Business

Responding to mentorship challenge

The Women’s Enterprise Centre has won Startup Canada’s Canadian Mentorship Challenge.

The challenge was a national initiative to mentor 10,000 Canadian entrepreneurs during Global Entrepreneurship Week, Nov.12 to 18.

Laurel Douglas, chief executive officer of the Women’s Enterprise Centre based out of Kelowna, said she was thrilled when she heard the results.

“When we first heard about this contest, we wanted to profile and acknowledge our dedicated volunteer mentors who are really invested in helping less experienced business owners,” she said.

“Now that we’ve won, we are honoured and extend a huge thank you to our mentors who give back to the business community.”

The Women’s Enterprise Centre hosts a network of more than 150 mentors across the province and provides skills development, business loans and other resource services to more than 137,000 women business owners in B.C.

“Mentoring is a really important aspect of succeeding in business,” added Douglas. “It helps women increase their confidence, get over the feeling of isolation, helps makes sure women aren’t re-inventing the wheel and that they are getting input on their issues from someone who has already ‘been there, done that’.”

Victoria Lennox, chief executive officer and co-founder of Start-up Canada said, “For the whole Canadian mentorship challenge, we didn’t know what we were going to get. We were absolutely blown away by Women’s Enterprise Centre’s activities. We also really appreciated the way Women’s Enterprise Centre brought all their events together in one presentation to show us the impact those events had on their communities.”

Douglas credit the Women’s Enterprise Centre’s amazing team that reached women business owners all over B.C. through in-person  events in Kelowna, Vancouver and Victoria, plus a phone-in session with mentors from Prince George and Vancouver; two Twitter Chats; a Facebook Ask the Expert event; and one-to-one mentoring.

“Our multimedia and online activities coupled with newspaper articles a television news broadcast and YouTube viewers engaged a total of 4,557 people in 20 communities,” she said.

The timing of the Canadian Mentorship Challenge comes as the Women’s Enterprise Centre is waiting on news of its provincial funding for this coming year.

“As a non-profit organization we look forward to hearing that our provincial funding request has been approved,” Douglas said.

“Our mentoring program is so well-established and so strong.

We’ve been told by people that when they are approved to enter our mentoring program, they tell us it’s like winning the lottery—that’s how much they value our program.”

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