As a business owner, you know it’s a challenge to stay on top of everything and keep balance in your life. Peer Groups offer feedback and fresh perspectives on your business challenges with a solution-based approach.
Facilitated by an experienced woman entrepreneur in your community, the group decides the focus of each meeting based on the interests and needs of its members.
Some of the key benefits of our program include:
- Benefit from the insights and experience of a group
- If 2 heads are better than 1, how about 6 or 7?
- Don’t tackle issues on your own—find resolutions with the group
- Explore alternative solutions or approaches you may not get to on your own
- Peer groups exponentially extend your network: Need new talent? Tap your peer group for referrals.
*Please note that ‘pre-startups’ are not eligible for the mentoring program, however, you can seek professional guidance from our Business Advisors.
All applicants must be:
- Actively operating a business in BC that generates revenue
- In the first five years of operating your business
- Identify as a woman, and over the age of 19
- WeBC offers multiple Peer Groups around BC throughout the year.
- When a group is confirmed, applications will be open until all spots are filled.
- Our Mentoring team interviews all applicants to ensure the group includes non-competing businesses with complementary needs and goals.
- Successful applicants are accepted into the program after payment of a $150 program fee (full bursaries are available and the program is free for WeBC loan clients).
- Unsuccessful applicants will stay on our program waitlist and will be notified when the next group opens in their area.
We’re hosting Peer Groups throughout BC in 2022! Please sign up for our eBlasts to be notified if a new group opens in your area.
Only 8 spots available per group—APPLY NOW!
- Burnaby and Area (In-Person) | Facilitated by Tamara Thompson Levi, Shine Dance Festival – Full
- 8 In-Person Sessions | Fridays, 10am to 12pm
- November 4, 18, December, 16, January 6, 20, February 3, 17, March 3
- 4388 Creek Side Drive Burnaby (Near Willingdon and Gilmore Stations)
- Kootenays (Virtual) | Facilitated by Eva Hernandez, Bill’s Heavy Duty Enterprises Ltd. – Full
- Presented in partnership with Community Futures Central Kootenay
- 9 Virtual Sessions | Thursdays, 10am to 12pm
- January 19, February 2, 9, 16, 23, March 2, 9, 16
- Nelson, Businesses in Arts & Culture (In-Person) | Facilitated by Pat Henman, Performing Artist, Theatre Director, Educator, Author – Full
- Presented in partnership with Community Futures Central Kootenay, Nelson and Area Economic Development Partnership and Nelson and District Arts Council
- 9 In-Person Sessions | Thursdays, 6:30pm to 8:30pm @ Nelson Community Futures
- Intro session Monday, January 9 from 7pm to 8pm
- Mentoring sessions January 12, 19, 26, February 2, 9, 16, 23, March 2
- Businesses in the Food and Beverage Industry (Virtual) | Facilitated by Lyndsay Scott, Kindred Cultures – Full
- Presented in partnership with BC Food and Beverage (BCFB) and Farm Credit Canada (FCC)
- Exclusive group only for members of BC Food and Beverage
- 9 Virtual Sessions | Thursdays, 9:30am to 11:30am
- January 12, 19, 26, February 2, 9, 16, 23, March 2, 9
- Includes access to a BCFB chat forum to stay connected with other women, and a wrap-up dinner hosted by BCFB!
- Lower Mainland (Virtual) | Facilitated by Sara Wang, VIV Coaching – Full
- 9 Virtual Sessions | Mondays, 8:30am to 10:30 am
- January 16, 23, 30, February 6, 13, 20, 27, March 6, 13
Frequently Asked Questions - Peer Groups
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.
This means 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.
A Mentee is an entrepreneur in the early stages of operating a business who is committed to developing her business, achieving business goals, and improving her business skills and knowledge.
Mentees must be willing to:
- Share business challenges and issues
- Contribute ideas and experiences to help other Mentees
- Receive constructive feedback
- Accept suggestions and advice
- Open up to new ideas and change
- Respect the other group members
- Keep the confidentiality of the group discussions
Peer Mentoring Groups acknowledge women’s preference for learning through the experiences of others. New entrepreneurs can find power and confidence in sharing their concerns with a mentor and peers in a group setting.
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
Successful applicants must be:
- Actively operating a business in British Columbia and generating revenue
- In the early stages of business operation (the first three years)
- Female and over the age of 19
Eligible applicants will be contacted by WeBC for a brief interview to learn more about their businesses and get more details about participation in the program.
Pre-start-ups are not eligible for the mentoring program; however, you can seek professional guidance from our Business Advisors.
The cost to participate in our Peer Mentoring program is $150 per person; however, full bursaries are available.