Alexandria, Ontario – Business Sisters has received $100,000 from Desjardins Ontario Credit Union’s Community Development Fund to launch a new Centre for Rural Women Entrepreneurs which will deliver entrepreneurial training, mentorship and events, in both official languages, in the five counties of Eastern Ontario.

The announcement was made last night at our networking “5 à 7″ event at Tuque de Broue, where 45 women gathered to hear the wonderful news. (Check out photos of the event on our Facebook page!)

“We are delighted to work with the Desjardins team in making this innovative project a reality for our region. The pandemic disproportionally affected women and women-owned businesses. Desjardins’ contribution from their Community Development Fund helps us significantly reduce, and even eliminate, the barriers for women to start and grow a business. This will create much needed business activity in our villages and small towns throughout the region,” said Doreen Ashton Wagner, our Founder and Executive Director.

“Creating this hub for women brings together aspects of entrepreneurship and the development of our local and regional economy. Therefore, investing in this project came as a very natural fit for Desjardins and we are thrilled to be part of this journey,” said Karine Foster, Regional Vice-President, Eastern Ontario.

The funding will support activities over the next five years, including events, advisory services, and mentorship. Many of these activities will take place at the new Centre, which will be in Alexandria, though networking events and conferences will continue to happen throughout Stormont, Dundas, Glengarry, Prescott, and Russell.

This funding opens enormous opportunities for Business Sisters. We will continue to collaborate with area economic agencies and municipalities as we formulate our programming. At the same time we are committed to being 100% transparent with you on how we use this funding to better the community and help dismantle barriers for women business owners. Our goals are to educate, facilitate and support women-led enterprises, and with this funding, Desjardins has made it possible!

About the Desjardins Ontario Credit Union

Lastly, one of the reasons why we applied to Desjardins Ontario Credit Union for funding is that we had been banking with them from our inception. As a cooperative, they are committed to helping social enterprises. They also happen to have a very progressive policy to foster community development. This aligned very well with our own values.