CSBE organized a series of panel discussions at Ryerson University in November 2019 as part of the Diversity Inclusion Now! 3-day conference hosted by the Diversity Institute. The topics of the panels organized by CCSBE, broadly defined, related to issues and challenges facing women entrepreneurs based on research findings – and more importantly – overcoming these challenges.

Research has shown that women entrepreneurs face challenges in building and developing meaningful networks and utilizing these networks as they gain knowledge, identify opportunities, gain access to information, and advance their businesses (e.g., Chupaska, 2019; Orser and Riding, 2016). This is ever more pronounced for women in underrepresented communities or newcomers. CCSBE identified these results as a key topic for the panel discussions. Panelists drew on their own experiences. provided examples and shared lessons learned to share alternatives for women entrepreneurs to address  remaining challenges.

Panel members left to right: 1) Megann Willson, Co-founder, Panoptika; 2) Elise Ahenkorah, Programs and Partnership Lead, Hunter Hub for Entrepreneurial Thinking U Calgary’s WELab and Founder of #shemeets ; 3) Paulina Cameron, CEO, Forum for Women Entrepreneurs; 4) Alison Kirkland, CEO, Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada; 5) Despina Zanganas, Co-Founder, Lean in Canada.

Members of this panel had experience in assisting women entrepreneurs in building meaningful networks, in developing these networks, and utilizing them as they gain knowledge, identify opportunities, gain access to information, and advance their businesses.

CSBE’s second panel discussion theme focussed on issues and challenges facing women entrepreneurs in accessing financial (and other) resources to advance their businesses from a diversity context, with a focus on women from underrepresented communities.

Research studies have shown that while women entrepreneurs may not face the same constraints in accessing resources as in the past, women still face challenges in stereotyping in accessing financial and other resources to advance their businesses (e.g., Makena, et al, 2014; Orser 2007) – and the inequality is more pronounced from a diversity context for women in underrepresented communities.

Panel members left to right: 1) Chioma Ifeanyi-Okoro, Speaker and Lead Consultant and Founder, My African Corner; 2) Nouhaila Chelkhaoui, Founder, Scale Without Borders; ; 3) Brooke Gordon, Senior Advisor, Women Entrepreneur, BDC; 4) Shannon MacDonald, Managing Director, Accenture; 5) Amanda Munday, CEO, The Workaround; 6) Danielle Graham, Principal, Dream Maker Ventures.

Panel members shared best practices and information to assist women in overcoming these challenges and discussed the key remaining knowledge holes