PEI

New rural business women's centre a place of 'support and inspiration'

The P.E.I. Business Women’s Association has expanded its reach with a new Rural Women’s Business Centre located in Central Bedeque which officially opened Tuesday.

The centre will offer training sessions, workshops, co-working space

Carol Rybinsky, owner of the Tyne Valley Teas Café, stands in the new Rural Women’s Business Centre in Central Bedeque. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

The P.E.I. Business Women's Association has expanded its reach with a new Rural Women's Business Centre located in Central Bedeque.

The centre held its grand opening Tuesday morning.

"The centre will be a place for women to find the support and inspiration they need to succeed in their business endeavours, whether they're start-up entrepreneurs, established business owners, mid-career business professionals or students," executive director Margaret Magner said in a news release.

The centre was established to make it easier to help women who don't have the time to drive to Charlottetown. It includes an advisory group of women from central Queens to West Prince to guide its development.

The 2,500 square-foot office is located on the third and fourth floors of the Wm. Callbeck Centre.

The centre will offer:

  • A co-working space.
  • Training sessions and workshops.
  • Guest speakers.
  • Networking events.
  • Business advising and assistance.
  • Access to technology to participate in events remotely from the centre.

The centre aims to provide women entrepreneurs with the training and resources needed to overcome obstacles on the road to building a business, including workshops, networking and mentoring.

The new Rural Women's Business Centre is designed to be an incubator of ideas, a place for entrepreneurial women to make contacts, receive mentoring, training and education. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

"Having a centre here and really recognizing that rural business women need a little extra support, need someone to reach out to sort of help them and support them is really great," Carol Rybinsky, owner of Tyne Valley Teas Café said.

"To have other people there to sort of help me learn, to sort of toot my own horn and take those risks has been really really useful."

Find markets, have growth

The P.E.I. Business Women's Association received nearly $500,000 in federal and provincial funding to help create the business centre.

"We want to help women in terms of creating a business, help them with their business plan, help women who are just in the early stages of their business," Magner said.

Magner said there are a variety of ways the centre might be able to help, from using social media effectively, to succession planning for women thinking about retirement.

The new Rural Women's Business Centre aims to help women build confidence in their business vision and make them aware of new opportunities for doing business. (Tom Steepe/CBC)

"I actually think it's easier to start a business," said Ronda Bellefontaine, owner of Like Nobody's Business.

"The challenge really becomes, once you've started, is to keep it going and to remain financially viable, to find markets and have growth. I think the resources here at the centre are going to be great for guiding people and providing information."

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