Happy Global Entrepreneurship Week everyone! If you’re not familiar with Global Entrepreneurship Week, the world’s largest celebration of the innovators and job creators, I encourage you to visit this website. During Global Entrepreneurship Week, organizations around the world are hosting events from large-scale competitions to intimate networking events. And I’ve decided to host an official event of my own. I’m still growing my new business, but I felt it was important to be a part of GEW by hosting an event specifically for millennial women entrepreneurs.
Research from around the globe shows that countries who narrow gender equality gaps also achieve strong economic performance (Women's Enterprise Centre, 2014). According to the United Nations, economically empowered women improve performance, boost productivity, and increase household income; leading to improved lives for their families (Empower Women, 2015). In Canada, majority women-owned small and medium-sized businesses contribute to $117 billion of economic activity each year (The Canadian Commissioner Trade Service, 2013). Yet, the number of young adults who see entrepreneurship as a viable career path is on the decline (Cassinath, 2015). Being a woman and being young presents unique barriers to entrepreneurship. A report by the Women’s Enterprise Centre (British Columbia) states “women report more than men that personal and entrepreneurial skills are issues that are impacting their business success” (Women's Enterprise Centre, 2014). Research also shows that barriers faced by Canadian women entrepreneurs are rooted in personal, firm-related, and external causes (Women's Enterprise Centre, 2014). These barriers include lack of confidence, lack of financial literacy, limited access to capital and difficulty with business planning (Women's Enterprise Centre, 2014). Women entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 30 are especially at risk because they are less likely to have sufficient business experience. And they are more likely to have student debt that impedes their ability to secure financing for a new venture (Industry Canada, 2002).
When I read these facts, it was almost like reading a checklist of my experience with entrepreneurship. This is why I want to be able to empower Canadian millennial women to start and grow prosperous businesses through a project I am preparing for 2016. But this week, how about we talk about our business experiences and dreams over coffee and cupcakes? On Sunday, I will be hosting “Cupcakes & Conversations” a coffeehouse event for networking and story-telling among millennial women entrepreneurs. The event will be held at Studio 89 Café in Mississauga, Canada. The event is free and all are welcome to attend in support. I’m also giving a special gift to the first 50 who RSVP on Eventbrite. You can find more information about the event on the official GEW Canada event page. You can also follow the #GEWCanada hashtag on Twitter and Instagram. And of course, I’ll report back next week to let you know how the event went and what’s inside the special gift.
Cassinath, N. (2015, March 2). Are Youth Turning Away from Entrepreneurship? Retrieved October 7, 2015, from Youth Profit: http://youthprofit.ca/are-youth-turning-away-from-entrepreneurship/
Empower Women. (2015). Empower Women Brochure. Retrieved October 7, 2015, from Empower Women: http://www.empowerwomen.org/en/~/documents/2015/07/02/19/31/empower-women---brochure
Industry Canada. (2002). Financing SMEs in Canada: Barriers Faced by Women, Youth, Aboriginal and Minority Entrepreneurs in Accessing Capital. Ottawa, Canada: Government of Canada.
The Canadian Commissioner Trade Service. (2013). Facts and Figures on Canadian Women Entrepreneurs. Ottawa, Canada: Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada.
Women's Enterprise Centre. (2014). Women's Entrepreneurship in BC and Canada - Fall 2014. Kelowna, BC: Women's Enterprise Centre.