How to get funding. How to hire a ‘superstar’ who believes in the business. How to plough on despite everyday challenges. At The Forum for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE), a local charity, we’ve been helping women business owners from across Canada get the deep expertise needed to make business decisions with confidence.

In BC, 98% of businesses are small businesses (<50 employees), and 79% of them are micro businesses, with fewer than five employees. In the Lower Mainland, we’re blessed to be surrounded by organizations such as the Women’s Enterprise Centre, Small Business BC and Futurpreneur that offer a range of services, such as business advisory, access to market research, funding, and more.

Reaching out for support can make a world of difference, and it connects you to this vibrant community of business leaders who – I assure you – are also facing struggles. I personally invite you to call FWE and chat with us; we’d love to connect with women in the South Asian community.

Over the last five years that I’ve been working with FWE, it has been such an honour to meet, work with and support women – from the bakery owner in rural BC, to the entrepreneur running a B&B in Newfoundland – who are dedicating their time and money to running businesses of all stages, sizes and industries. Although not an entrepreneur myself, my immigrant parents ran an automotive family business for over 30 years; a business that I started to work for as soon as I could strap on rollerblades to distribute flyers on cars in parking lots. My work there soon evolved to helping with the books, weekly maintenance work on a fleet of 50+ trucks, to assisting my dad in overhauling those truck engines. I helped out where I could, when I could, and that included working outside for hours in the snow on weekends, using thick socks with holes cut out for my fingers. So when it comes to entrepreneurs and the personal sacrifices they make every day, we get it.

Today women entrepreneurs are running their own businesses (solo or with others) and proving that we can be a success in any industry we choose. The challenges, however, are real: access to capital, feeling isolated, cash flow, a lack of confidence, and not having a formal education in business. That’s where FWE can provide women one-on-one mentorship and education taught by entrepreneurs who’ve already overcome the capital, legal, and sales challenges.

From April 19-21, FWE will host our 16th E-Series, a 3-day intensive educational program for women that also pairs you with a mentor for 14 months of continued support. The program is open to women running companies at all stages, from start-up to $5M+ in revenue. E-Series is a tried-and-true program, with graduates since 2002 experiencing an average annualized revenue growth rate of 40% since taking the program. We count over 380 alumni including Jenny Randhawa (Blo Blow Dry Bar Franchise Owner), Ravi Mehroke (Bombay Brow Bar), Sonia Chhinji (Woodlot) and Jeeti Pooni (To Desire), to name a few. Tuition Grants are available to subsidize the cost. E-Series is a game-changing program, and applications are open until February 28 at; or call us at 604-682-8115 for more information.

Finally, on February 20th we’ll be celebrating our 15th anniversary at The Odlum Brown FWE Gala: Pitch for the Purse. Our annual bash is a chance to meet some of the area’s top male and female business leaders, to connect with other entrepreneurs, and to learn more about how we can help you. We hope to see you there.

Lisa Niemetscheck
Lisa Niemetscheck is the General Manager of the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs, a Vancouver-based charitable organization (861056646RR0001) that energizes, educates, mentors and connects women entrepreneurs, encouraging them to become wildly successful, promoting a strengthened economy and thriving communities. Lisa is the recipient of BIV’s 2016 Top Forty Under 40 Award. Learn more at