How the WE-CAN Project Began

The WE-CAN Project was officially announced in August 2019 with a budget of $4.5M ($3.2 million from the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) Ecosystem Fund through FedDev Ontario + $1.3M in-kind contributions from Queen’s University and partners) to strengthen capacity within the entrepreneurship ecosystem and close gaps in service for women entrepreneurs.

The allocation of WES funds was later increased to $3.5 million to assist women-owned businesses through the COVID-19 recovery process.

The WES Ecosystem initiative awarded funding to seven national projects and 45 regional projects, each led by non-profit organizations and inclusive of the needs of diverse and under-represented women.

The funding to Queen’s and partners made possible the development and delivery of new programs and services to three groups of women entrepreneurs from underrepresented groups or sectors in Kingston and region, including those who had founded or were leading technology-based companies, women entrepreneurs who identified as Indigenous, and women entrepreneurs from other underrepresented groups, including visible minorities, newcomers to Canada, women with a disability, women from rural areas, and women who were under 40, who were looking to start and/or grow their businesses in Kingston and the surrounding area.

Queen’s external collaboration partners for this 3.5-year project included the City of Kingston, the Kingston Economic Development Corporation, St. Lawrence College, KEYS Job Centre, and L-SPARK. Various contractors were selected and hired via procurement processes to design and deliver specific programs. Following the completion of a robust RFP process, Queen’s awarded Okwaho Equal Source with contracts to design and deliver programs for women who identified as Indigenous entrepreneurs.

Today’s WE-CAN Project is an extension of the original project and is now being funded solely by Queen’s Partnerships and Innovation until May 31, 2025.

Upcoming WE-CAN Events

Government of Canada logo linking to Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario website

We acknowledge the support of the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.

Nous reconnaissons l'appui  du gouvernement du Canada à travers l’Agence fédérale de développement économique pour le Sud de l’Ontario.

While all of the following programs and services will be delivered in English, certain programs and services will be made available in French in accordance with the terms of the Contribution Agreement between Queen’s University and the Government of Canada. Please contact us to discuss your interests and needs.

Alors que tous les programmes et services seront offerts en anglais, certains programmes et services seront accessibles en français conformément aux modalités de l’accord de contribution entre l’Université Queen’s et le gouvernement du Canada. Prenez contact avec nous pour discuter de vos intérêts et de vos besoins.