Southern Ontario Spotlight - March 2022

Southern Ontario Spotlight

FedDev Ontario’s focus on economic development

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In support of International Women’s Day earlier this month, this issue of the Southern Ontario Spotlight recognizes and celebrates the achievements of women entrepreneurs and business leaders in southern Ontario.

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Making Headlines

Minister Jaczek provides opening remarks at StrikeUP women’s conference

Minister Jaczek provides opening remarks at StrikeUP women’s conference

On March 3, the second annual StrikeUP Canada digital conference was held virtually, with more than 3,700 participants in attendance representing all provinces and territories, and 25 countries globally. Founded by the Northumberland Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC), with support through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) Ecosystem Fund, the StrikeUP conference featured keynote speakers, panel discussions, workshops, and networking and support resources. The theme of this year’s conference was Decision Points, focusing on key insights from panel participants on taking decisive action, aligning decisions with core values, and the importance of long-term thinking and planning for accelerated growth. FedDev Ontario’s Minister Helena Jaczek was in attendance to provide opening remarks.

“The Government of Canada is proud to support women entrepreneurs, Northumberland CFDC and StrikeUP 2022, uniting thousands of women business owners, leaders and experts to break down barriers for women entrepreneurs. Through the WES fund, nearly 17,000 women in southern Ontario have been supported, including more than 500 Indigenous women entrepreneurs. Our government is committed to the success of women entrepreneurs in Canada and by working together with an ecosystem of partners, we will continue to drive inclusive, resilient, and innovative economic growth for Canadians.”

- The Honourable Helena Jaczek, Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

Featured speakers included Joanna Griffiths, Founder and CEO of Knixwear, Suzie Yorke, Founder and CEO of Love Good Fats, and Amber Mac, President of Amber Mac Media Inc., as well as Joella Hogan, Founder & CEO of Yukon Soaps Company, who participated in the Indigenous Stream focused on the contributions of Indigenous women entrepreneurs.

FedDev Ontario is proud to celebrate and support the success of southern Ontario’s women entrepreneurs through the delivery of the Government of Canada’s WES Ecosystem Fund, which aims to increase women-owned businesses' access to the financing, talent, networks and expertise they need to start up, scale up and access new markets. Across southern Ontario, FedDev Ontario has provided nearly $34 million in WES Ecosystem Fund support to 19 organizations, including the Northumberland CFDC.

Access to the full slate of StrikeUP events and recordings is available by visiting strikeup.ca.

 
Government of Canada announces Jobs & Growth Fund support for Lubecore International Inc.

Government of Canada announces Jobs & Growth Fund support for Lubecore International Inc.

Minister Jaczek announced a $755,500-investment through the Jobs and Growth Fund for Lubecore International Inc., a Campbellville-based manufacturer of state-of-the-art automated lubrication systems. These systems contribute to the overall sustainability of the sectors Lubecore serves, by increasing the longevity of manufacturing machinery. With this support, Lubecore will purchase equipment to modernize its production facility and adopt digital technologies to support business expansion, and is expecting to create 15 skilled jobs. Minister Jaczek also celebrated the leadership role of Lubecore’s Vice President and co-founder, Linda Eisses.

 
Events highlighting southern Ontario women entrepreneurs

Arielle Kayabaga, Member of Parliament for London West, speaking at WOSEN

Events highlighting southern Ontario women entrepreneurs

This month, numerous events were held to show solidarity with trailblazing Canadian women and to highlight support available to entrepreneurs across southern Ontario.

The Women of Ontario Social Enterprise Network’s (WOSEN) hosted Flourishing Together, a conference to showcase, celebrate and support the work of women and nonbinary/genderqueer social entrepreneurs. The event featured networking and pitch sessions, a fireside chat, and Member of Parliament Arielle Kayabaga provided opening remarks on behalf of FedDev Ontario.

In 2019, FedDev Ontario delivered an investment of over $3.5 million to a collaborative of four organizations led by Pillar Nonprofit Network to launch WOSEN programming. Since then 27 cohorts and more than 800 women entrepreneurs have received support to start and grow their social enterprises and businesses, including Indigenous women entrepreneurs, individuals from rural or remote communities, racialized women and newcomers, those representing LGBTQ2+ groups, and women with disabilities. In addition to gaining valuable knowledge and network relationships, the majority of participants surveyed reported feeling more energized, confident, self-motivated, curious in exploring solutions, and motivated to make the world a better place.

