On March 24, the Rosaria boardroom hosted 35 local businesswomen and members of the Mount community for a business-focused Roundtable on Women’s Enterprise.

The event, organized by the Department of Business Administration and the Centre for Women in Business, was part of a national roundtable series for the Taskforce for Women’s Business Growth. The Taskforce, a national non-partisan consortium of prominent women business owners, small business training agencies, academics and industry associations across Canada, aims to grow women-owned enterprises. Women currently retain ownership in nearly half of Canada’s small and medium-sized enterprises, but evidence suggests many of these businesses experience less than optimal growth. The Taskforce is working to change that.

Dr. Ramona Lumpkin, University President and Vice-Chancellor, welcomed the group, noting the Mount’s long standing commitment to educating and empowering women through education, support and knowledge. But it was her reference to the glass ceiling which sparked a reaction from the day’s facilitator and CEO of Sheepdocinc.ca, Julia Rivard.

“I never really thought about the glass ceiling –I always had an overwhelming sense of self belief – perhaps it was a type of blind innocence,” said Rivard. “It’s scary to look at the numbers, but it motivates me to help make a positive difference.”

Rivard was one of 35 local businesswomen joined by members of the Mount community to discuss issues of access and opportunities among women-run enterprises in various panel and group settings. Janice Goguen, one of the day’s panelists from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, discussed a number of initiatives that are working to propel women-owned enterprises further in new markets, but noted the strategies being applied would lend success in any market. “Demystification of the process and opportunities through education, mentorship and creating linkages with complementary businesses is vital to achieving growth.”

Dr. Barbara Orser, Chair of the Taskforce for Women’s Business Growth, thanked the Mount for hosting the session which will contribute to the national Blueprint for Economic Growth. “We appreciate the support of the University’s executive for the Taskforce’s work.” The report, containing national findings and data based on the roundtable sessions, will be delivered in June.