Ontario’s Women Entrepreneurs Get Boost from Canada

Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

Government of Canada invests over $1.7 million in PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise to support more than 170 businesses, create and maintain 190 jobs, and provide training to 1,500 women entrepreneurs

Women entrepreneurs in Canada are essential to the economic success of our communities and neighbourhoods. They often face unique challenges when starting and growing their businesses. On International Women’s Day, and throughout the year, the Government of Canada is investing in the power of women entrepreneurs. Helping women achieve the goals they set for their businesses is key to a strong, diverse economy and a better future for all Canadians.

Today, the Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), alongside the Honourable Mona Fortier, President of the Treasury Board and Member of Parliament for Ottawa-Vanier, announced a contribution of over $1.7 million for PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise (PARO) to deliver the Women’s Enterprise Centre Southern and Eastern (WECSE) Ontario initiative.

PARO, a women-led not-for-profit social enterprise, helps women in Ontario start and grow their businesses and position them for future success through educational programs, skills training, networking, mentoring and access to funding. This investment will expand their services offered in Northern Ontario to diverse women entrepreneurs and women-led companies across the rest of the province, with a focus on the rural areas of Prescott-Russell, Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry, Peterborough/Kawarthas and Bruce/Grey/Middlesex.

WECSE will be delivered in collaboration with 10 partners, including local Community Futures Development Corporations, and will support 171 women-owned businesses; create and maintain 190 jobs; establish 75 peer lending circles to deliver mentoring, networking and loans; and provide access to services for business development and job creation to over 1,500 women in the region. The initiative has three primary pillars: start-up support, scale-up support, and expanding access to domestic and export markets.

With support from this investment, the WECSE initiative is targeting important sectors, such as health, agriculture and food production, to boost the growth and market success of participating diverse women-led companies. PARO also prioritizes services to women identifying as Indigenous, members of racialized communities, youth, 2SLGBTQI+, persons with disabilities, newcomers to Canada, and members of official language minority and rural communities.

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