Caroline Grover, Carmen Massey and Julie John are the Tsuts’weye project team. (Kari Wilkinson photo)

Caroline Grover, Carmen Massey and Julie John are the Tsuts’weye project team. (Kari Wilkinson photo)

New project to support women entrepreneurs launched in Shuswap

Tsuts’weye is a three-year, federally funded initiative facilitated by Community Futures Shuswap

Support for female entrepreneurs in the Shuswap is on the way.

Tsuts’weye, a new three-year project, will support women-owned or women-led enterprises in the start-up, expansion or ongoing operations in the Shuswap.

It’s a federally funded initiative through Western Economic Diversification Canada to be facilitated locally through Community Futures Shuswap.

“Tsuts’weye means butterfly in Secwepemc and is symbolic of the ‘butterfly effect,’ explains Julie John, diversity coordinator for the project, in a news release. “When one woman is empowered in a community, the effects can often be powerful and far-reaching.”

Carmen Massey, project manager, says the purpose of Tsuts’weye is to support women entrepreneurs in building skills, knowledge and networks to improve their businesses’ success.

“There are four main ways the project will support women: through a mentor and consultant program; providing network opportunities; creating and facilitating training and skill development opportunities; and marketing the strength of women entrepreneurs in our community.”

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Caroline Grover, ‘entrepreneur in residence’ for the project and a former economic development officer for Salmon Arm, says women represent 17 per cent of business ownership in B.C.

“This program will be designed to support their success and to involve even more women in business. The project follows a participatory approach, including an advisory round table and a series of women entrepreneur round table sessions,” she says, adding she is proud to be the entrepreneur in residence. “Experienced businesswomen in the Shuswap are acting as program advisors and mentors to help other women to reach their goals.”

The Tsuts’weye project will host an open house for the community at the Community Futures Shuswap office on Tuesday, Nov. 5 from 3 to 6 p.m. It will be an informal, come-and-go event with Tsuts’weye team members on hand to answer questions and discuss the project.

A series of facilitated round-table discussions will be held Nov. 18 to 20 in three Shuswap communities, with the goal to reveal day-to-day, on-the-ground challenges and opportunities for female entrepreneurs in a local context. These sessions will begin with inspirational keynote presentations by successful female entrepreneurs, and will include facilitated activities to gather feedback and share information from the perspective of the people living, working and operating in the community. Early registration is recommended. Details about the speakers and registration can be found online at www.tsutsweye.ca.

@SalmonArm
marthawickett@saobserver.net

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