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Program aims to help local businesswomen

Cranbrook is a town of many entrepreneurial women, something recognized by the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE). The forum is hoping to attract more women entrepreneurs from places like Cranbrook and is offering, in partnership with Teck Resources, is offering grants of $2,500 to women entrepreneurs seeking mentorship and support to grow their business. The deadline for grant application is March 10.

Lisa Niemetscheck, general manager of the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs, said there is particular interest in having Cranbrook women attend this year as Teck Resources noted many viable business opportunities in the city for emerging female entrepreneurs.

The $2,500 grant goes towards travel and admission to the four day FWE ESeries program in Vancouver. The program connects emerging entrepreneurs with successful veterans to gain insight into growth plans, marketing, HR, sales, culture and other challenges that arise while creating a viable business. There are 15 grants available.

The program runs from April 8-11.

"This year we're really trying to expand the reach of our program," Niemetscheck said. "The last 12 years we've been running it in Vancouver and for the most part it's been women from the Lower Mainland in it."

Then last year they condensed the program from a six month weekly meet to an intense four day forum.

She said this year they want to attract more women from places like Cranbrook.

The FWE is a Vancouver-based not-for-profit organization founded in 2002.

"What we've been doing for the last 12 years is providing education, mentorship and empowerment to women entrepreneurs," she said.

The program is for women who already have businesses, but don't yet have the education or connections to further grow their businesses.

"This could be someone who either started a company a year ago to someone who has been in business for 15, 20 years," she said.

The classes are usually as small as 15 to 20 people.

Niemetscheck said participating in the forum bodes well for businesses, as 89 per cent of companies that attended the series are still in business, compared to the national average of 50 per cent of businesses. The program also includes 14 months of mentorship and an FWE year membership.

For more information or to apply, go to www.fwe.ca/programs/e-series/.

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