For immediate release
April 17, 2013
Vancity Community Foundation Launches the Leaders and Lenders Tool Kit Aimed at Increasing the Growth of Women-Owned Businesses
(Vancouver, BC) Today, Vancity Community Foundation in partnership with Vancity credit union launched the Leaders and Lenders Tool Kit, the final phase of the Women Entrepreneurs: Financing Opportunities for Growth Project. The project is funded by Status of Women Canada.
The Leaders and Lenders Tool Kit is aimed at assisting credit union leaders and lenders to better serve women entrepreneurs who wish to grow their businesses. The Tool Kit includes four modules and incorporates the learnings from the first two phases of the project. In phase one, the project undertook and commissioned research to better understand the profile of women business owners and their financing needs. In the second phase, a small group of women business owners, whose businesses were already generating at least $100,000 per year in revenues, were provided one-on-one business coaching and targeted skill building aimed at developing a business growth plan. The entrepreneurs then made a formal pitch for business growth financing to a panel of financiers.
In this third and final phase of the project, the Tool Kit was developed to share what was learned in the project with credit unions throughout BC and Canada.
“One of the important things we heard over the course of this project is that investors and lenders need to show up in the community at the places where women gather and connect,” explained Catherine Ludgate, a project advisor and a Vancity Manager of Community Investment. “By supporting the many women who face challenges in growing their businesses including a lack of assets to leverage for financing, a lack of credit history and a need for more knowledge about financing options we believe we can help make an impact in this sector and the communities we serve.”
According to the Canadian Taskforce on Women’s Business Growth, if existing women-owned businesses in Canada grew their revenues by twenty per cent it would generate an additional two billion dollars of economic activity per year.
Vancity Community Foundation (VCF) is an independent charity founded by Vancity credit union almost 25 years ago. They work together closely, and this project – The Women Entrepreneurs: Financing Opportunities for Growth project – is a great example. Together, we were able to leverage our direct relationships and capacity through the Foundation by bringing together a number of supporters, combined with the essential project funding from Status of Women Canada, to learn about and address some key challenges and barriers related to financial inclusion and economic development for diverse profiles of entrepreneurial women.
The Tool Kit is publically available online at we-community.ca and includes self-directed learning modules, videos, quizzes and other resources.
For interviews please contact:
Helesia Luke at 778-786-2838 or Joanne Norris at 604-877-7505
For immediate release
August 1, 2012
Vancity Community Foundation Launches Pilot Project to Support Financing Opportunities for Growth for Women Entrepreneurs
(Vancouver, BC) Today, Vancity Community Foundation in partnership with Vancity credit union announced the participants in an important pilot project, Women Entrepreneurs: Financing Opportunities for Growth Project, funded by Status of Women Canada.
The Pilot Project will assist a diverse group of ten women entrepreneurs to develop business growth plans utilizing a one-on-one business coaching model. At the end of five months all entrepreneurs will be encouraged to make a business plan presentation and financing ‘pitch’ to a panel comprising Vancity account managers and other financiers. Candidates for the pilot project were selected mid June and, as a part of the application process, had to illustrate that their businesses were out of the start up stage and positioned for growth.
“An important part of this project is learning more about why more women than men start businesses in Canada but more men grow them. We are particularly interested in understanding how to strengthen the participation of specific groups of women business owners – immigrant, Aboriginal and social entrepreneurs,” commented Joanne Norris, Project Lead. “Our intent is to educate the credit union sector and others about the barriers that different women entrepreneurs encounter with scaling their businesses.”
The Project also commissioned a research report, Profile of Self-Employed Women in British Columbia, by Community Solutions that explores the unique characteristics of self-employed women in BC. Highlights of that report include:
- The majority (91%) of self-employed women in BC between the ages of 25 – 64 have a Certificate, Diploma or Degree.
- 19% of women business owners in BC belong to visible minority groups.
- The top three industries for women’s self-employment in BC are:
- Professional, scientific and technical services
- Health care and social assistance
- Half of self-employed women have children at home.
- The average income for self-employed women in 2005 was $31,008
The full report, more information about the project and participating women entrepreneurs can be viewed here and Twitter at: WECommunityca
For more information please contact: Helesia Luke at 778-786-2838 or Joanne Norris at 604-877-7505
Click here for the Media Backgrounder (PDF)