As shoppers search for the perfect gift this holiday season, WeBC is making it easy to spend locally with a new virtual pop-up shop, #WeShopBC, featuring over 450 women-led businesses based in British Columbia.
WeBC, previously Women’s Enterprise Centre, is a non-profit organization that supports B.C.-based small business owners to access startup and growth capital, business expertise, training and regionally-based mentors. As part of WeBC’s efforts to propel and celebrate women entrepreneurs, the organization has opened a digital pop-up shop to allow shoppers to search women-owned businesses, browsing products and services they can buy directly from local businesses.
“At WeBC, we’re connected with thousands of talented women entrepreneurs across the province, and the holiday season is one of the most important times of year for these small businesses,” says Melanie Rupp, Senior Director, Loans & Advisory Services for WeBC. “We want to encourage shoppers to spend locally by making it as easy as possible to discover and support women-owned businesses in their community.”
The contributions of women entrepreneurs are essential to the health of all B.C. communities with nearly 70 percent of women-owned businesses integrating social impact and 63 percent focused on sustainability. When communities support women business owners, everyone benefits.
“Shopping locally supports local families, and our local economy by keeping dollars local so they can make more of an impact in our town,” says Asha Dahk, owner of Ashi’s Rasoi. “The health of a business is a direct reflection of the overall well being of a community.”
Ashi’s Rasoi in Vanderhoof specializes in providing personal in-home dining experiences with perfectly balanced packs of handcrafted Indian spice blends for cooking. Owner, Dahk also supports her community by donating food products to local organizations and NeighbourLink, and helping out with fundraising events whenever possible.
Nest + Sprout Maternity in Prince George, B.C. offers maternity and breastfeeding apparel and accessories, having just opened their retail location on October 1, 2021.
“It’s important to shop local this holiday season because shopping local means you are investing back into your community. That investment leads to more opportunities and accessibility for your community; from supporting charities, fundraising and providing meaningful employment,” says Rachelle Anchikoski, owner of Nest + Sprout Maternity.
Nest + Sprout gives back to their community by donating clothing and essentials to Elizabeth Frys Baby’s New Beginning Program, which supports new and expecting mothers. Last spring, Anchikoski hosted a clothing drive and campaigned local businesses to build 25 Mother’s Day baskets filled with gift cards and beauty products to help moms feel special. This winter she’ll be asking the community to donate breast pump equipment for the program.
With over 180,000 women entrepreneurs in B.C., women make up nearly 40 percent of all business owners. It’s imperative for communities to support women-owned businesses because entrepreneurship can provide pathways for addressing inequalities in the labour force for immigrant women, Indigenous women, women in rural and remote communities and women who require greater flexibility.
The #WeShopBC pop-up shop is open from November 16, 2021 to January 3, 2022. Many of the businesses featured on the site are also providing special offers and discounts to B.C. shoppers as a thank you for supporting local.
All women entrepreneurs in B.C. are encouraged to register their business by November 30 for free on the #WeShopBC pop-up shop and to explore the many programs and services offered by WeBC to support them in their business development.
Visit #WeShopBC at we-bc.ca/WEshopBC