C-Level Executives Inspire Action to Advance Canadian Women-Owned Businesses

For immediate release

2020 WBE Conference C-Suite Panel

Canadian women-owned businesses adopted changes to adapt to the pandemic faster than other businesses. In fact, over half (55.0%) of businesses majority-owned by women introduced new ways to interact with or sell to customers to adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, compared with 49.7% of other businesses. Furthermore, over one-third (34.0%) of businesses majority-owned by women reported that they modified their products or customer services to adapt to the pandemic, compared with over one-quarter (27.4%) of all businesses in Canada.[1]

Though this first set of data seems impressive, the actual impact of COVID-19 on women-owned businesses presents a concerning picture. 61% of Women owned businesses reported loss of contracts, customers and clients.  In contrast, 34% of other businesses across Canada reported cancellation of contracts.[2]

This presents numerous questions. What is the reason for this disproportionate gap? Despite the innovation and swift pivot why are women-owned businesses losing business? What can be done to reduce this gap and support women-owned businesses? 

This calls for instant conversation and action or decades of hard-won gains will be lost. Supply chains across Canada pose growth opportunities for Canadian women-owned businesses that should not be ignored.

“Advancing diversity and inclusion is a priority for BDC,” says Stefano Lucarelli, Chief Financial Officer of BDC. “This includes leading by example to build stronger and more sustainable supply chains. Inclusive supply chains and procurement policies not only benefit diverse entrepreneurs, including women and minority-owned businesses, but are also good for the economy. When we invest in diversity, we all win.”

WBE Canada is proud to announce that our conference will be hosting C-level executives to discuss ‘Women in Business – A C-Suite Perspective’, on November 9, 1:50pm ET. Joining us to discuss how large corporate supply chains are supporting Canadian women-owned businesses are Susan Goodyer, Chief Human Resources Officer for Accenture Canada, Stefano Lucarelli, Chief Financial Officer for BDC and Christoph Knoess, Chief Administrative Officer for RBC. Panel is moderated by Jamie Crump, President at The Richwell Group and WBE Canada’s lead consultant for the Supplier Diversity Accelerator program.

C-level executives are an integral component of the supplier diversity framework. They have a huge impact on the buying behaviour of their company, their commitment to supplier diversity can result in their company’s supply chain being inclusive, innovative and highly resilient. Ultimately they can play an important role in charting out the more inclusive future in not just their own organization but also the entire economy at large.

“It is refreshing to see supplier diversity topics being discussed among C-level executives in Canada,” says Silvia Pencak, President, WBE Canada. “As we advance through the pandemic and look at recovery options for the economy, diverse businesses can play a crucial role in getting communities across Canada back on track. It is time to recognize that diversity and inclusion (internal diversity) and supplier diversity (external diversity) MUST be part of our current focus to become a reality for future generations.”

Join us to get inspired by the commitments and accomplishments of our panelists who represent some of Canada’s top organizations and their contributions to Canada’s growing economy.

About WBE Canada

Women Business Enterprises Canada Council (WBE Canada) is a Canadian nonprofit organization with a mission to empower Canadian Women Business Enterprises (WBEs) with equal access to corporate and public procurement. Our role is to certify, promote and develop women-owned businesses while also supporting our Corporate Member community with the access to a pool of business-ready suppliers. Since 2009 we’ve been certifying businesses that are 51% or more owned, managed and controlled by women and connecting them to supply chains. More information at www.WBECanada.ca/about

About WBE Canada Conference

WBE Canada’s Annual Conference is the leading supplier diversity event in Canada. This year’s conference, Supply Chain Innovation <Decoded> will provide an upscale virtual experience featuring innovations in supply chains, opportunities to share best practices and top recommendations for the next decade. We are expecting over 500 attendees representing Canadian women-owned businesses, procurement and supplier diversity professionals, and other champions of supplier diversity – corporate, government and nonprofit leaders. More information at www.WBEconference.ca.

Media Contact:
Sharon Ferdinands, Marketing Manager, WBE Canada, marketing@wbecanada.ca

[1] https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/45-28-0001/2020001/article/00056-eng.htm

[2] Statistics Canada. Table 33-10-0229-01 Extent of various impacts experienced by businesses because of COVID-19, by business characteristics.