurs is presented annually to the woman who has shown the most outstanding technological innovation and corporate leadership -- leadership that has significantly expanded the frontiers of Canada's advanced technology industry, resulting in the creation and international acceptance of significant world-class products and/or services. Contributions to achieving a more competitive investment climate in Canada are also taken into account.

How to Nominate:

  1. Note the name of the individual being nominated and provide contact information.
  2. Cite the evidence in support of your nomination (i.e. the nature of the achievement and its contribution to advanced technology in Canada). Data should be verifiable and self-evident.
  3. Provide your name, address and telephone number.
  4. Send your nomination package to the attention of Tracey Long by mail, e-mail or fax to:
    Sarah Kirke Award
    CATAAlliance
    388 Albert Street
    Ottawa, ON K1R 5B2
    Fax: 613-236-8189
    E-mail: tlong@cata.ca

Deadline for nominations is Friday, April 30, 2005. Nominations will be reviewed by a CATA panel and the winner of this year's Award will be announced at CATA's Gala Dinner on June 21, 2005 in Ottawa.

To learn more about CATAAlliance, visit www.cata.ca.

(February 2005)

Canada to Lead Delegation to Mexico Summit

Since 1990, the Global Summit of Women has celebrated women's leadership by bringing together women from around the world for three days of thought-provoking sessions led by women opinion leaders and influencers. Over the years, the Summit has developed a reputation as an exciting, informative, hands-on gathering of high-calibre participants and is informally referred to as the "Davos for Women".

Simone Desjardins, recently retired from the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and an active member of the International Planning Committee, will lead a delegation of Canadian women to this year's Summit in Mexico City from June 23-25.

The 2005 Summit will focus on promoting women's participation in the global market and accelerating women's economic development and will include an entrepreneurial track. It will also feature a Women's Expo which presents an opportunity to promote products and services, form business alliances and partnerships. The Summit is ideal for women entrepreneurs of businesses of all sizes looking to expand into other markets, business executives who want to learn more about the women's market and leaders of organizations focusing on economic development.

For more information about the Summit or to register, visit www.globewomen.com, or telephone 202-835-3713.

(January 2005)

New Scholarship Honours Women's Trade Advocate

An annual scholarship and bursary have been set up by friends and family in memory of JoAnna Townsend , as a tribute to this trade advocate for women. JoAnna was best known in her role as Director of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises Division at the Department of International Trade in Ottawa before she passed away early in 1994 after fighting a courageous battle against brain cancer.

The JoAnna Townsend International Business Awards will provide two Carleton University Business School students with the opportunity to spend their third year in Central or South America to study the language and business culture. The Sprott School of Business will match donations to the business scholarship and the Ontario Student Opportunity Trust Fund will match donations to the business bursary.

"JoAnna was a global thinker, a catalyst and a role model to many," says Barbara Orser, Project Chair and an Associate Professor at the Sprott School of Business at Carleton University. "The award reflects JoAnna's professional and personal interests. She inspired many people, including students, with her innovative thinking and her tireless commitment to women entrepreneurs."

For more information about the awards or to donate, visit www.sprott.carleton.ca/townsend-scholarship. or telephone Rebecca Murray at 613-520-2600, ext. 4137; e-mail rebecca_murray@carleton.ca. Donors who pledge $1,500 or more will be recognized on a plaque placed in the school.

(January 2005)

Best Practices Reports on Women's Entrepreneurship Available

A series of three reports, documenting the results of expert roundtable discussions on aspects of women's entrepreneurship held in the U.S. during 2004, are now available. The discussions summarized in these reports were convened and hosted by Quantum Leaps, Inc. - a U.S-based organization dedicated to accelerating women's entrepreneurship internationally - in collaboration with the National Women's Business Council. Top government officials, women's business leaders, senior corporate executives, and issue experts gathered to discuss the current state of policies and programs, current best practices and strategies for the future of women's business ownership.

The topics covered at these roundtable discussions included: access to markets, specifically corporate, government and international markets; entrepreneurial education and training at all stages of business development; and how best to foster high-growth women's entrepreneurship. A primary goal of the roundtable discussions was to generate ideas for new policies and program strategies that would benefit women's enterprise development.

Some of the key recommendations contained in these reports include:

  • Centralize resources: Information on access to markets, whether corporate, government or international, is plentiful, but scattered and frequently difficult to find. Useful web sites such as www.womenbiz.gov for U.S. federal procurement information, or www.trade.gov for international trade information, should be more widely marketed.
  • The missing "middle": While there are well-known educational programs for women business owners at the start-up stage, those who have passed that stage or who are not in industries targeted by equity investors, often are ignored. Just-in-time learning, which is frequently online (like the Online Women's Business Center at www.onlinewbc.gov), and mentoring programs (such as the Athena Foundation's PowerLink program) can be of tremendous benefit to these women.
  • Entrepreneurial frameworks: Many of the structures that support high-growth entrepreneurship, including institutional equity investment firms, are very male-dominated in the U.S., and may act to discourage more women who may qualify from pursuing equity capital. Education on both sides of the table could help improve the environment for all.

"The roundtable discussions were a tremendous success and will not only help inform further research and discussion here in the U.S., but in the women's entrepreneurship field internationally," said Virginia Littlejohn, CEO of Quantum Leaps.

To obtain copies of these reports, visit the Quantum Leaps web site at www.quantumleapsinc.org or the National Women's Business Council site at www.nwbc.gov. For more information about Quantum Leaps, tel: 202-332-4411, e-mail: info@quantumleapsinc.org.

(January 2005)

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