Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH) conducted a study to highlight some of the structural barriers facing diverse women entrepreneurs in Canada. As a result, the first annual report on The State of Women’s Entrepreneurship in Canada was released, which clearly shows that COVID-19 has amplified structural barriers, negatively impacted women entrepreneurs more than men, and negatively impacted Indigenous, racialized, and other diverse entrepreneurs the most.
The study revealed that women hold the majority of the 114,000 small to medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in Canada, with one or more employees making up over 37 percent of the country’s self-employed individuals (2019). (2017). In contrast to the manufacturing and technology industries, women entrepreneurs are more prevalent in the services, social, health and beauty, and food industries.
Women are the ones most affected by the pandemic since they are more likely to own newer, smaller businesses. SME’s with fewer than 20 employees were discovered to have been particularly affected. With a 32.6 percent against a 38 percent chance, women are discriminated against while seeking and receiving financing. Male-owned enterprises are more likely to receive investment from angel investors or venture capitalists, as well as other forms of leverage like capital leasing or trade credit.
The Growing Women Leaders Project
GROW Women Leaders is a future-oriented organization that invests in economic growth, social impact, women’s empowerment, equality, and sustainability. Through training, job matching, and support services, they are working to “Build Women Leadership in the Workforce” as a leadership career development and advancement platform.
GROW Women Leaders aims to link women with job opportunities, prepare them for leadership in the workforce, and assist them in landing dream positions. It provides a forum for organizations to hire while also providing a platform for women job seekers to locate their next professional opportunity.
Their programs are created to accelerate professional growth and enable people to collaborate to make great things happen, thus building women’s leadership. Their vision is to create a global movement that empowers and advances marginalized women’s cultural, economic, social, and civic engagements.
GROW Women Leaders creates a platform to empower women, especially immigrants, via their development and advancement, reducing inequality while they rise to leadership positions. By implementing practical measures like training, connections, and spaces for leadership career progression, they strive to help women reach greater heights in all aspects of their lives.
They work on the principles of SEED (Support, Encourage, Empower, and Develop) aspiring women leaders, one woman at a time, by giving them a platform where they can grow. They encourage women to lead full, confident, and courageous lives while having a positive leadership impact on their communities and the world. They make this possible by offering well-designed programmes and building strong, beneficial professional networks.
GROW Women Leaders facilitates expert coaching, consulting, training, networking, and publishing, giving women the confidence they need to contribute to their communities and improve their professional endeavours. Through the growth of their own personal, professional, entrepreneurial, and civic participation, they help women realize their potential to reduce inequality.
The Women’s Empowerer
Tracy Folorunsho-Barry, one of Canada’s Top 100 Black Women to Watch, is the founder of GROW Women Leaders. To improve the lives of immigrant women, the Edmontonian of Nigerian descent launched GROW Women Leaders and GROW Foundation in 2018.
It originated from her frustration with the integration process and her wish that she had a manual or guide to assist her on her journey. Through GROW, Folorunsho-Barry, a career and equitable leadership strategist, offers other women, particularly BIPOC and immigrant women, the direction she had hoped for.
The Grow Program
GROW has programs designed to accelerate business success for women. These include:
- Job matching helps connect women to positions that properly fit their skill sets and professional objectives, bridging them to their ideal positions.
- Co-Creative is a space for developing communities where women can work together with other female leaders to produce creative work while learning from experts and career professionals.
- The GROW Women Leaders Academy provides specialized and cutting-edge training programs for career development that are intended to address the ongoing workplace difficulties that professional women of colour, particularly immigrants in Canada, face. They offer instruction in leadership, immigrant women’s professional development, business, industry-specific training, and more.
- Nurture is located inside the GROW Lounge and is a socially conscious on-site kitchen and cafe that offers brunch, meal prep, catering, cocktails, and more, and has an outside patio that is open to both members and non-members.
Nell Scovell and Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead quotes a Hewlett Packard internal report that states men apply for jobs even if they only meet 60% of the requirements, whereas women only do so if they meet 100% of the requirements. In the Harvard Business Review article Why Women Don’t Apply for Jobs Unless They’re 100% Qualified, Tara Sophia Mohr analyzed this study. She noticed that what prevented women from applying was a false perception of the recruiting process rather than a false perception of themselves.
People who weren’t applying thought they required the qualifications to perform the job successfully and get hired. They did not believe that the lack of the knowledge and abilities specified in the job requirements could be overcome throughout the recruiting process by advocacy, interpersonal connections, or a creative way of framing one’s competence.
GROW Women Leaders gives women the platform, tools, and resources to make them visible throughout the hiring process and to succeed with their company skills. To know more about their programs and opportunities, visit the website https://www.growwomenleaders.com/.
Many organizations help upskill aspirants’ potential through their training, leadership programs, and resources. To know more about such organizations, subscribe to the CanadianSME Small Business Magazine and for the latest updates, check out our Twitter page @canadian_sme.