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Alberta's women-owned businesses to receive support from federal government

A federal program is providing $860,000 to support two organizations that provide resources for women-led companies and gender-diverse entrepreneurs in the Prairie provinces.

The initiative is supported by Prairies Economic Development Canada, and provides just under half the funds to the Calgary Immigrant Women's Association, and the slightly larger portion to an organization called Movement51.

Bobbie Racette, founder and CEO of Virtual Gurus, has received assistance from Movement51 in the past.

She says this will help break down barriers for other entrepreneurs like her.

As a queer, Indigenous female CEO in the tech industry, she says she faced hardships and discrimination starting out.

"Nobody would hire me just because of who I am and who I look like, and so I needed to find a job, so I created my own work-from-home position," said Racette.

Her tech business continues to grow, with more than 40 employees and increasing opportunities to mentor other startups.

Another 550 women across the Prairies are expected to benefit from Movement51, as part of the funding program announced Friday in Calgary.

The other recipient organization is the Calgary Immigrant Women's Association (CIWA).

Its portion of program funding will focus on newcomer entrepreneurs, providing training covering business plans, business registration and licences, and finances.

"These two organizations are going to help women entrepreneurs learn, but also start off and support their business development and growth," said George Chahal, Member of Parliament for Calgary Skyview.

CIWA leaders say this program is timely.

"It is no secret that the pandemic hit women harder than anyone, and specifically immigrant women," said Paula Calderon, CEO of CIWA.

Lara Jane King received training through CIWA earlier this year, and launched her handmade jewelry business When Janey Makes in October.

"It's like I found my passion. I want to make things and I made things but I didn't sell them, so it was just piled up in my place. So I thought, why not start a business? So here we are."

The CIWA training program includes 60 women, bringing the total estimated to benefit from the federal funding to more than 600. Top Stories

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