The COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately impacted women entrepreneurs. It has affected sectors where businesses are more often women-led such as retail, hospitality, and food services, as well as sectors where women entrepreneurs tend to be underrepresented such as technology. On top of typically operating smaller businesses, and having less access to capital, many women business owners still bear a disproportionate share of domestic work, caregiving and childcare as well as systemic barriers which places additional demands on these business owners.
The Government of Canada is advancing women’s economic empowerment with the first-ever Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES), a $5-billion investment that seeks to double the number of women-owned businesses by 2025. Doubling the number of women owned businesses requires a strong ecosystem of support, expertise, and connections.
Tackling Women Entrepreneurs’ Pain Points through Strategic Connections
The Power Panel series is a collaboration led by Haltech Regional Innovation Centre with Innovation Guelph and WEtech Alliance to expand guidance and mentorship for women-owned companies that are part of the Regional Innovation Centre (RIC) network in Southwestern Ontario. Support and funding for the power panels has been provided through the WES Ecosystem Fund delivered by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario).
The series of power panels aims to expand mentorship and strategic connection opportunities for women-owned technology and innovation companies in Southwestern Ontario. Participating companies will have the opportunity to accelerate their skills development and be able to leverage high powered, influential mentors from outside of their usual networks.
Experts will be selected based on key business growth areas including: capital and investment, leadership, digital transformation, sales, marketing, Intellectual Property, market expansion, human resources, etc. Jill Schoolenberg, Vice President and Country Manager for GoDaddy Canada, Australia and Latin America, is already on board as an advisor. In 2019, Schoolenberg was named ‘Marketer of the Year’ for a campaign with the Raptors titled “Itty Bitty Ballers.” Other Power Panel Advisors include Mary Ann Wenzler Wiebe, Vice President – GTA West, BDC; Danielle Graham, Founder and Principal Investors, Sandpiper Ventures; Afza Wajid, Global Business Lead, SaaS, AWS, Linda Hasenfratz, CEO, Linamar, Deborah Landers, COO, Georgian Partners, Jennifer Cooke, Corporate Lead- Women in Trade, EDC and Claudette McGowan, Global Executive Officer- Protect Fusion & Cyber Experience, TD Bank. They will join other high-profile women and allies to provide advice and mentorship to the selected women.
The Power Panel series is funded in part by the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency of Southern Ontario.
About Haltech: Haltech is a not-for-profit Regional Innovation Centre funded by the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development Job Creation and Trade. Haltech provides entrepreneurial education, advisory services and strategic connections to technology start up and scale up companies in Halton Region to help them accelerate growth and bring innovations to market. Since its inception, Haltech has worked with over 800 technology and innovation companies. Its current portfolio of clients includes 53% women founders. In its last fiscal year, clients of Haltech generated over $63 million dollars of revenue, created 428 jobs, and raised $21.5m in capital.
“The real power behind this series of panels is providing women-led companies with an opportunity to accelerate and amplify their business impact. Connecting this group of entrepreneurs with experts and expanding their network of opportunity benefits economies across Southwestern Ontario. As for the RICs, we are excited to join forces on this project, collaborate with an amazing team of mentors and foster the potential of our female entrepreneurs.” – Haltech/ Shann McGrail, Executive Director
“In life and in business, leveraging the power of networks are particularly critical to staying afloat. By tapping into the experience and vast networks of the RIC ecosystem, the Power Panel extends relationships to thought leaders, experienced entrepreneurs, and global subject experts to Southwestern Ontario womenentrepreneurs. Ultimately, we are putting an incredible group of people at their fingertips to allow for a fast and sustainable path to recovery.” – WEtech/ Yvonne Pilon; President and CEO
“Southwestern Ontario has a strong entrepreneurial spirit and Innovation Guelph is excited to partner with Haltech Regional Innovation Center and WEtech Alliance to provide our clients access to a broader range of influential mentors and subject matter experts. Mentors are a critical part of both professional and personal development for all entrepreneurs.” – Innovation Guelph/ Anne Tone Fung; Executive Director
”The Government of Canada is committed to the success of women-led businesses across Canada. Support and collaboration are integral to the growth and empowerment of these entrepreneurs. That is why we are proud to invest in efforts like as the Power Panel series, which bring together remarkable leaders that help women entrepreneurs realize their full potential.” – the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario
“The Covid-19 pandemic has placed a spotlight on supporting small business owners to succeed online as a key to economic recovery – and something that is at the very core of GoDaddy. I am looking forward to being a mentor for the power panels and the opportunity to share my experiences with women working to expand their businesses online.” -Jill Schoolenberg, Vice President and Country Manager for GoDaddy Canada.
For more information, contact: Shann McGrail; email@example.com; 905 302 3519
Halton Region Global Business Centre: Stephanie Mazhari; 905-825-6000, ext. 7229 | 1-866-442-5866
Read the original Press Release here.