Message from the President & CEO

WBE Canada Magazine Message from the President

Message from the President & CEO, Silvia Pencak, WBE Canada. Originally published in WBE Canada Magazine; Issue 12. Read our full magazine HERE.

Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress

Happy International Women’s Day Month! WBE Canada joins women everywhere in celebrating International Women’s Day 2024 and this year’s theme “Invest in Women: Accelerate Progress”.

Being a small to medium-sized business in Canada, and especially a woman-owned business, can be challenging at the best of times. The constant turbulence in the economy, market volatility and global political upheaval create even greater challenges. Savvy women business enterprises know that it is vitally important to continually build up your immunity to protect against any number of events that, while out of your control, can suddenly disrupt your sound business strategies and ultimately your success.

Small businesses make up 98% of all businesses in Canada, but only 18% of those are majority owned by women. In spite of the constant focus of women entrepreneurs on innovation and supporting equity-deserving groups, the representation of women-owned businesses in supply chains is progressing very slowly. More needs to be done to support, scale up and engage women in supply chains.

Since 2009, WBE Canada has been supporting WBEs through the development of tools and resources to support growth and success in the supply chains of large public and private organizations. For the past year, WBE Canada, thanks to support from the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) has been conducting a major research project related to supplier diversity, supply chains and WBE development. These findings will be presented to our community during our Fast-Track to Supply Chains event in Toronto on March 26, 2024 and shared across Canada during our cross-Canada tour beginning in April. We hope you choose to join us – check our 2024 Events Calendar to find an event closest to you.

WBE Canada is dedicated and committed to the success of Canadian women-owned businesses By investing in Canada’s women-owned businesses we are accelerating progress and improving economies, locally, regionally, nationally and globally.

Here are just a couple of resources that the WBE Canada team has designed to support women entrepreneurs.

  • The Quick Guide to Becoming a Supplier for Large Organizations as a Canadian Women-Owned Business – A complimentary guide designed to help women-owned businesses prepare for opportunities in corporate and government supply chains. Available in both official languages. Access here – English | French
  • Pathfinder – On-demand training library and resources for women business owners ready to scale up their businesses and prepare for WBE certification. This program was upgraded and translated with resources being available in both official languages. Access here – English | French

To all women in our community – on behalf of WBE Canada Team I wish you a happy International Women’s Day! I invite you to explore this latest issue of WBE Canada Magazine dedicated to women making a difference in supply chains, to organizations championing women-owned businesses and to women business owners pioneering the change in Canada and beyond.

To your success,

Silvia Pencak
President & CEO
WBE Canada (Women Business Enterprises Canada Council)

1 ISED. Key Small Business Statistics, November 2019
2 Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub. The state of women’s entrepreneurship in Canada 2023

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Silvia HeadshotSilvia Pencak

Silvia Pencak is the President and CEO of Women Business Enterprises Canada Council (WBE Canada), a Canadian non-profit organization that is opening doors for Canadian women-owned businesses to corporate and government supply chains. Silvia has more than 20 years of leadership experience in the nonprofit and business environment, leading transformational projects and teams. She is a member of the Advisory Committee to the PSPC Minister and advisor to other leaders across Canada, tirelessly advocating more opportunities and better support for Canadian women-owned businesses in Canada and globally. She is a co-author of The State of WBE Certification in Canada and The State of Supplier Diversity Programs in Canada research studies.