CASA Foundation’s Women Inspire 2022 International Women’s Day event, focused on women that have advanced Canada’s trade and economic development landscape. The virtual event hosted more than 740 attendees, including women entrepreneurs, industry leaders, supporters and members from the Ryerson Diversity Institute, and featured roundtable discussions and networking sessions for participants. Attending on behalf of FedDev Ontario was Member of Parliament Rechie Valdez, who provided opening remarks highlighting the importance of government support for women throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond, as well as assistance for women entrepreneurs from underrepresented communities.

 
Four not-for-profit organizations chosen to administer Government of Canada’s Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund

Four not-for-profit organizations chosen to administer Government of Canada’s Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund

The Government of Canada is committed to advancing gender equality and women's economic empowerment through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES), a more than $6-billion investment that aims to increase women-owned businesses' access to the financing, talent, networks and expertise they need to start up, scale up and access new markets.

The $55-million Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund is a key part of this overall strategy, and support through this fund will be administered by four recently announced partner organizations: Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada (WEOC), National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA), Northumberland Development Assistance Corp (NCFDC), and SheEO Canada. Through these not-for-profit organizations, micro-loans of up to $50,000 will be available to women entrepreneurs, particularly for start-ups, under-represented groups or sole proprietorships that experience more difficulty in accessing financing.

Applications for the Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund will open in the coming months. For more information on eligibility, visit the partner organization websites above or the Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund website.

 
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FEDDEV ONTARIO RECIPIENT NEWS AND UPDATES

A trans-pacific partnership supporting Canadian women entrepreneurs
A trans-pacific partnership supporting Canadian women entrepreneurs

Natalia Mykhaylova, WeavAir Founder and CEO

A trans-pacific partnership supporting Canadian women entrepreneurs

The Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (APF Canada) is a leading not-for-profit organization focused on Canada’s relations with Asia, and has worked with some of the country’s brightest women entrepreneurs to accelerate the global adoption of their products and technologies, yet women often face barriers that challenge their ability to succeed. Through a 2019 Government of Canada investment of over $2 million through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) Ecosystem Fund, the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada (APF Canada) is helping address these challenges by providing direct support to 100 women-led companies and indirect support for an additional 500 companies to enter and grow in Asian markets.

One recipient of this APF Canada support is WeavAir, a software & hardware solution for air distribution systems. Led by Founder and CEO, Natalia Mykhaylova, the company saw an opportunity to use its knowledge in the HVAC industry to improve its air quality systems technology to better eliminate organic pollutants, such as those found in viruses and bacteria. Support from APF Canada allowed WeavAir to enter the South Korean market, where its innovative air filtration solution can now be found across Seoul’s metropolitan subway system (which sees more than one billion commuters annually).

Read FedDev Ontario’s success story, for more information on APF Canada and WeavAir.

 
Toronto’s Elizabeth Fry provides training and support for marginalized women starting their own businesses
Toronto’s Elizabeth Fry provides training and support for marginalized women starting their own businesses

Toronto’s Elizabeth Fry provides training and support for marginalized women starting their own businesses

Toronto-based Elizabeth Fry Society provides marginalized women, including existing entrepreneurs and those who have struggled with mental health issues or had legal conflicts, with the tools and support required to launch their own viable businesses. The not-for-profit has been helping women in the region build the confidence, knowledge and capital needed to realize their dreams through its five-month My Start-Up entrepreneur training program. Through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) Ecosystem Fund, FedDev Ontario provided Elizabeth Fry Toronto with over $1 million to support My Start-Up, enabling the organization to move its programming online and develop new tools to improve the program’s workshops.

One participant in the My Start-Up program, Alethia Cadore is a registered psychotherapist and provides counselling services primarily to racially marginalized individuals. Elizabeth Fry’s My Start-Up program gave Alethia the tools that she needed to launch her counselling business, including market and customer research, business models and design, and establishing pricing, as well as opportunities to benefit from mentorship, networking and webinars and workshops.

Another program graduate, Dr. Rebecca Finlason-Harper, Founder and CEO of The Family Civility Institute, was able to make her idea of offering family intervention training to community workers in vulnerable populations a reality. Taking part in the My Start-Up Program provided Rebecca with valuable advice on developing the organizational language used to create The Family Civility Institute. She also learned how to pivot when the pandemic forced her to revaluate her original goals.

For more information on Elizabeth Fry and the Family Civility Institute, read FedDev Ontario’s success story.

 
Women-led tourism operators are adjusting and recovering with Tourism Relief Fund support
Women-led tourism operators are adjusting and recovering with Tourism Relief Fund support

Women-led tourism operators are adjusting and recovering with Tourism Relief Fund support

During the pandemic, the Government of Canada through FedDev Ontario has been delivering vital support for tourism businesses in southern Ontario, providing targeted funding to help businesses and organizations adapt their operations to meet public health requirements and invest in products and services to facilitate their future growth.

