March 8th is International Women’s Day, a chance to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. It’s a hugely important day in the calendar, as it also highlights women’s rights and the need to improve equality in business and life in general around the world.
Of course, every day is a good one to celebrate and support local women-led businesses. Never has this been more important than during the COVID-19 pandemic. Women have been especially hard hit by pandemic-related job losses—experiencing a 9.9% fall in employment compared to 6.3% for men.
On the upside, our female entrepreneurs are an increasingly vital cog in the B.C. economy. Women made up 38% of all business owners in the province in 2019, with the growth in women entrepreneurs outstripping that of men from 2014 to 2019. Encouragingly, the number of young females starting their own businesses increased by 31.3% during that period. Here’s the inspiring story of one young Indigenous entrepreneur, Kari Morgan
The BC Marketplace features hundreds of amazing women-led businesses across our province. For International Women’s Day, we’re sharing female leaders who have dedicated their lives to supporting other women business owners, or broke the ceiling by stepping into a male dominated industry:
Womenexcel Consultancies in Victoria is all about innovation. The business consultancy provides talent development, leadership consulting, and executive coaching services and programs to organizations, entrepreneurs, and individuals. For many people, the pandemic has become a chance to reflect and consider different paths and new opportunities. Womenexcel is a great resource for building your leadership skills and growing your business.
Even though cybersecurity is a fast-growing sector, women only make up 10% of the cybersecurity workforce in Canada. WCS2 is Canada’s first and only women in cybersecurity non-profit. Women founded and operated, the organization has developed an “ecosystem” to support and help women throughout the lifecycle of their careers. Since 2018, its aim is to advance and retain women and marginalized groups in cybersecurity for a more diverse and inclusive community. WSC2 is running a petition to make September 1st an annual “International Women in Cyber Day” Sign here.
Gals Collab Boutique is a Canadian success story, as well as a female entrepreneurship one. Owner Romina Gianna moved to Canada from Caracas, Venezuela. She started her boutique to bring together female creators to provide fashion accessories “that will make women feel confident and proud to showcase them.” So far, she has helped six designers, all originally from Venezuela and Panama, expand their businesses into new markets.
True North Distillery is British Columbia’s first female-owned and operated craft distillery. As if that’s not achievement enough, True North also produce Canada’s first (and only) Artisanal Rums and won a Gold Medal for their Muscat Liqueur. Other tipples on their menu include Low Oak Irish/Scotch/Canadian Whiskeys, a full-bodied Elderberry Gin, and two Absinthes. The founders are proud to be blazing a trail for women in B.C.’s growing craft alcohol sector, and they actively encourage others to follow in their fermenting footsteps through their summer intern program. Cheers to that!
Caitlin Pickett and Jessica Nobrega started Grace & Flow to bring healthy wellness practices to women in the Okanagan and beyond. Their events, retreats, workshops, and—in these house-bound times—virtual yoga classes help women treat their body, mind, and soul to a little TLC. This year they launched a new Inform & Inspire speaker series. Their network of female mentors and experts deliver virtual workshops focusing on two streams: Health & Wellness and Business & Career. It’s a fantastic opportunity to meet and learn from female entrepreneurs and leaders in your community.
Got a business idea or need to take your business online during the pandemic? Orange Oranges specializes in helping small and mid-size businesses take advantage of the opportunities offered by digital—from website development to social media and digital marketing. Co-founder Santoshi is herself an award-winning entrepreneur. Who better to help launch or improve your enterprise? Give them a call for a free consultation.
The F School’s female founders decided to create an online school to teach women the skills that should be taught in school or university—but aren’t. That includes how to boost your confidence, renegotiate your salary, or support friends through sexual assault. The pandemic has created specific challenges for women in particular. The F School responded by adding courses to support women working from home and dealing with difficult and changing work circumstances.
Help B.C. continue to provide opportunities for girls and women in their communities by searching for more women-run businesses in the BC Marketplace.
We respectfully acknowledge our place of work is within the ancestral, traditional and unceded territories of the Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ilwətaʔɬ/sel̓ílwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and that we serve the Peoples of the many Nations throughout British Columbia.