WeBC Workshops and Webinars
To get the most out of our sessions, we highly recommend joining our webinars in person. But we get it, life is busy!
Yes, we record all workshop sessions and a link to the recording is sent to all registrants via email following the session.
Recordings of paid webinars are available for 30 days following the session.
We’re here to ensure every woman is able to access support! If you would like to request a bursary, please contact our Client Service team to complete your complimentary registration.
It depends on the series. Please read the series description to learn about the format.
Some of our programs are delivered using a cohort model, so you can make strong connections with other women and build your network.
Others, like our HR, Export or Financial Series give you the option to attend some or all sessions. We do offer a discount for signing up for the whole series!
You will receive a Zoom link in your confirmation email when you register for the series.
We also send out a reminder email a day or two before each session, which includes the Zoom link and any relevant materials.
Didn’t receive your reminder email? Please check your junk folder, then contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll be happy to re-send it.
WeBC Business Loans
WeBC provides loans for BC women who are Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents of Canada and who are starting, purchasing or expanding a business in BC. We determine whether:
- The business idea is strong, realistic and workable
- The strategy to carry out the plan is viable
- The business is at least 51% owned and operated by women
- The owners have the necessary skills, talents and experience to implement the plan
At its discretion, WeBC may fund competing business ventures.
Our free phone-in Business Loan Info Session provides you with more information regarding our lending criteria and the application process.
We want you to have a good understanding of our program and what you’ll need before you apply.
Participation in our free, phone-in Business Loan Info Session is necessary to provide you with all the information you’ll need, including instructions on how to apply for a loan.
We can guide you through the process to get your plan in shape, including helping you put together financial projections. Some ways you can fill gaps in your business plan include:
- Download our free Business Plan Guidelines – a great place to start. Existing businesses that have at least two full years of solid business performance can start with our existing business requirements.
- Purchase the Creating Your Business Plan Workbook: A Step by Step Guide to Your Business Success. This comprehensive guide takes you through each step of the business planning process—from thinking about starting a business to ticking off your business plan checklist.
- Access additional free business planning resources in our online resource library.
- Register for our business courses and workshops for women. View upcoming business skill workshops and networking events in our event calendar.
- Check out our Business Plan Review Service, a comprehensive analysis of your business plan by an experienced Business Advisor.
Still have questions? Call us at 1.800.643.7014 or send us a note and our Client Service team will help you find the resources you need or connect you with a Business Advisor who can answer your questions.
We do everything we can to work with you to ensure the loan is right for your situation, and to avoid saddling you with debt for a business that cannot support you. We want you to succeed!
Unlike traditional lenders, our business loans are bundled with complimentary, professional support to help you make the most of your loan. As a loan client, you will be matched with a personal Business Advisor who works with you throughout the term of your loan and beyond to give you hands-on support on any issues that may come up in your business.
If your business plan is strong and workable and you have developed the skills and traits needed to operate a business through other means, then your application will be given full consideration.
WeBC believes that learning business skills is critical to your success, so we offer many ways you can gain knowledge and confidence in business:
Once we have received all of the information we require, it will take approximately four weeks to complete our assessment and give a final lending decision.
The length of the process depends on the completeness and complexity of your plan and your level of experience.
WeBC secures its loans to the fullest extent possible given the applicable venture risk.
Applicants who cannot provide security may apply for an unsecured loan – please talk to your Business Advisor to learn more.
Loans that are unsecured are subject to a higher interest rate. A qualified guarantor can help in situations where security is limited.
WeBC typically requires a minimum equity of 25%. Some exceptions may apply – talk to your Business Advisor.
What kind of support is right for you? It depends on your business challenges and goals.
A Business Advisor (BA) assists many types of businesses at all stages of the business cycle.
She can provide complimentary advice and resources on general business issues such as marketing, business planning, strategic planning, accessing capital, managing cash flow, international trade and more.
You may need a BA if…
- You have a specific business question
- You’re struggling with a certain aspect of your business
- You need help completing a plan – business, growth, financial or marketing
- You just need someone who can point you in the right direction for information or other resources
A Mentor is a volunteer with business experience who offers support, guidance and knowledge to Mentees who are in their first three years of business.
They share their own experiences – what’s worked for them and what hasn’t – and help their Mentee achieve her goals to set her on the road to self-sufficiency. We connect you with a mentor as part of our structured mentoring programs.
