Kristel Manes, director of Innovation Guelph, speaks to an audience about a program called the Women’s Economic Advancement Project, aimed at helping women become more successful in the business world. The presentation was held at the Farquhar Street building on Tuesday.
The funding announcement was made on Tuesday at Innovation Guelph by Kellie Leitch, minister of status of women and minster of labour.
The 20-month program, called The Women’s Economic Advancement Project, will kick off this summer and will be run by Innovation Guelph. Women interested in taking part in the project will be placed into peer groups, organized into specific demographics.
The four peer groups include low-income earners; women who are more savvy in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math; existing entrepreneurs; and women who are in transition, such as those changing careers, newly divorced or immigrants.
Within these groups, participants will take part in a series of activities to allow project organizers to study and better understand the group’s needs. The studies will provide information for future workshops and programs to assist entrepreneurially minded women in the area.
Jamie Doran, chief operating officer at Innovation Guelph, said around 20 per cent of local businesses are owned and operated by women. He said he hopes this project will change that statistic over the next five years.
“The goal of this project is to find ways we might raise that to 30 (per cent),” he said.
“In the next 10 years, Guelph’s going to double in size, pretty much . . . that means there’s going to be a whole lot of new businesses in Guelph. So, it’s really up to us which businesses those are.
“Ideally, we’d want 50 per cent of them run by women,” he said.
Kristel Manes, director of Innovation Guelph, is the project leader of the program. She said outside of the research portion of the study, the women volunteers will be learning valuable business skills from guest speakers and other professionals.
She said those women who would like to take part in this project should contact her at email@example.com