RISE Needs Assessment Report 2022

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 continues to develop the RISE Windsor-Essex Needs Assessment Report. Based on community consultations, the reports provide an overview of the challenges facing women in their careers as entrepreneurs, and the successes of community organizations, entrepreneurs, and education institutions.

The main challenges facing local entrepreneurs identified include: lack of specific services for diverse women, limited programming for later stage businesses, and a need for more local business advisors. Diverse female entrepreneurs are looking for services from organizations that understand their different lived experiences and embraces diversity within their staff, including racialized and Indigenous women. Women looking to grow their companies are finding limited programming and opportunities to do so locally, especially those outside of tech. Additionally, women from all stages of business are looking for advisors and mentors that can assist with their more niche business needs, like product development, non-profit supports, and IPs.

The celebrated successes for our community include: organizational expertise growth, increased interest in STEM, supported growth from vender to storefront, and more one-on-one learning opportunities. New and growing organizations, like Women of Windsor Mentorship Collaborative, are being recognized and contracted for their expertise by other organizations in the ecosystem. The Women in STEM Club at St. Clair College is leading more women into STEM networks and encouraging female students to consider STEM entrepreneurial ventures. The Downtown Farmer’s Market was a major support to local small businesses in the community, acting as a strong stepping stone for those looking to open a storefront. The increase in one-on-one counselling by service providers was a great support for entrepreneurs that needed sector- or stage-specific business advisement.

Recommendations for the community include: development of targeted supports for Indigenous and immigrant entrepreneurs, increased collaboration between service providers, increased entrepreneurship supports in the county. As there is no current service provider that focuses on immigrant or Indigenous entrepreneurs, existing service providers need to ensure that they are serving all local populations while having diverse staff and contractors to serve clients. Partnerships that serve a diverse group of female entrepreneurships will ensure that combined resources are used to serve a larger group of clients without redundancies while creating opportunities for service providers with various expertise or specialties to work together, rather than parallel to each other in the ecosystem, creating a stronger pathway for clients. To best reach clients in the County, service providers should jointly operate a hub facility, with capital investments from the community and municipalities. A permanent facility with many service options will best support those that are seeking support but don’t have the capacity to travel to Windsor for the only current service options.

To read more about how Windsor-Essex supports female entrepreneurs, read the  RISE Needs Assessment Report series.

Learn more on the RISE Windsor-Essex Website:  www.risewindsoressex.com

For more information, contact Tashlyn Teskey, Manager of Projects and Research, at tteskey@workforcewindsoressex.com.