In this episode of Business Matters, presented by Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union, host Rob Cupello is joined by Jill Earthy, Chief Executive Officer of WeBC (formerly the Women's Enterprise Centre of BC), to discuss the unique challenges facing women entrepreneurs in BC.
Offering business loans, mentorship, free info sessions and a range of programs to help women entrepreneurs succeed, WeBC provides support at every step of the entrepreneur’s journey, whether they’re just starting out or are looking for growth opportunities.
Although Jill says the goal of WeBC is “to not have to exist,” the non-profit organization continues to play a vital role in increasing women’s access to entrepreneurship in BC. Even in 2021, Jill says, there is still work to be done to remove the unique barriers women entrepreneurs face. For example, women entrepreneurs in BC receive less than 20% of traditional bank loans.
The last 18 months have been particularly telling, with the COVID-19 pandemic hitting women—especially women entrepreneurs—disproportionately hard. The reasons for these inequalities differ from sector to sector and woman to woman and present complex barriers to achieving equal opportunity in BC’s business world.
“Women did take on increased care responsibilities during the pandemic,” she explains. “There’s [also] a higher proportion of women in industries like tourism and the service sector, which we know were hard hit.”
Though the solutions aren’t easy, WeBC strives to take an individualized and holistic approach to finding answers to challenges faced by women entrepreneurs across the province.
Watch the video below to learn more about how WeBC supports women in business and the direction the organization is taking to enhance its programs and services.
You can also listen to this episode on our Business Matters podcast. Click below!