Support for Indigenous Women Entrepreneurs

We know what it’s like to start and grow a business, which is why we’ve developed programs and training that deliver results. After all, knowledge is the best investment you can make in your business!

At Women’s Enterprise Centre, we work to ensure that Indigenous women entrepreneurs have access to business support and advice to help you reach your business goals.

If you’d like to discuss your business ideas, or get business development information, please send us an email or call 1.800.643.7014 ext. 112. We look forward to connecting with you!

How we support Indigenous women entrepreneurs

With personalized support and guidance, we can help you access various support services offered by WEC and our network of partners, including:

Charlene SanJenko, Founder, PowHerhouse Women’s Leadership Accelerator Inc.
Charlene SanJenko
Founder, PowHerhouse Women’s Leadership Accelerator Inc.
WEC Loan Client

Business loans up to $150k

As a development lender, we exist to help women access the financing they need to succeed in business—so you may qualify for a loan from us, even if you have been turned down by other lenders.

We also offer unsecured loans of up to $50,000 for Indigenous women. All our loans are bundled with complimentary advice, training and mentoring.

Learn more about business loans

Free business advisory support and counselling

Our professional Business Advisors provide complimentary support to address your business goals at any stage—from thinking about starting a business to growing internationally.

Have a business question? Ask an Advisor

Gwen Bridge,
Volunteer Mentor

Mentoring connections

A mentor can provide guidance, support and a fresh point of view from an experienced entrepreneur. We have mentors all over BC and intakes throughout the year.

Learn more about Mentoring

Skills development and resources

We offer a range of workshop topics known to be essential to small business success, such as:

  • Business planning for start-up, expansion, and export
  • Market research
  • Marketing and promotion
  • Financing
  • Operations and expansion strategies
  • Financial and cash-flow management
  • Human resources planning

With our support, you can learn the practical, applicable skills that are relevant for the successful operation of your small business.

PLEASE NOTE: Due to COVID-19, all WEC-hosted training is being delivered via webinar until further notice.

View upcoming training

Shannan Schimmelmann,
Entrepreneur in Residence

Access to other programs

Our team also works closely with non-Indigenous organizations that partner with Indigenous communities and organizations, including all levels of government, financial institutions, and intermediary organizations, to help our clients achieve their objectives within an Indigenous context.

Shannan Schimmelmann is an Entrepreneur in Residence at Women’s Enterprise Centre, and her focus is on supporting women entrepreneurs in Indigenous communities to start and grow businesses.

Through Women’s Enterprise Centre and our network, Shannan can also connect you with the appropriate resources for financing, doing business with the government and exporting to new markets. To get in touch with Shannan, please contact us at

Events and opportunities for Indigenous Women Entrepreneurs

Check out the list below for upcoming training, events and awards for Indigenous women entrepreneurs. You may also view our full calendar of events and training for women entrepreneurs or our upcoming WEC webinars.

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Past Events › Indigenous-Focused Opportunities

August 2020

Virtual Accelerator for Indigenous Entrepreneurs

August 11, 2020 @ 10:00 am - 11:30 am
Webinar Canada

The Scaling Indigenous Businesses Globally Accelerator is an event designed to support Indigenous entrepreneurs who are thinking about, working towards, or are already exporting their products or services. The hour and a half sessions will include a mix of presentations, Q&A opportunities and small breakout sessions for more in depth conversations. This session will include: A presentation and Q&A with Todd Evans, National lead on Indigenous Business at EDC Tips & Tricks: Scaling your Business Globally facilitated by Paul-Emile McNab…

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Social Media and Business Promotion

August 18, 2020 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Webinar Canada

“How do I get my story out there?” That’s the promise of social media. Send the right messages on the right platform at the right time and you will attract the right customers for your business. From all over the world. In many ways, it is that simple. The secret is consistency x authenticity = success. You’ll hear from two people who will share with you the best ways to showcase your authentic story. Matt LeMay is a bestselling, multiple…

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September 2020

Business Recovery Forum – A Virtual Live Event

September 16, 2020 @ 9:00 am - 6:30 pm
Webinar Canada

Join the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business on Wednesday, September 16, 2020 for a unique experience and discover innovative ways to network, collaborate and exchange ideas to rebuild your business and prosper in this new reality and uncertain economy. This full-day event features interactive panels, engaging discussions, and keynote speakers delivering valuable insight and relevant content on how to successfully recover. Highlights include: Access To Capital And Financing For Indigenous Business How To Promote Your Business In A Virtual World…

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October 2020

Support for Indigenous Exporters

October 15, 2020 @ 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
Webinar Canada

