Big Competitors Partner To Support Canadian Women-Owned Businesses

For Immediate Release

Women Business Enterprises Canada Council (WBE Canada) is happy to announce a historic session at its 10th Anniversary Conference & Gala as 4 major Canadian banks and 2 government organizations partner together to bring much needed financial information, tools and resources to Canadian women-owned businesses. 

“Financing Solutions for Canadian WBEs session during our upcoming 10th Anniversary Conference & Gala is an unprecedented collaboration among the biggest competitors – financial institutions. These six participants will come together, bringing with them a variety of solutions to support and encourage women-owned businesses at different stages of growth, demonstrating their solidarity and collective support of our community,” said Silvia Pencak, President of WBE Canada. “On behalf of Canadian women-owned businesses I want to express my gratitude to BDC, BMO, CIBC, EDC, RBC and TD for their leadership and contribution.”

Topics covered during this session include

  • Business Financing with a Technology Focus
  • Funds for Women Entrepreneurs
  • Smartbanking and Business Integration
  • Term Lending
  • Business Succession and Financial Solutions
  • Working Capital and Insurance: A Path to New Markets

This partnership is possible thanks to supplier diversity programs these organizations are spearheading. WBE Canada’s community of corporate and government organizations truly care about the success of Canadian business women and their upcoming Conference is just one of many examples of this commitment. BMO and RBC are WBE Canada’s founding members, BDC, BMO, RBC and TD actively support the organization at the Board of Directors and spearhead various committees. These organizations meet regularly to improve their supplier diversity programs and inspire others to follow their lead. 

WBE Canada is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year with hopes of seeing a bigger commitment to supplier diversity initiatives across all industry sectors and regions in Canada in its second decade. Currently only 1% of large companies have implemented supplier diversity programs and track their spend with certified WBEs. This spend is still under 5%, in many companies under 2%. We still have a long way to go in supporting women-owned businesses. Yet, WBE Canada  is not discouraged by these numbers. 

“We strongly believe that supplier diversity is a step in the right direction. Buying from Canadian women-owned businesses is a good business decision. We have incredible talent and innovations in our country that need to be recognized and given the opportunity to participate in Canadian and global supply chains,” said Silvia Pencak. “As more and more corporate and government organizations start using their knowledge, experiences, resources and purchasing power to support WBEs, we all win.”

Supplier diversity is a wonderful space where collaboration among competing organizations is fairly common. Automotive industry has its own “Fantastic Four” group including GM, Toyota, FCA and Ford, who regularly meet to discuss challenges and next steps around supplier diversity, supports for diverse suppliers and improvements to the procurement processes. Certifying councils like WBE Canada provide a great space to support such collaborations and conversations. WBE Canada’s upcoming conference will, among many other benefits, also focus on helping corporate and government buyers make a big impact across their organization as they learn practical strategies to build champions, gain exposure, reinforce their message and inspire others to support supplier diversity goals. 

WBE Canada’s 10th Annual Conference & Gala is happening in Toronto on November 14-15, 2019. The conference is open to all corporate and government buyers and women-owned businesses. This year’s event will celebrate achievements in supplier diversity in Canada over its first decade and feature many Canadian women-owned businesses, including Manjit Minhas, Co-founder of Minhas Breweries and Co-Star of Dragons Den, Lisa Foote, Founder of Lisa Foote Consulting, Ashlee Froese, Founder of Froese Law and many others. You can learn more at

About WBE Canada

WBE Canada (Women Business Enterprises Canada Council) is a Canadian nonprofit organization founded by corporations committed to supporting Canadian women-owned businesses through their supply chains. WBE Canada works closely with corporations and government organizations looking to include women in their supply chains, providing WBE (Women Business Enterprise) certification services to confirm that businesses are majority owned, managed and controlled by women, organizing events to connect buyers with suppliers and providing training and mentorship opportunities for Certified WBE community. Learn more about WBE Canada at