Bobbi Carpino // Women’s Enterprise Centre
As Prince George’s Entrepreneur-in-Residence for Women’s Enterprise Centre, I’m excited to be joining the celebrations for this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) on March 8. This year’s theme is looking at challenging norms so we can achieve a more inclusive and equal future. After all, women in business are driving change in our community and beyond! Here are a few areas in which some incredible process has been made for and by female entrepreneurs:
● Women are exporting more than ever! The share of women entrepreneurs that export increased from 5.9% in 2007 to 11.2% in 2017 (Statistics Canada, 2019).
● Women business owners are thinking outside the box. There has been an increase in women entrepreneurs engaged in at least one type of innovation (product, process, organization or marketing) over the past three years, up to 39.5% (Statistics Canada, 2019).
● Women-owned SMEs have improved their growth performance over time. Their share of medium- to high-growth SMEs (businesses with an annual sales or revenue growth rate above 10% over the past three years) increased from 16.5% in 2011 to about 18.5% in 2017 (Statistics Canada, 2019).
● Women business owners have big plans for the future! In a 2019 Women’s Enterprise Centre survey, 74% of WEC clients felt confident in their abilities as a business owner; 90% said they were able to sense opportunities in their environment; and 74% were able to set a strategic direction in their business.
● Organizations are recognizing that women business owners take unique pathways to business growth, and are offering support to meet their needs. In a 2019 Women’s Enterprise Centre survey, 59% of business support organizations in BC specifically market to women (compared to 38% in 2016), and 23% offer programs specific to women entrepreneurs (a jump from 15% in 2016). In 2018, the Government of Canada launched the Women’s Entrepreneurship Strategy, with a goal to double the number of women-owned businesses by 2025.
● As more women become business owners so do the opportunities for financing. The percentage of women-owned small and medium sized enterprises requesting external financing increased from 20.7% in 2007 to 40.6% in 2017 (Statistics Canada, 2019).
It’s important to celebrate the accomplishments and progress that has been made, but we recognize there is still work to be done. For example, the percentage of women-owned businesses requesting funding doubled within ten years, and has further increased over the past year due to the pandemic. There are still many female entrepreneurs needing support, but holding themselves back from asking for it.
That’s why on March 10th, Women’s Enterprise Centre is hosting a fun, interactive discussion about accessing capital focused on the future, and uniting you with the funding programs aligned with your business goals. To learn more about this event and register, click here. In addition, if you are a female business owner needing financial support as a result of Covid-19, you could qualify for the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund.
Across the business world change is happening, and much of it is being fueled by the tenacity and contributions of women entrepreneurs right here in our community. Join me and Women’s Enterprise Centre for celebrations, enlightening discussions and more this IWD! For a full list of events visit our WEC’s IWD page.
About the author: Bobbi Carpino was born and raised in Northern BC and has lived and worked in various communities through the North. She has successfully started and ran a photography studio in downtown Prince George and a campground that her family built into a destination locals and travelers from around the world have fallen in love with. She is passionate about supporting other women in business and joined the Women’s Enterprise Centre’s Regional Outreach team as an Entrepreneur-in-Residence. In her role she assists in delivering services in the North, sharing the resources available and helping women business owners access advisory services. In her spare time, Bobbi is a volunteer Fire Fighter, First Responder and Training Officer at her local fire hall in her rural community of Salmon Valley.