TORONTO, Canada, October 23 — Kicking off WEConnect International’s 11th year, Power the Economy 2020 featured a potent three days of virtual networking, learning and business connections. Full of inspiring case studies, workshops and best practices, sessions provided great insight into the Canadian economy, the impact of the pandemic and a view forward, including doors to new markets and new customers.
For example, a series of practical workshops provided female entrepreneurs tips on best practices to build productivity, embrace stress and adopt technology to keep up with market change. Also, a “hands-on” session allowed women business owners to practice perfecting their business pitches and making a great first impression with global buyers
On the buyer-side, a robust contingent of member buyers in attendance gathered advice from leaders of major corporations on building successful Supplier Diversity and Inclusion programs inside large organizations. And in an intimate fireside chat with WEConnect International’s CEO and Co-Founder Elizabeth A. Vazquez and Arlene Isaacs-Lowe, Global Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, Moody’s Analytics, attendees learned about the impact that expanded collaboration can achieve.
WEConnect International shared key organizational updates during its 10th year, including the 11 corporate members and 2000 new women-owned businesses added to our network, as well as new team members Angela Walker, VP Communications and Vivien Malig-Mayhew, Certification Manager. In addition, the Canada team highlighted its more robust customer service capabilities to support growth. Also announced was the new website and improved WECommunity platform, which will help women-owned businesses across 125 countries gain even easier access to new markets and buyers.
Canadian women business owners in WEConnect International’s second quarterly survey found that the negative impact of COVID-19 has slightly lessened, while positive impact has actually doubled, from six to 12 percent. The session highlighted women-owned businesses’ ability to pivot to adapt to the pandemic, and showed the collective resilience of so many.
Forging linkages was perhaps the most significant part of the three-day event. In an intimate networking session, women were able to connect more deeply than ever. And in two afternoons of 1:1 matchmaking with corporate member buyers, certified women business owners began finding potential partnerships.
“We look forward to hearing about the business connections and ripples that come from these business opportunities in the future,” said WEConnect International Canadian Country Director, Stephanie Fontaine.
On the last day of the conference, a fabulous and insightful WBE Spotlight Panel featured inspiring success stories demonstrating the ability to persevere and adapt business offerings to meet emerging new demands and sales fluctuations.
“We couldn’t have such a successful event without our generous sponsors,” Fontaine said. “Many thanks to our Bronze sponsors: BDC, Walmart, Moody’s and Women’s Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub and to our Supporting sponsors EDC, IBM, Global Affairs Canada, TD Bank and J&J.”
“It was great to spend three days with our community and to welcome so many from across the globe in this year’s virtual setting,” she said. “Thank you to all of our attendees, speakers, presenters and team members.”
–WEConnect International in Canada Team