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Re: Vancity Community Foundation Pilot Project to Support Financing Opportunities for Growth for Women Entrepreneurs

Re: Vancity Community Foundation Pilot Project to Support Financing Opportunities for Growth for Women Entrepreneurs

Project Summary
Vancity Community Foundation (VCF) is leading the Women Entrepreneurs – Financing Opportunities and Growth project (found online at focusing on how to strengthen the participation of women as business owners – particularly newcomer, aboriginal and social entrepreneurs.

VCF proudly acknowledges the financial support from Status of Women Canada to deliver this project. VCF is also grateful to Vancity credit union for its role as an advisor; the financial cooperative operate a variety of community impact lending and investment programs that help build healthy, sustainable communities. Vancity has identified the need to support women entrepreneurs to help them access financing to build capacity, opportunities and economic independence.

The Women Entrepreneurs – Financing Opportunities and Growth project was officially launched last August and will run through until May 2013. We have completed the first set of project activities including:

• establishing internal and community stakeholder project advisory groups;
• surveying the landscape of existing supports (financial and advisory) for entrepreneurs to grow their businesses; and
• collecting data from service providers and entrepreneurs (interviews & focus groups) concerning how women and men operate as entrepreneurs.

This Pilot Project phase involves implementing a one-on-one business coaching for female entrepreneurs to develop a business growth plan. At the end of 5 months – the pilot starts in June 2012 and runs through November 2012 - all entrepreneurs will make a business plan presentation/pitch for financing to a panel of Vancity and other financiers.

Women entrepreneur pilot participants are not asked to pay project fees or otherwise pay for the consulting, advice and resources they will access throughout this pilot phase.

Our intention for this pilot initiative and the Project in general is to provide a model that can be adapted & replicated in other communities by community-minded financial service organizations interested in establishing more strategic approaches to better serve diverse entrepreneurial profiles.

Participating Women Entrepreneurs:

  • Ally (Wan Qing) Glandell, Business:      Glandell Enterprises Inc.
  • Julie Wu, Business: Orling & Wu Home Ltd.
  • Brenda Cadman & Tamara Brooks, Business: October 17 Media Inc
  • Michelle Nahanee, Business: Michelle Nanahee Communications Design                       
  • Ramona MacLeod, Business:    Big Mama Student Services Ltd
  • Madeleine Shaw & Suzanne Siemens, Business: Lunapads International Products Ltd
  • Allanah Mooney, Business: Lionheart Productions Inc.
  • Katherine Dodds, Business: Good Company Communications Inc.
  • Kanako Takegishi, Business: Queensberry Flower Company Inc.
  • Vanessa LeBourdais, Business: DreamRider Productions

Participating Business Coaches:

  • Melanie Rupp
  • Deena Chochinov
  • Suzanne Doyle-Ingram
  • Felicia  Lee
  • Jill Earthy

More information about the participants and coaches is available at the project website and Twitter at: WECommunityca

For interviews please contact:  Helesia Luke at 778-786-2838 or Joanne Norris at 604-877-7505