Bernadette Wightman, President of Cisco Canada, is on a mission: to advance female entrepreneurs across Canada. Bernadette is proud to launch the Cisco Women Entrepreneurs’ Circle, a program that supports the success of women leading small and medium businesses in Canada by providing the resources, tools, training and IT solutions they need to accelerate their growth. She is dedicated to inspiring real change across the country.
By Bernadette Wightman
I don’t think it would surprise anyone to know that women-led businesses are good for Canada. Research tells us that not only do they boost Canada’s GDP, but they also increase national well-being and competitiveness, and improve women’s employability, empowerment and gender equality. Yet, only 15 per cent of all Canadian small and medium sized businesses are majority-owned by women.
Clearly, we need more women starting, building, leading and growing businesses of all kinds. But it isn’t always easy. Many women business founders struggle to access the capital, technology, networks, and knowledge that they need. And that’s where Cisco can help.
The goal of the Women Entrepreneurs’ Circle is to address some of the obstacles they face in building their IT capability and business resilience. We are bridging this gap with the launch of three initiatives: a rich curriculum of virtual learning modules, over 90 hours offered at no cost; the Entrepreneur Xperience, a simple, fully managed product bundle that provides Collaboration and Networking Solutions; and interns from the University of Waterloo, funded by Cisco Canada, who will be assigned to work with a women entrepreneur to help her advance the digital strategy for the business.
We think the Women Entrepreneurs’ Circle is a practical, effective resource and network for women across Canada. And I am personally committed to developing this significant untapped resource of talented women business leaders to unleash their power and potential. Supporting women entrepreneurs is simply the smart thing to do, and we are committed to building their capacity to drive Canada’s economic growth and competitiveness.