Responsive women-led business development and support programming


There is new support for women-identified entrepreneurs or aspiring entrepreneurs. Two innovative on-line programming streams – Ideation/Start and Resilience – are designed to respond to the needs of women entrepreneurs or who are interested in launching a social purpose business. Both offer a core set of workshops with the opportunity to join breakout sessions with content-experts and receive individual coaching, thereby maximizing time and effectiveness.

“We’re developing an adaptable, responsive approach to programming,” states Krista Bissiallon, NORDIK Researcher and Program Lead. “It will provide entrepreneurial competencies as they are needed in each venture’s development and sustainability”. For those who are thinking about starting a business, have some ideas, or are passionate about a particular issue the Ideation/Start stream will assist participants in consolidating their ideas and stories into a viable business offering. The Resilience stream aims to provide existing social purpose businesses with ways to maintain and strengthen operations during these challenging times. The 16-week Resilience program is now accepting applications and Ideation/Start will follow in a few months. For more information, please contact Krista Bissiallon at [email protected]

“Although the programs will be available across Ontario”, Dr. Jude Ortiz, NORDIK Institute’s Research Coordinator states, “the flexibility of the additional workshops and the addition of northern coaches will support the region’s context”. The program aims to attract women, typically underrepresented in business, and those who are interested in embedding social values into the business model, such as a cooperative, non-profits, and both for- and not-for-profit social enterprises.

“Based on previous research, we know there are many women who are deeply connected to their communities,” says Krista Bissiallon, “and this opportunity will enable them to contribute while maintaining their values. The programming will give women the tools and processes necessary for developing their existing businesses, as well as prioritizing creating networks of women working and making change in the social enterprise sector. The collaborative aims to reflect the communities it serves, and will be reaching out to Indigenous and newcomer women in particular.” Other programming and support for women-led social entrepreneurship will be available in the months to come.

The Ideation/Start and Resilience programs are part of the women’s entrepreneurship project, Women of Ontario Social Enterprise (WOSEN). There will be more localized programming offered in the near future to further expand the entrepreneurial ecosystem. This project is funded in part by the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario and Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation.