LAMBAC hopes to increase the number of female entrepreneurs in North, through NOW program

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GORE BAY – With only 16 percent of Canadian businesses owned or led by women, LAMBAC is hoping to significantly increase the number of female entrepreneurs in Northern Ontario by implementing the Northern Ontario Women (NOW) program, which officially launched in November 2019. Since its inception, the NOW program has proven to be a success, assisting over 46 Northern Ontario female entrepreneurs to the tune of $300,000.

“The concept of the program, which LAMBAC is in charge of administering for the whole of Northern Ontario, is to assist female entrepreneurs with accessing one-time professional services (legal, accounting, engineering, etc) that they might not typically be able to afford and to assist with the financial burden of setting up mentoring relationships. It is important to note that the NOW program does not assist with capital expenditures,” said Carolyn Campbell, LAMBAC’s loan and development officer and the driving force behind this one-of-a-kind program during an interview the Recorder had with her and Sue Whynott, NOW program assistant.

“The program is for women right across Northern Ontario,” said Ms. Whynott. “We are receiving applications from women from as far north as Red Lake, all the way down to the Parry Sound area. There are 24 other Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC) offices in Northern Ontario that we are working closely with to administer the NOW program. To date, we’ve had over 70 applications, with 65 percent of the applicants successful in being awarded funding. We are very pleased with how our first intake went and we fully expect to see more and more applications throughout the six remaining intakes.”

Along with assisting individual applicants in starting or scaling up their business, the funding is also available for the various CFDC offices to tap into to organize workshops, presentations, and networking events. “LAMBAC will be holding their first event, ‘Let’s Get Social,’ on Tuesday, March 10 in Mindemoya. “We’re holding an evening of social networking, learning about social media and just plain being social over a delicious meal prepared by The Island Jar,” said Ms. Whynott. There are only 80 spots available so any female interested is asked to contact Sue (now@lambac.org) to reserve her seat.