Making Entrepreneurship Possible for More Young Women
Nov. 17, 2016
HALIFAX – RBC marked Global Entrepreneurship Week with a $500,000 cheque presentation to Mount Saint Vincent University in support of the Centre for Women in Business.
Today’s announcement drew hundreds of people to the McCain Centre, including many Centre members, and young, aspiring entrepreneurs who will benefit from this 10-year partnership. The newly named RBC Centre for Women in Business space at Mount Saint Vincent University will also be home to the new RBC Alliance of Young Women Entrepreneurs program.
Roger Howard, RBC’s Regional President, Atlantic Provinces, called the Centre’s business training services “invaluable” to the economic prosperity of Atlantic Canada, particularly to young women and recent graduates interested in exploring entrepreneurship as a career option.
“When you think about the future drivers of our economy in this province, the first thing that comes to my mind is entrepreneurs,” he said. “For RBC, this is a tremendously exciting opportunity to take an innovative approach to accelerate the success of women-led businesses.”
Dr. Ramona Lumpkin, President and Vice-Chancellor of Mount Saint Vincent University, said the partnership will, “build a future without boundaries, and an entrepreneurial ecosystem for women that encourages the next generation of community, business and social innovation.”
“RBC’s leadership does not go unnoticed by our broader community.Their commitment to communities makes us all better, and we feel fortunate to have their important support.”
Many Centre members were on hand to showcase their businesses, and to celebrate the impact the Centre has had on the business community. Several shared personal reflections on the Centre’s support in a video, capturing the sentiment that the Centre has been a game-changing resource for them and thousands of women since it opened with the support of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and the Mount 25 years ago.
Executive Director Tanya Priske said the funding will help her team, made up of eight full-time staff, to reach even more young women with skills training, export opportunities and mentorship.
“This reinforces our place as a vital resource for entrepreneurship in our region,” she said, adding that this year alone, the Centre conducted 602 business advisories and provided training and support to 1,720 women, including 404 members.
“Many of our clients are young women with incredible business ideas, but they need guidance when it comes to things like business planning, access to financing, and strategies for marketing and execution. That’s why we’re here,” said Priske.
“RBC recognizes that we’ve played a significant role in the business success stories that have unfolded in our region over the past two decades, and we thank them for joining us in our mission.”
One of those success stories is Faith Drinnan, a long-time Centre member who spoke during the announcement and reflected on what the Centre has meant to the sustainability of her business, the award-winning The Oyster Groupmagazine circulation firm in Dartmouth.
“The Centre came into my life when the business world had chewed me up and spit me out,” Drinnan said. “Without a doubt, the Oyster Group would not be in business today if it were not for the help and support the Centre provides.”
Drinnan is now stepping back from the day-to-day operations of the The Oyster Group, and handing the reins to Vice-President Jenn Taylor, a young aspiring business leader and Mount grad.
“This is about building future leaders,” said Taylor of the funding announcement. “The Centre for Women in Business has been instrumental in providing the tools, training and connections that make business growth possible; it’s great to know that through this funding, those opportunities will be available to other young women who want to grow and succeed in business. We thank RBC for making this possible.”