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Local Women in Entrepreneurship and Women in STEM Network Launched

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

A group of local not-for-profit organizations has joined together to launch RISE – a network of organizations that are empowering women in entrepreneurship and women in STEM in Windsor-Essex County.

Led by Nicole Anderson, Program Director, Women’s Entrepreneurship Strategy and supported by Sabrina DeMarco, Executive Director, Small Business Centre, RISE has been established to create a suite of services available to women by amalgamating resources available in the Windsor-Essex region through a user-friendly interface.

Anderson, DeMarco, and founding partners: WindsorEssex Small Business Centre; WEtech Alliance; EPICentre; Build A Dream; WorkForce WindsorEssex; and Windsor Essex Capital Angel Network; all share one common goal for RISE – increase representation in, and leadership roles for women in STEM and entrepreneurship, in the region and in Canada.

In 2019, Minister Mary NG, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion announced a $19 million investment by the Government of Canada to support the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy Ecosystem Fund. $692,000 was set aside for the Windsor-Essex region to support women entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses in emerging technology sectors such as agri-food, automation, automotive, and mobility. These funds have enabled The Small Business Centre to launch a localized Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) – spearheaded by Anderson.

WES funding was established, but the method to make positive change had yet to be created. Anderson reviewed the statistics of women-led companies in Windsor-Essex and Canada. She conducted a strategic audit of organizations (both for-profit and not-for-profit) to understand the resources that are available to women – specifically in the STEM and Entrepreneurship fields. Finally, Anderson interviewed dozens of women entrepreneurs to determine the structures which need to be in place to support innovation.

After meeting with key stakeholders in the region, Anderson came to a “wonderful realization.” “All the resources necessary to foster entrepreneurship and promote women in STEM related fields are already in place in Windsor-Essex,” said Anderson. “The key element that is not, however; is an organization whose mission is to tie these resources together - - enter Rise.”

RISE and the accompany RISE website officially launch at the inaugural International Women’s Day event – How Women Are Using Technology to Change the World, held on March 5th at the Water’s Edge Event Centre.

With its members, RISE aspires to host an annual summit to feature key activities taking place in the region. This summit will also host a pop-up shop, deliver influential speakers and facilitate a must-attend networking event.

RISE is actively looking for individual or company members to join the RISE network. Organizations that empower women are encouraged to join. There is no cost to becoming a member. Visit risewndsoressex.com to find more information regarding membership. Additionally, follow @RiseWindsorEssex on social media to keep abreast of ongoing developments in the region.

Empowered women empower women; RISE together.

• In 2019, only 16% of SMEs in Canada were majority women-owned.
• The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor Canada 2015/2016 Report on Women’s Entrepreneurship indicated that 13.3% of early-stage activity was female owned.
• Advancing gender equality has the potential to add $150 billion in incremental GDP to the Canadian Economy by 2016
• Only 3% of women in Windsor-Essex declare self-employment as their source of income comparted to 17% nationally