You may need a Mentor if…
- You feel isolated as a business owner, and would like to share your triumphs and tribulations
- You’d like ideas and opinions from people with an outside perspective
- You’d like to build your networks in the business community
- You want to increase your business knowledge and build confidence
One-to-One Mentoring matches women in the early stages of operating a business with women who have five plus years experience running a business. Matches are based on:
Industry experience or knowledge
- Mentor business expertise and Mentee business challenges
Mentors and Mentees will meet for a minimum of two hours a month for six months; meetings can be held in person, by phone, e-mail or online tools.
Mentees develop three business goals they would like to achieve over the course of the six months they are working with a Mentor. Those goals then become the basis of the mentoring relationship.
By focusing on achieving their goals with the support and guidance of a Mentor, Mentees will develop the confidence and skill they need to succeed in business.
A Mentee is an entrepreneur in the early stages of operating a business who is motivated and committed to work towards her business goals and report on any progress or stumbling blocks to a Mentor.
Mentees must be willing to:
- Dedicate a minimum of two hours a month to the mentoring relationship
- Set three business goals to work towards
- Receive constructive feedback
- Accept suggestions and advice
- Be open to new ideas and change
- Be respectful of their Mentor
- Take initiative in maintaining a relationship with a Mentor
Commit to the development and growth of their business
New entrepreneurs can find power and confidence in sharing their concerns with a Mentor who is a guide, a role model, a sounding board and a supporter. This can help women tap into the experiences of mentors for a second opinion – or sometimes emotional support – and think ahead with clarity and vision.
Mentees benefit from:
- Receiving personalized advice
- Improving their business knowledge
- Receiving an outside perspective
- Increased productivity
- Growing confidence from support regarding business decisions
- New networks and partnerships within the business community
- Emotional support
- Relief from isolation through regular, supportive contact with someone who cares about them and their businesses
All applications will be reviewed for eligibility. Successful applicants must be:
- Actively operating a business in British Columbia and generating revenue
- In the early stages of business operation (in the first five years)
- Female and over the age of 19
- Available for a minimum of two hours a month for six months
Eligible applicants will be contacted by our Mentoring Coordinator with further details about participation in the program. A one-time fee of $150 is required to secure your space in the program and full bursaries are available.
We have multiple application intakes throughout the year. If you are eligible and would like to participate in the One-to-One Mentoring Program, be sure to sign up for our eBlasts for the latest updates on the intakes of our Mentoring Program.
If you are a loan client of WeBC, you may apply to be matched with a mentor anytime; you do not need to wait for an intake, and the program is complimentary as part of your loan care. Please contact your Business Advisor for more information.
Pre-start-ups are not eligible for the mentoring program; however, you can seek professional guidance from our Business Advisors.
We encourage Mentees to make specific Mentor requests!
If there is a person in business who you would like to connect with to become your Mentor, please include their name, business and contact information on your application form and we will try to facilitate a match by approaching them on your behalf.
A lot of women business owners, particularly in their first five years of business, are solopreneurs. They’re doing the marketing, the operations, the sales, the financials, the product development – all by themselves!
In a Peer Mentoring group, you get the experience of your mentor, but you also benefit from the diverse viewpoints of the other group members.
There might be a woman who runs a marketing firm but needs guidance with her financials. And in her group, we would place a bookkeeper with years of experience in financial management who needs help growing her business on social media.
So they’ll both work with the experienced mentor, but they can also provide another layer of help for each other in the areas where they’re strong.
Peer Mentoring Groups offer women entrepreneurs opportunities to discuss challenges that new businesses face and maintain a positive outlook needed for business success.
Groups of six to eight women in non-competing businesses meet under the guidance of a Mentor, an experienced entrepreneur who leads the group. The group will meet for six, two-hour sessions to:
- Discuss the challenges of transitioning to self-employment
- Learn from the experiences of others
- Provide support to one another
- Develop new business skills and knowledge
At each session, a different business topic is addressed; these topics are determined by the group members.
You’ll come with a specific problem or opportunity in mind, then the group will discuss the challenge and brainstorm solutions (guided by the mentor). You’ll develop an action plan, then go out and implement it.
Next time, you’ll come back and report on your progress. Did it work, or was it a flop? How can you adjust your strategy? Was it successful and something your fellow mentee can use in her business?