Access to capital is a significant barrier facing Indigenous companies at all stages of growth. If you're an Indigenous entrepreneur looking for financial products and services you can leverage to succeed in the global marketplace, you won't want to miss How Indigenous companies can get support for exporting, a new webinar presented by Export Development Canada (EDC) and featuring Dina Santos from Canada's Trade Commissioner Service (TCS). Dina Santos, Consul and Senior Trade Commissioner at the Consulate General of Canada…

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Decolonizing, Indigenizing and Reconciling Entrepreneurship

October 22, 2020 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Webinar Canada

The Basics of Decolonizing Your Business COURSE DESCRIPTION Wondering what it means to decolonize entrepreneurship & success? Ready to shift out of colonial defaults and into critical consciousness? Want to apply a decolonial lens to your business, your HR, your bottom line? Join Ta7talíya Michelle Nahanee of the Squamish Nation, founder of Decolonizing Practices and M̓i tel’nexw Leadership Society for an introduction to decolonizing, indigenizing & reconciling entrepreneurship. Ta7talíya will share teachings, talk about her journey of unlearning, and guide…

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November 2020

Financial Understanding Bootcamp for Indigenous Women Entrepreneurs

November 25, 2020 @ 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm

One of the biggest challenges in starting and growing your business is the understanding of financial statements, yet they can make or break your business! Women’s Enterprise Centre has partnered with Creative Spirit Solutions to present a four-week series specifically created for Indigenous women entrepreneurs who want to understand their business financials. This Financial Understanding Bootcamp is designed for both start-up and existing businesses. We’ll look at your current personal finances, and then build achievable financial goals for your business.…

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Marketing and Branding for Indigenous Businesses

November 26, 2020 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Webinar Canada

How to Incorporate First Nations Art in Branding COURSE DESCRIPTION Storytelling has always held a special place in Indigenous culture. At its most basic level, branding is storytelling. It allows a business owner to communicate exactly what their business is, and why a customer should be interested in it. Join us for this informative webinar and learn the foundations of branding and marketing, with a focus on Indigenous businesses. From visuals and colours, to logos and design tools, attendees will…

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January 2021

Expanding Indigenous Business Through Trade

January 20 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am
Webinar Canada

Businesses owned by Indigenous Peoples have the potential to expand and succeed through international trade. In this webinar specifically for Indigenous business owners, you’ll learn how your business could benefit from exporting and where to start. Learn More or Register

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Trade Accelerator Program – Indigenous Cohort Application Deadline

January 21
Webinar Canada

Women’s Enterprise Centre is a proud Marketing Partner of the Trade Accelerator Program! Apply to be part of this special Trade Accelerator Program (TAP) in partnership with the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB), specifically designed for Indigenous-owned businesses. The Indigenous economy has undergone a period of sustained growth in recent years. According to the 2016 Census, there are over 50,000 self-employed Indigenous Peoples across Canada. There are also over 250 Indigenous economic development corporations, which are community-owned firms designed…

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First Nations Tax Exemptions: What You Need to Know

January 26 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
Webinar Canada

Taxation and Indigenous Peoples COURSE DESCRIPTION In general, Indigenous people in Canada are required to pay taxes on the same basis as anyone else in Canada, except when the limited exemptions under Section 87 of the Indian Act apply. Join us for this informative webinar and learn the basics of tax exemptions for Indigenous Peoples. Presented by Mindy Wight CPA, National Leader of Indigenous Tax Services, this webinar will include an in-depth discussion on employment and business income for status…

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Mikwam Makwa Ikwe (Ice Bear Woman): A National Needs Analysis on Indigenous Women’s Entrepreneurship

January 27 @ 9:30 am - 10:30 am
Webinar Canada

Join Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH) on January 27 for the launch of their first National Needs Analysis on Indigenous Women’s Entrepreneurship and an engaging panel discussion! This report shares insights from a series of Canada-wide roundtable discussions with Indigenous women entrepreneurs hosted by WEKH in 2020. Learn More or Register

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Without Borders: Indigenous Women Entrepreneurs Networking Series

January 28 @ 9:00 am - 1:00 pm
Webinar Canada

Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub is thrilled to be hosting a series of business networking events for Indigenous women entrepreneurs alongside Advanced Business Match in 2021—starting on January 28th. The first event is focused on building dynamic partnerships that support Indigenous women in their entrepreneurial endeavors. Learn More or Register

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February 2021

Business Planning Basics for Indigenous Women Entrepreneurs

February 3 @ 5:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Women’s Enterprise Centre has partnered with Creative Spirit Solutions to present a six-week virtual business planning program what will walk you step-by-step through the process to building your business plan! This series is designed for Indigenous women who are in the pre-startup or early stage of running their own business. At the end of this series, you’ll have a complete business plan that you can use to apply for funding or grant opportunities. Learn More

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