Minister Guergis congratulates local entrepreneur on business certification

    OTTAWA, June 18 /CNW Telbec/ - Ms. Sue Bennett of Uxbridge, local
business women with Bennett Design Associates Inc., has just returned from the
first International WEConnect Canada Mission in San Francisco after
participating in the Women's Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC)
National Conference and Business Fair, June 9 to 11, 2009. Ms. Bennett's
business received certification from WEConnect just prior to this event,
announced the Honourable Helena Guergis, Minister of State (Status of Women).
    Bennett Design Associates Inc., is an interior design firm that combines
design expertise with environmental preservation to create unique working
spaces for a variety of business across the country.
    Founded in 1997, the WBENC is the United States' leading advocate of
women-owned businesses as suppliers to U.S. multinational corporations,
working to foster diversity in the world of commerce and eliminate marketplace
barriers to women business owners. The WBENC is the founder of WEConnect
International, which promotes the international certification standard for
women-owned businesses and develops new national certification organizations.
    The recently launched WEConnect Canada, a member of WEConnect
International, is a non-profit organization that certifies firms that are at
least 51 per cent women-owned and connects them with the growing corporate and
public sector demand for diverse suppliers.
    "I am delighted that 19 women-owned Canadian companies have completed the
qualification process and received certification from WEConnect Canada," said
Minister Guergis.
    "I have been working diligently to bring to light the significant
contributions of these business women to our country and it is paying off
through support of this vital organization. I am immensely proud to be part of
a Government that recognizes the important and dynamic role Canada's
independent business women play in contributing to Canada's economy," added
Minister Guergis. "By supporting WEConnect Canada's efforts to certify
women-owned businesses, and by supporting these women as they secure market
access, we help them to establish economic security and prosperity for the
future. In turn, these talented women will inspire future generations of
independent business women through their tenacity, innovation and dedication."
    The Government of Canada, through the Women's Program of Status of Women
Canada, is providing WEConnect Canada with funding over three years to launch
its Opening Doors to Corporate Markets: An Education, Training, Coaching and
Mentoring Program. The program will prepare women entrepreneurs to access
supplier diversity markets made up of small businesses owned by minority
groups and women; this in turn will give them access to large contract
opportunities with corporations and governments.

    Status of Women Canada is a federal government agency working to promote
equality for women and their full participation in the economic, social and
democratic life of Canada.

    Ce texte est également disponible en français.

For further information:

For further information: Please contact: Sherine Mansour, Director of
Communications, Office of the Minister of State (Status of Women), (819)
956-4000; Nanci-Jean Waugh, Director General, Communications and Strategic
Planning, Status of Women Canada, (613) 995-7839; For news releases and
information on Status of Women Canada, go to

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