An example is IWA Spa in the Blue Mountains. With support through FedDev Ontario, IWA Spa was able to obtain PPE for staff and guests and install measures to support social distancing, such as directional signage, enabling the spa to reopen in a safe manner once restrictions were lifted.

Another example is Ottawa’s white water rafting attraction OWL Rafting, whose customer capacity on the river was reduced by 60 percent. With the support received through FedDev Ontario, delivered by Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Organization, OWL Rafting was able to modify operations to expand the guest experience, including the addition of Café OWL.

“Without the funding we received from Ontario’s Highlands Tourism Organization through FedDev Ontario, Café OWL simply would not have been possible. We appreciate the support made available to our seasonal rural business during such a difficult time and we are looking forward to offering our expanded experience to our guests this summer.”

- Claudia Van Wijk, owner, OWL Rafting on the Ottawa River

Tourism Relief Fund support for tourism businesses will empower these companies to create new experiences and products to attract more visitors, and helps the sector reposition itself to provide the best Canadian tourism experiences we have to offer. For more information, visit FedDev Ontario’s Tourism Relief Fund page.

 
BEP Ecosystem Fund recipient CaribbeanTales announces first cohort for media industry incubator
BEP Ecosystem Fund recipient CaribbeanTales announces first cohort for media industry incubator

BEP Ecosystem Fund recipient CaribbeanTales announces first cohort for media industry incubator

Toronto-based CaribbeanTales, a women-led charity organization dedicated to supporting and strengthening diversity and representation in the Canadian film industry, recently announced the first cohort of its CaribbeanTales Black Incubator and Studio Access Project (CTBISAP), an project that will provide mentorship and training opportunities to Black Canadian filmmakers. Participants will engage in training modules focused on project development, production, and distribution, led by CaribbeanTales staff and its network of mentors.

“CaribbeanTales’ mission is to create new programs to lift up and support Black Canadian filmmakers, helping them reach their full potential. Our Black Incubator & Studio Access project is one of those programs. Thank you to the Canadian Government’s Black Entrepreneurship Program Ecosystem Fund for the timely support of these programs.”

- Frances-Anne Solomon CTMG founder and CEO

In 2021, the Government of Canada provided CaribbeanTales with $648,000 in funding through the Black Entrepreneurship Program Ecosystem Fund to expand the CBISAP in order to support the growth of emerging Black film and television producers and creators in the mainstream media industry.

 
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SOCIAL MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS

In rural areas, businesses in many forms come with their own challenges including, isolation of distance, inadequate rural internet service and the lack of urban-centre resources. Through Ashton Wagner Enterprises’ Business Sisters, rural women entrepreneurs are able to overcome geographical distance by joining peer-to-peer learning opportunities and networking events both virtually and in-person!

We are proud to support Ashton Wagner Enterprises to extend its Francophone events and reach more Francophone entrepreneurs through the Women’s Entrepreneurship Strategy.
https://business-sisters.ca/

As CEO of Signifi Solutions Inc., Jaffer has built a team pushing the boundaries of automated retail, taking retail to the future with her visionary view of the use of robotics and automation.

Propelled by the pandemic, self-serve kiosks and retail is becoming the norm, and Signifi is at the forefront. Seizing growth opportunities, the company has deployed PPE Automated Retail Kiosks to airports across North America and has met global demand for safe, upscale vending machines.

FedDev Ontario is a proud supporter, helping Signifi scale up operations at its Mississauga facility, implement new automation equipment and create 47 highly-skilled jobs.

 

As CEO and co-founder of @TakuRetail, she helps businesses to navigate the digital future with transformative #retailtech. We are proud to support TakuRetail through @ventureLABca!

#IWD2022

Founder Stephanie Rayton knows life can get messy and busy, which is why she founded a “judgement-free” cleaning service. Through @mommymops, Stephanie builds a culture of empowerment, so more women feel comfortable in their homes, in their skin and in their communities.

#IWD2022 

#InternationalWomensDay 

#WomenBusinessLeaders

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Upcoming Events

Apr 20-22

Apr 20-22

CF National Event (Ottawa)

This event will offer participants an opportunity to share updates, best practices, and lessons learned from the pandemic, learn new ways of doing things, and build a path forward through this changing world of ours.

Apr 27-28

Apr 27-28

Womxn in Data Science Conference & Awards (Online)

At the 5th edition of this conference, women in academia, industry, government, and entrepreneurship share their experience on applying data science to their work, with the gal being to close the gap in the data science field. The first two days will be virtual, followed by an in-person gala-style award ceremony.

Apr 28

Apr 28

Canada Growth Summit (Toronto)

This event will focus on policies impacting Canada’s long-term prosperity.

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