NORDIK Institute will be spearheading the Northern regional development of the Women of Ontario Social Enterprise Network (WOSEN) Project.
The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion, announced that Pillar Nonprofit Network and partners NORDIK Institute, Okwaho Equal Source, and the Centre for Social Innovation will benefit from a FedDev Ontario investment of up to $3.6 million to deliver the Women of Ontario Social Enterprise Network (WOSEN) project.
This investment in diverse women social entrepreneurs in Ontario is being made as part of the federal government’s Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) Ecosystem Fund. Announced in 2018, WES is a $2-billion investment that seeks to double the number of women-owned businesses by 2025. Through WES, the Government of Canada is demonstrating its commitment to gender equality, advancing women’s full and equal participation in the economy.
In Ontario, the WOSEN project will support 150 new and expand 75 existing women-led social enterprises, offer 10 Women-Centered Innovation Trainings to 250 people, provide training for 45 business coaches and connect to investment opportunities through the Women Impact Investor Network. In this way, WOSEN aims to broaden and diversify the entrepreneurial ecosystem for women, through inclusive design and Indigenous knowledge and practice.
“Our government believes that women’s economic empowerment is not just the right thing to do; it’s good for the bottom line. That’s why we launched the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy. It’s a smart investment with an economic and social return,” said Minister Ng.
This investment is particularly important for northern women who have typically been excluded from the dominate resource-extractive economy. “We are excited to build on our past work in social enterprise and our efforts to make a more just and inclusive economy here in Northern Ontario,” said Sean Meades, Director of NORDIK Institute. “We have worked with Pillar Nonprofit for several years on province-wide projects promoting social enterprise and social entrepreneurship, and we look forward to the next phase and new partners we’ll be working with in the process.” It will support them in developing meaningful new economy employment that contributes to broader health and wellbeing and community resilience.
To learn more about the Women’s Entrepreneurship Strategy, visit https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/107.nsf/eng/home