We interview every woman to make sure we don’t have any competing businesses in each group. We want to create a safe and confidential environment so you feel comfortable sharing!
We find a lot of the challenges that women business owners face – like work/life balance, growing their sales, managing too much demand, – transcend industries, and our mentees appreciate the different points of view from different types of business owners.
Every group is led by an established entrepreneur in your community who has been through a lot of the same situations you’re dealing with, and has come out the other side.
The mentor has a knowledge base from her years of running a business, and she’ll share her insights based on her own experiences.
WeBC is accepting applications from women in all BC communities who are interested in facilitating a Peer Mentoring Group. We are seeking successful women in business who have:
- Five years, or equivalent experience, operating their own business
- The willingness to communicate, empathize and inspire trust
- The ability to commit to six sessions over a six month period (minimum of 2-3 hours per month)
- Availability to receive training from WeBC
- The ability to encourage all members to participate actively in the group
- The skill to facilitate balanced sharing between group members
We are currently looking for mentors for the following mentoring programs:
- One-to-One Mentoring: As a mentor, you will be matched with a woman who is in the early stages of operating her business for a six-month mentoring relationship.
- Peer Mentoring Groups: As a peer mentoring group facilitator, you will lead a group of up to eight women as they work through their business challenges and opportunities using a solution-based approach. The group meets six times and decides the focus of each discussion based on the interests and needs of its members (e.g. work/life balance, marketing, networking skills, cash flow management).
Mentors volunteer a total of 16-20 hours over the course of the program, including their facilitator training, prep time and one-on-one or group sessions. The schedule is very flexible and is set by you and your mentee(s).
Yes, we provide training to prepare you for your one-to-one relationship, or to help you facilitate a group of up to eight mentees.
You don’t have to have all the answers! You are supported by a team of professional Business Advisors who can assist your mentee(s) with their business questions.
Mentees are women business owners who are actively operating a business in your community. Our team personally interviews every applicant to find motivated entrepreneurs who have the appropriate level of business foundations to benefit from the program, and who are open to having input from a mentor to help them reach their business goals.
For Peer Mentoring Groups, we provide the tools required to facilitate each session (handbooks, journals, forms, etc.) as well as supporting resources, including webinars and worksheets. Meeting expense allowances are provided to supply refreshments for each session and cover any printing and travel (if required).
For One-to-One matches, we will send you and your mentee welcome packages so you have everything you need!
Common Questions Our Business Advisors Hear
We frequently get asked this question. While in some cases we can give you our initial opinion, generally what you really need is research to determine the potential of your business idea.
As a first step, you need to determine if there are enough people interested enough in your concept to buy it at a price that will make you a profit. And, of course, the potential of your idea will also depend significantly on you and your goals. What may not be a good business for one person, could very well be a good fit for another.
Free related resources
- Market Research Resources
- What is Market Research and What Can it Do for You?
- How to Identify a Target Market and Prepare a Customer Profile
- Taking the Leap to Entrepreneurship – to help you define your goals and find inspiration
- Starting Your Business Guide – to outline the types of questions to ask and where to find answers
A business plan is a vital and dynamic blueprint of your business that will outline the direction it will go, how it will get there and the projected results.
Your business plan should reflect how all the pieces of your company fit together to create an organization capable of meeting its goals and objectives. The plan must be able to communicate your company’s distinctive competence (key competitive advantage).
A business plan is also the key document that investors and lenders rely on when deciding whether or not to finance the business venture. With this in mind, your business plan should reflect a strong degree of professionalism and organization.
While preparing your business plan, try to put yourself in the shoes of the reader. Ask yourself, “As an investor, would I finance this business based on the information provided?” Remember, lenders and investors don’t know your business as well as you, so try to give as much information as possible based on fact and research. Finally, changes occur; therefore, it is essential to update and revise your business plan to reflect changes on an ongoing basis.
Visit our resource library for resources to assist with your business plan writing.
A detailed business plan consists of:
- Executive Summary
- Business Background
- Industry Analysis
- Competitive Analysis
- Marketing Analysis
- Production Plan
- Management Summary
- Implementation Plan
- Financial Plan
Visit our resource library for resources to assist with your business plan writing.
