Trail Chamber of Commerce highlights opportunities for female entrepreneurs
The Trail & District Chamber of Commerce boasts a membership of small, medium, and large companies from a wide variety of industries. The Chamber advocates for inclusivity, innovation, and professional competitiveness and believes that when businesses succeed, they can help sustainably grow communities and support families. By championing the collective voice of Chamber members, we strive to create an environment in which businesses prosper, families thrive, and communities flourish. That’s why we’re sharing South Kootenay experts’ voices in select Chamber Stories, which will discuss relevant subjects in a question and answer format that showcases our business community’s insights and lived experiences.
On the heels of The Scotiabank Women Initiative’s debut local event last month, we asked: What opportunities do you think female entrepreneurs in our region need? Are there successful initiatives from elsewhere that you’d like to see implemented here?
- Allyson Ostgaard, small business advisor and mutual fund representative, Scotiabank
I’m proud that Scotiabank held their first Women in Business Coffee Social event last month; it was something I had been working towards since returning from maternity leave in the spring of 2022. The feedback we’ve received has been fantastic, and, as always, female entrepreneurs in this area continue to motivate me. It’s important to me that we support female-owned businesses. For me, that means future events need to include a learning opportunity — perhaps speakers not only from our area, but leading experts from bigger centres as well! This was the start of something that needs to grow and be adapted to the needs of business owners in the area, and I’m excited to see where we can take it in the future.
While the digital world allows us to access endless information and resources, it can be daunting and overwhelming to know where to start and what to look for. It would be a huge benefit to hold more information sessions in our area. Plus, I think our pre-pandemic brains are still wanting those in-person connections and to unite and collaborate with other business owners.
Female entrepreneurs here in the Kootenays have a benefit that a lot of people in the larger regions of BC do not; they’ve done a fantastic job of networking and supporting each other. The support I see female business owners provide to each other is amazing, and something worth celebrating! When you start talking to female business owners, it doesn’t take long before the wheels start spinning, and new ideas and connections form.
- Tamara Roach, loan manager, Community Futures Greater Trail
Community Futures is rural Canada’s not-for-profit community economic development network helping entrepreneurs — women included — succeed through small business loans, coaching, advice, and other resources. Some opportunities I wish to see expanded for female entrepreneurs in our region include:
Mentorship and Networking — Establishing mentorship programs and networks that connect aspiring female entrepreneurs with experienced business leaders can provide guidance, support, and valuable connections.
Visibility and Representation — Highlighting successful female entrepreneurs through media coverage and events to inspire others and provide role models.
Supportive Ecosystems — Creating environments that encourage female entrepreneurship by establishing co-working spaces, incubators, and accelerators that are female-friendly and supportive.
- Erika Krest, executive director, Trail & District Chamber of Commerce
Female entrepreneurs have different needs and challenges from their male counterparts. What Canadian business women — including women in our region — need is universal childcare, access to capital, and gender equality.
Our job at the Chamber is to foster a cohesive, forward-thinking environment where meaningful connections can be built to increase business opportunities for women in our region. Our aim is to provide relevant services for our members while embracing all sectors of business, culture, and lifestyle. Partnering with The Scotiabank Women Initiative is an opportunity to support women through the economic development lens; some of what the program offers is mentorship, credit resources, and access to online seminars and workshops from female business owners who are leading experts in their industries. It’s a valuable partnership for the Chamber and exciting for women in business in our region.
Keep an eye out for more Chamber Stories, published regularly in regional newspapers such as The Trail Times, The Trail Champion, and/or The Rossland Telegraph, as well as online. Please also follow us on social media: Facebook / LinkedIn / Twitter / Instagram and sign up for our newsletter.