THE RISE AND GROWTH OF THE WOMAN ENTREPRENEUR 

Diverse mature group of women well dressed.
Canadian women-owned businesses are on the cusp of something great.

We’re seeing an increased number of women starting their entrepreneurial journey or taking their businesses to the next level. This continuing rise in women-owned businesses, in numbers, size, and industry categories, has brought remarkable economic growth, improved innovation, thriving local economies, and motivation for many aspiring women business enterprises.

However, women-owned businesses still remain underrepresented in the economy; their start-ups have lower growth rates and lower survival rates than their men-owned counterparts.

Our vision is to see empowered women-owned businesses with equal access to corporate and public procurement at WBE Canada. “We need to change the conversation from helping women ‘figure things out’ and doing all of this work inside a vacuum, to helping them really get out there where business deals are made. Women need more opportunities and contracts, and that’s what we’re working to change”, says Silvia Pencak, President, WBE Canada.

Beautiful girl agronomist with note book standing in golden wheat field and looking at camera, combine harvesting in backgroundHere are some tips for women-owned businesses to achieve more remarkable results while maximizing the resources available at their disposal:

1) Have and communicate a vision – Where do you see your company in 5 years? It is crucial to have a SMART and robust idea for your company and ensure that your team, your stakeholders, and your community understand it well.

2) Evaluate and improve – Evaluation and improvement go hand in hand. Without evaluation, it is impossible to improve, and without modification, evaluation is a waste of time. Evaluation prevents you from colossal mistakes, wasted energy, even dead ends. It helps you course-correct and adjust as needed. To be a champion, you need to be objective, accept feedback, and strive for improvement.

3) Build on your strengths – It’s always easier to win when you play to your best strengths. Analyze what your strengths are, embrace them, and utilize them for your business. You will be able to get more done and achieve better results.

4) Networking is key – Make networking a priority. Attend events and conferences, learn from experts, and listen to real stories of other women entrepreneurs. Help or provide guidance whenever you can.

5) Make use of supplier diversity programs. Supplier diversity is a commitment from government and large corporate organizations to track and increase their spend with Women Business Enterprises (WBEs) and other diverse suppliers. These organizations allocate resources to ensure that various suppliers get access to opportunities within their procurement. Make sure to keep your information updated on supplier diversity trends and best practices. While looking for prospective buyers, do thorough research on which of these buyers have established supplier diversity programs. A women-owned business will have an advantage and a more substantial chance to enter their supply chains.

6) Get certified – Certification moves women-owned businesses beyond networking and training to direct conversations with corporate buyers. At WBE Canada, we empower 51% or more owned businesses, managed and controlled by women. We call them Certified WBEs. All WBEs are then listed in our database accessible by large corporate and government buyers. To learn more about the benefits of certification, visit https://wbecanada.ca/certification/

7) Attend WBE Canada’s 2020 Annual Conference – WBE Canada’s Annual Conference is the leading event for corporate & government leaders, procurement professionals, and women-owned businesses in Canada. If you are a women-owned business looking for opportunities to grow your business, this is where you need to be (virtually!). Find more information at https://wbeconference.ca

Finally, to all women entrepreneurs out there, don’t give up. Don’t let hurdles break you, instead use them to your advantage. You’re doing great, not just for yourself but for your community and your country at large. Keep at it!

******About WBE Canada

Women Business Enterprises Canada Council (WBE Canada) is a Canadian non-profit organization with its goal being to bring corporate and government buyers and Canadian Women Business Enterprises (WBEs) together. WBE Canada certifies majority-owned, managed, and controlled women’s businesses. They provide a range of programs and services to assist WBEs in better accessing business opportunities with major corporations. This includes training and education, through annual conferences, workshops and webinars, and mentoring programs and networking events with like-minded businesswomen and corporate members. WBE Canada also provides its corporate members with forums, tools and techniques to broaden and strengthen their goals.