Female Entrepreneurs a Driving Force in Canadian Business Landscape

    Women Entrepreneurs of Canada partners with STAPLES Business Depot to
    help female entrepreneurs 'think big'

    TORONTO, Oct. 16 /CNW/ - Canada has one of the highest rates of female
entrepreneurship in the world, with over 850,000 women running their own
business. This statistic is expected to reach one million by 2010. Women-owned
businesses contribute more than $18 billion to the Canadian economy.
    As part of STAPLES Business Depot's commitment to supporting small
business, the office supply giant announced today that it has joined forces
with Women Entrepreneurs of Canada (WEC) to fund and provide valuable research
on women entrepreneurship. Together, this partnership will help women 'think
big' about the prospects and growth potential of their businesses.
    As a signature sponsor of the organization, STAPLES Business Depot plans
to help develop and expand the 'Think Big' program with Women Entrepreneurs of
Canada through research, outreach, promotion of in-store seminars and
education programs such as BizLaunch, and a rich media campaign which includes
the creation of the 'Think Big! Growth Toolkit' online magazine.
    "Women entrepreneurs are thinking big and making a big impact in every
industry across the country," says Lori Ross, Vice President of Marketing,
STAPLES Business Depot. "They are creating jobs, improving our economic
efficiency and productivity, and developing innovative products. Investing in
women-owned businesses that 'think big' is an investment in our overall
economic success."
    According to quantitative and qualitative research compiled by both
parties to date, female entrepreneurship is growing at a rapid pace in Canada.
Women entrepreneurs are looking for more challenging work, a positive work
environment, a greater purpose and work-life balance. This growing niche of
women need access to a network of similar minded colleagues where they can
obtain new and current information, tools for growth and support.
    "Studies show that, although an overwhelming proportion (73 per cent) of
women entrepreneurs are one-person operations, the number of women who are
small business owners with employees rose an impressive 40 per cent over the
past 15 years," says Ruth Bastedo, President of Women Entrepreneurs of Canada.
"STAPLES' support will further encourage this significant trend."
    Women Entrepreneurs of Canada is a national forum of self-employed women.
STAPLES Business Depot is Canada's leader in office supplies and equipment.
Together, this partnership is tapping into a huge market to provide women
entrepreneurs with support and easy solutions to Think Big! about their
company's potential growth and expansion.


    Since 1982, WEC initiatives - from research to trade missions,
conferences, documentaries, educational materials and networking events - have
shifted traditional thinking about women-owned businesses on the local,
national and international level. This year, WEC has launched a new public
education, research and policy platform that encourages women business owners
to Think Big! about growth and expansion - from start-up stages and onwards.
Today, the WEC community spans 50,000+ in the women's business community
throughout Canada.


    Through its new corporate giving program - community@work - STAPLES
Business Depot is proud to partner with local community leaders to identify
and support programs and initiatives focusing on three core areas:
environment, education and entrepreneurship. For more information, please
visit www.staplesinthecommunity.ca.

    STAPLES Business Depot

    Founded in Toronto in 1991, The Business Depot Ltd. is Canada's largest
supplier of office supplies, business machines, office furniture and business
services for the small business and home office customer. The company is an
everyday low price retailer, operating stores in every province across Canada
under the banners STAPLES(R) Business Depot(TM) and Bureau en Gros(MC). The
company employs over 13,500 associates serving customers through more than 280
office superstores, catalogue, and e-commerce. STAPLES(R) Business
Depot(TM)/Bureau en Gros(MC) is committed to making shopping easy by offering
customers three ways to shop: online, by catalogue and in-store. More
information is available at www.staples.ca.

For further information:

For further information: Anne Adamson, Veritas Communications, (416)
955-4583, (416) 819-6016, adamson@veritascanada.com; Alessandra Saccal,
STAPLES Business Depot, (905) 737-1147 x 2363, (416) 570-9978,

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