Helping women succeed in business

January 15 2013 - Ontario has introduced a new initiative for women entrepreneurs on low incomes.

Six not-for-profit organizations, including the Women's Centre of York Region, will be given funds to support over 800 low-income women who are seeking to build and grow their own businesses.

The organizations will offer:

  • financial literacy training
  • entrepreneurial mentoring
  • skills development, and
  • life skills support

Kirsten Eastwood, Executive Director for Women's Centre of York Region said:

We wanted to create a well-rounded program that would not only give applicants the knowledge and support needed to run a successful business, but the self-confidence to start one from the ground up."

When the women become business ready through these programs they will be eligible to receive microloans (small loans) through a new Microlending for Women in Ontario program to start their own business. Microlending has been successful around the world in lifting women out of poverty. Typically they have targeted at low-income individuals lacking the credit history or collateral needed to start their own businesses. Close to 400 microloans will be given out across Ontario.

According to Laurel Broten, Minister Responsible for Women's Issues:

Women are best able to support themselves and their families when they are empowered to become financially self-sufficient. Microlending has been proven effective in lifting women out of poverty here in Ontario and around the world - allowing women not only to survive, but to thrive."

Reza Moridi, MPP for Richmond Hill said:

This program will help low-income women in York Region by giving them the necessary support and skills to succeed as entrepreneurs. Getting a loan can help start new businesses that will contribute to Ontario's economy."