Women Entrepreneurship

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Women Entrepreneurship

Kingston Economic Development is here to support women-identifying entrepreneurs at various stages of their business through programming, partnerships and a variety of resources.

WE-CAN Programs

Kingston Economic Development is thrilled to be a partner in the WE-CAN (Women Entrepreneurs Can) project that is led by Queen’s University – Office of Partnerships and Innovation and made possible by the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) Ecosystem Fund funded by FedDev Ontario.

The mission of the WE-CAN project is to inspire and empower existing and aspiring women-identifying entrepreneurs by providing them with tools, resources, expert mentors and a network to expand existing businesses and launch new ventures.

Since launching in 2020, the WE-CAN project has supported more than 1,000 women from underrepresented groups and sectors in achieving their entrepreneurial goals.

We acknowledge the support of the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.

The Rural Mentorship program provides dedicated mentorship tailored to support the individual business challenges of the participating rural, women entrepreneurs. The suite of mentors will include regional business leaders and service providers selected for their specific expertise and experience. This program will break down the geographic barriers and develop a long-lasting mentorship and mastermind outreach series to support business growth.

This program is designed for women entrepreneurs starting or growing businesses in rural areas outside the urban centre of Kingston. Priority will be given to rural women in the Frontenac County and Lennox & Addington County areas if programs/services are oversubscribed.

Applications are now open!

The final cohort for the Rural Mentorship program will focus on four sessions dedicated to customized strategies, financial management, legal organization, developing marketing channels, and building strong sales funnels. These sessions are in addition to one-on-one mentorship sessions which will support your business growth.

The program will run from November 22, 2022 till January 17, 2023

Session 1 – Strategy and Goal Setting | November 22, 2022 | 4:00 – 5:30 pm
In this session, you will be able to create a 30, 60, and 90-day plan for your business by setting a focus and determining monthly goals with metrics to measure your success.

Session 2 – Financial Management | November 29, 2022 | 4:00 – 5:30 pm
In this session, finance experts will focus on helping you set up your financial reports and organize your small business activities with accounting software to prepare your business for tax season.

Session 3 – Legal Resources | December 6, 2022 | 4:00- 5:30 pm
In this session, you will learn about business contracts, agreements and intellectual property in order to protect you and your business.

Session 4 – Marketing and Sales | December 13, 2022 | 4:00- 5:30 pm
In this session, you will develop a marketing plan and sales funnel to support your business focus and goals for 2023.

Locations for the in-person sessions will be communicated to the participants of the program. The in-person sessions will not be recorded, please ensure that you are able to attend them before registering for the program.

Apply now!

The LEAD program engages women entrepreneurs in leadership positions who are interested in finding a way to break out of traditional, annualized thinking to achieve a higher level of productivity. This program was developed to catalyze business growth for women entrepreneurs who want to strive to accomplish more both personally and professionally. This program is facilitated by Cheryl Himburg, founder of Key Element Solutions and certified trainer of the 12-Week Year.

Join Cheryl and 9 other women entrepreneurs like yourself to accomplish more in 12 weeks than many do in 12 months. Expand your network, create new connections, and discover your next level!

This program is designed for women entrepreneurs and those in leadership positions within the Kingston Region.

What  to expect:

The LEAD program will kick off with a 4-hour planning session. This is where participants will go through the process of creating their goal and tactical plan for the next 90 days. Over the course of 11 weeks, the cohort will meet weekly for a 60-minute, impactful, virtual group coaching session. Participants will discuss the successes and challenges they are experiencing, assess their results, identify breakdowns and opportunities, and celebrate! Concepts are reviewed to further deepen understanding and coaching is provided to the participants on how to overcome challenges they are experiencing and tap into higher performance and more consistent implementation. LEAD participants will be empowered through ongoing mindset support, and participants will learn how to leverage accountability – not only to themselves but to their support system – to be your best for others, you must first be your best for YOU!

Hire Yourself is a program designed to support women who are newcomers to Canada (last 10 years) who are interested in starting a business in Kingston. The purpose of the program is to support women newcomers in starting their own businesses and strengthening their entrepreneurial skillset. There will be 10 different workshops delivered over 10 months. One-on-one consultation services and networking opportunities will also be available.

This program is offered for women entrepreneurs in the greater Kingston area who are interested in starting or growing a business and who self-identify as a newcomer to Canada, including but not limited to those belonging to a visible/racialized minority or someone with a disability.

What to expect:

· Your skills, talents and motivation to learn about business
· Choosing or refining a business idea that has market value
· Understanding how to plan for starting or growing the business
· Common business terms and concepts for running a business
· How to market your business online and in the community
· How to pitch yourself to customers and business associates
· Government reporting rules for owners and employers
· Ownership and company structures
· How to refine and build the most valuable offer for your customers
· Which resources are available to you to start or grow your business for financing and learning

If you’re interested in participating in Hire Yourself, please contact us today!

The Fast-Track Exporting program is designed for women entrepreneurs who reside in the greater Kingston area and are leading high-growth companies aiming to reach international markets through exporting options and have the potential for significant return on investment.

June 28, 2022 – United Kingston and Export Opportunities for Canadian Companies

Sectoral and trade experts from the TCS in London will discuss doing business in the United Kingdom and provide an overview of the UK market, priority sectors and trade opportunities, as well as the advantages of the Canada-UK TCA agreement for accessing the UK market. Areas of interest include sustainable manufacturing and agri-food trends and potential market opportunities in the UK.

Register now!


“I am very grateful to be a part of this program! The support of these strong women has allowed me to grow as a person and lifts me up with confidence to continue on my journey.”
– Janet F.

“The Rural Mentorship program was a lovely kick-in-the-pants. Set up with a fabulous mentor who had a fresh perspective and insight I needed, I had the chance to learn (and struggle alongside other rural women business owners. I am grateful for the community we discovered here and excited to see the program grow.”
– Brandy W.

Resources & Funding

This fintech-driven microlending platform provides Women-owned businesses with $15,000 microloans in Canada and prioritizes diverse, intersectional and under-served Women.

Apply now!

The government is advancing women’s economic empowerment with the first-ever Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES), representing more than $6 billion in investments and commitments. WES aims to increase women-owned businesses’ access to the financing, talent, networks and expertise they need to start up, scale up and access new markets.

Research and resources on women entrepreneurs in Canada. WEKH is a part of the Government of Canada’s Women Entrepreneurship Strategy that aims to increase women entrepreneurs’ access to financing, talent, networks and expertise.

BDC’s new Thrive Venture Fund and Lab for Women will continue to knock down the barriers that keep Canadian women-led businesses from accessing the capital they need to focus on their vision. Through the new $500 million investment platform, the largest of its kind in the world, the fund will bring value by ensuring women entrepreneurs have access to everything they need to thrive and have a lasting impact on the economy. Learn more!

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