As the 2017 statistic of Windsor being the worst city in the country for women continues to spread (Policy Alternatives), Workforce WindsorEssex wanted to highlight the good work that is being done in the Windsor-Essex community and share success stories of women thriving in their careers.
With a focus on female entrepreneurs in Windsor-Essex, Workforce WindsorEssex drafted the RISE Windsor-Essex Needs Assessment Report for 2021. Based on community consultations, the report provides an overview of the challenges facing women in their careers as entrepreneurs, and the successes of community organizations, entrepreneurs, and education institutions. Recommendations for improvement to the local entrepreneurship ecosystem were identified from local success stories and provincial best practices.
The main challenges facing local entrepreneurs identified include: Zoom fatigue, eligibility for financial supports, connecting with peers in the community, and changing governmental regulations due to the ongoing pandemic. Working from home has led to many female entrepreneurs becoming drained from the constant screen time, the lengthened work day, and caregiving responsibilities. The lack of connection with other entrepreneurs, mentors, and advisors has left many women to learn strategies on their own, moving to online advertising and selling, with no in person opportunities to meet and share best practices. Those looking to access the new financial supports available to business owners have found that they are ineligible for many programs due to reasons such as not having employees or having low revenue, both of which are common characteristics of female-owned businesses.
The celebrated successes for our community include: entrepreneurial service provider flexibility, increased intakes of female clients with service providers, and new opportunities for local female entrepreneurs within service provider operations. Many service providers now offer evening and weekend meeting and event opportunities, which are better aligned with entrepreneurs everchanging schedules during the pandemic. In addition to this flexibility and removed geography barriers, service providers have found an increase in their female clientele, likely due to the increased presence of female advisors to support their clients. Many service providers are also supporting female entrepreneurs through contracting them for different work, such as virtual kidsitting opportunities during virtual events.
Recommendations for the community include: targeted programming for underrepresented groups, a business scaling program for women, and sustainability of successful pilot projects. While many new programs were created recently for female entrepreneurs, there is an additional need to have programming that specifically targets those from underrepresented groups, including Indigenous, Black, and 2SLGBTQ+ women. There is also a need for a business scaling program that is designed for women-owned businesses, which typically slower growth. To support the sustainability of the local entrepreneurial ecosystem, local investment needs to be provided for successful programming to continue and grow.
To read more about how Windsor-Essex supports women in STEM and female entrepreneurs, read the 2021 RISE Needs Assessment Report!
You can also check out the 2020 Needs Assessment Report here.
We are beginning to develop the 2022 Needs Assessment Report. If you would like to participate in a consultation and share your perspective on the topic, please contact Tashlyn Teskey, email@example.com.
For more information, contact Tashlyn Teskey, Manager of Projects and Research, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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