Learning Guide: Creating Your Business Plan Workbook ($15 download)
This comprehensive learning guide takes you through each step of the business planning process, from thinking about starting a business to ticking off your business plan checklist. We’ve designed this resource to help you tackle the questions our Business Advisors hear most. Learn more about the Creating Your Business Plan Workbook >>
Primary research involves going out and gathering data first hand from the source (i.e. surveying potential customers, interviewing suppliers, observing competitors, counting traffic). The advantage of doing primary research is that you can get information on the specific question or problem you need answered, not information that merely applies to your industry or type of business in general.
Secondary research is information that someone else has already gathered and generally published in a form that is easy for you to use. This includes books, articles, publications, internet sources and things like Statistics Canada data. It may be less reliable than primary research because the information you obtain was not developed with your particular problem or situation in mind.
In general, we recommend you start by doing secondary research. This will give you an idea of what information is currently available so that you know what gaps you need to fill in doing your primary research. It is common for information to be available on a Canadian or provincial basis, but it can be more difficult to obtain for your particular market area.
Primary research can be used to test whether the information that is found for a larger area will hold true for your market area and particular target market. It is also a way to get information that is just not available in secondary sources.
For more information on conducting research, visit the Market Research section of our Business Resource Library.
First you need to be really clear in your own mind about exactly what you want to know. What is it you want to find out?
Draft a number of questions that you think will elicit this information. Remember to keep your survey short – most people will give you only a few minutes.
After you have drafted all your questions, test your survey by asking someone you know to answer the questions. Review their answers and see if you are getting the information you want. If not, you will need to revise your questions.
If any of the questions seemed unclear to your test subject, you will also need to revise those questions as well.
It will be easier for you to tabulate the results later if you ask specific questions that require short answers.
Deciding who to survey can also be challenging. You want to ask the kinds of people who are likely to purchase your goods or services.
Asking family and friends to be part of your survey is not a good idea because they are likely biased. Sending a survey out by email isn’t usually productive as so few people respond.
It is best if you can determine where your prospective clients spend time and then ask them personally. An example is getting permission to survey shoppers going into a mall.
We recommend you have your survey reviewed by one of our business advisors while you are in draft stage. We can help you with wording and also help you identify who should be part of your survey group and how you might approach them.
For more information on conducting research, visit the Market Research section of our Business Resource Library.
Accurately estimating cash flow can be very challenging. Essentially, you are taking your market research and converting it into a sales forecast. This means you need to be very specific and thorough in your market research.
You need to determine who your mostly likely customer is (i.e. identify a target market), where they are and how many of them there are. Next, you need to determine, realistically, how many of them would likely purchase from you, at what frequency and how much an average sale would be.
For example, if 300 people purchase two times a month and spend an average of $56.00 each time (300 x 2 x 56 = $33,600.00/month).
Another way is to try and find out how your competition is doing. Remember, though, that you will not open your doors and get the same sales volume as a competitor who has been in business for a number of years.
Be realistic that your sales will start slowly and build. Also remember that some businesses are seasonal and your sales may be lower in some months than others.
Learn more about managing your financials in our Resources section.
There are advantages and disadvantages in incorporating and this is a decision you should discuss with your lawyer and accountant.
Usually what you trade when you incorporate is equity (money) for control. For example, incorporating allows you to sell shares in your company, thereby gaining equity; but, at the same time you give up some of your control over the company to your shareholders. It can also be expensive to incorporate.
Before you register your business name, it is important that you take the time to understand the key reasons for choosing between the three major business structures: sole proprietorship, partnership or corporation.
Research the advantages and disadvantages of these structures. If you need additional assistance in choosing the correct structure for your business, we recommend that you consult legal and accounting professionals.
Registering your business name is a fairly simple process if you are planning a sole proprietorship or partnership.
Setting up a corporation can be much more complex, depending on your business needs. While you can incorporate yourself, many people require the assistance of legal and/or accounting professionals to ensure they get the correct setup for their business.
You can find all the information you need to register your business at the One Stop BC Business Registry.
As the name suggests, this site will also let you register for other key accounts you may need for your business such as GST, PST, payroll deductions, Workers Compensation Board, municipal business licenses, etc.
Learn more about registering your business in our Free Starting a Business Info session.
If you have invented something, please check the Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) for information on how to get patents/copyrights/trademarks.
Check out our Networking Connections page! We are also co-founder and co-chair of the WEB Alliance of Women’s Business Networks, which can help you access a networking group in your area.
You can also contact your local Chamber of Commerce for additional contact information for other networking groups or call us at 1.800.643.7014 for contact information to a group in your local area.