[News Release] WeBC Honoured with Inclusive Growth Award from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce 

WeBC October 16, 2023

WeBC initiatives stand out for supporting women-owned businesses impacted by Covid-19 

British Columbia – WeBC is thrilled to announce their unwavering commitment to women entrepreneurs through resources, mentorship, and lending programs and has won the Inclusive Growth Award from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

WeBC’s “Enhancing the Mosaic of Women Entrepreneurs” (EMWE) project was designed to increase support for rural, diverse, and Indigenous women business owners in B.C. Started in 2019, it became a critical program to support women entrepreneurs after the pandemic started in 2020. 

Funded by the Government of Canada’s Women Entrepreneurship Strategy Ecosystem Fund, the highlight of the project was the deployment of Regional Ambassadors who worked in each region of the province to help women access training and mentorship, advisory services, and promotional support for their businesses. 

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce Inclusive Growth Awards selected WeBC as an outstanding organization for its exceptional efforts in promoting diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.

WeBC CEO Shauna Harper (centre) displays the Inclusive Growth Award alongside members of the Kelowna Chamber team (from left) Colleen Clark, Director of Operations; Dan Rogers, CEO; Maryse Harvey, Board Vice-Chair; and Derek Gratz, Board Secretary.

“Inclusion isn’t just a buzzword,” said Diana Palmerin-Velasco, Senior Director, Future of Work at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “It’s a cornerstone of a resilient and thriving business landscape. We’re proud to recognize these exceptional organizations and entrepreneurs who are leading the way in creating a Canada where everyone has a chance to succeed.”

Ian Faris, Senior Vice President, Chamber Network Relations & Advocacy, commented, “These awards embody our vision of an economy that leaves no one behind, and celebrates the winners’ unwavering dedication to creating a more inclusive and equitable business environment. Their exemplary work is a testament to the positive change that can be achieved through collaboration and innovation.”

“We’re honoured to receive the Inclusive Growth Award and to be recognized for our commitment to empowering women entrepreneurs in British Columbia,” says Shauna Harper, WeBC CEO. “We take pride in uniting women business owners, building their confidence, and helping them overcome the ongoing impacts of the pandemic through our programs.” 

The success of the EMWE program was highlighted by the fact that an impressive 95% of women who received mentorship remained in business during the pandemic, 52% hired new staff members, and 27% increased their revenue. 

“WeBC offers so many great resources and support programs, and the experience I had was amazing,” says Miki Talebi, founder of oomé, who participated in a Peer Mentoring Group. “I loved the weekly sessions and cherished how we all supported each other on the challenges we faced, cheering each other on and sharing resources.”

To learn more about the EMWE project and its impact, visit go.we-bc.ca/EMWEreport

EMWE Program Key Highlights 

  • 16,488 support services offered to women entrepreneurs throughout BC
  • 8,818 women served in B.C. rural communities 
  • 1,067 Indigenous women supported
About WeBC

WeBC is a not-for-profit that has been supporting women business owners across the province for over 25 years. Working with our regional partners, we’ve provided thousands of entrepreneurs with business loans and expertise, training, resources, and peer network support to help businesses grow and thrive.

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