Introducing the Women Entrepreneur Knowledge Hub at VentureLabs

What the heck is WEKH? Although it may be a bit of a mouthful, the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, otherwise known as WEKH, is a national program designed to understand address the needs of diverse women entrepreneurs across regions and across sectors. It is focused on co-creating knowledge to advance effective practices to support women entrepreneurs.

SFU VentureLabs is the BC Regional Hub for WEKH. As one of nine regional hubs across the country, SFU and VentureLabs® will collaborate with the strong and vibrant B.C. women entrepreneurship ecosystem to coordinate activities and provide a regional perspective and support to this national initiative.

The BC WEKH officially launched in June of 2019 with an announcement by Minister Mary Ng and a demonstration of the capacity and impact of some of the WEKH regional partners and ecosystem members, including Paulina Cameron, CEO, Forum for Women Entrepreneurs, Laurel Douglas, CEO, Women’s Enterprise Centre and Vicki Saunders, Founder of #radicalgenerosity and SheEO.

The WEKH’s value proposition is clear:

“Currently there is a patchwork of of complex interactions and networks (formal and informal), between post-secondary institutions, business support service providers (including incubators), financial institutions and government programs. WEKH will build a coordinated network to foster an evidence-based policy and practice. It will identify, develop and translate best practices for supporting women entrepreneurs into tools and resources that are accessible to the entire entrepreneurship ecosystem.”

Women Enterprise Knowledge Hub

The program is prioritizing five areas to start. These include:

  • Mapping the entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem
  • Collecting and sharing research and data on diverse women entrepreneurship
  • Examining definitions and benchmarking data on women entrepreneurship
  • Identifying who is doing what, what works and promising practices
  • Challenging stereotypes of entrepreneurs

To help meet these goals, WEKH is going to benefit from an advanced technology platform, powered by Magnet. This platform is currently linking companies seeking talent to qualified individuals at major universities across the country, and is already being used by VentureLabs companies. Magnet will enhance the capacity of women entrepreneurs and the organizations who serve them by linking them to resources and best practices from across the country.

At the national level, WEKH is lead by Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute and Ryerson’s Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship and the Ted Rogers School of Management. The WEKH received $9 million in funding over 3 years from Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada.

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