Strengthening women entrepreneurs in rural B.C.

KELOWNA, BC, April 30 /CNW Telbec/ - On behalf of the Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women, Mr. Ron Cannan, Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country, today announced Government of Canada support for a new project that will encourage women and girls to take on the challenge of leadership and decision-making roles across rural British Columbia.

"I am proud to support this forward-looking project, which has the potential to open doors for women entrepreneurs in rural British Columbia - with a focus on Aboriginal and immigrant women, who remain particularly under-represented in leadership and decision-making roles," Minister Ambrose said. "This project is timely, providing opportunities for women entrepreneurs to strengthen and sustain their businesses as Canada's economy recovers from recession."

The Women's Enterprise Centre will receive $133,821 for Taking the Stage: Leadership Skills Training Targeting Aboriginal, Immigrant and Entrepreneur Women in British Columbia.

"This three-year pilot project will provide direct training and support to 23 volunteer facilitators from local Aboriginal, immigrant, youth and women's business organizations in nine B.C. communities - Fort St. John, Dawson Creek, Cranbrook, Salmon Arm, Westbank, Port Alberni, Campbell River, Sooke and Kamloops, and will include immigrant women from the Ismaili, Chinese and African communities," said Mr. Cannan. "Thanks to this project, participants who face economic, geographic and social-cultural barriers will now have the opportunity to gain tremendous confidence, build invaluable leadership and communications skills, and be empowered to take on greater challenges in their communities and beyond."

"Aboriginal, immigrant and women entrepreneurs in the rural areas of British Columbia face barriers in accessing leadership and decision-making training, not to mention the geographic challenges facing all women in rural British Columbia," said Ms. Shirley Higgins, Chair of the Women's Enterprise Centre. "Through this project, we will reach out to Aboriginal, immigrant and other entrepreneur women in B.C., strengthening their leadership skills, so they can create economic prosperity and security for themselves and their communities."

The Government of Canada allocated funding for this project through the Women's Community Fund of Status of Women Canada. To qualify, projects must work to promote the full participation of women in the economic, social and democratic life of Canada.

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SOURCE Status of Women Canada

For further information: For further information: Chris Hilton, Director of Communications, Office of the Minister of Public Works and Minister for Status of Women, (613) 697-7324; Nanci-Jean Waugh, Director General, Communications and Strategic Planning, Government Services and Status of Women Canada, (613) 995-7839

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