Saskatoon

Saskatoon Open Door Society launches business hub for immigrant women

The Saskatoon Open Door Society has started a program for immigrant women looking to start their own businesses. Dubbed "Women's Business Hub," the program includes mentorship and instruction from industry experts. 

A commercial kitchen, sewing machines and other resources are also available

One woman pitches her idea during a Women's Business Hub competition. (Lindsay Woods/Open Door Society)

The Saskatoon Open Door Society has started a program for immigrant women looking to start their own businesses.

Dubbed "Women's Business Hub," the program includes mentorship and instruction from industry experts. 

A commercial kitchen, sewing machines and other resources are also available to the women at reduced rates. 

Katarina Bizh moved from Ukraine to Saskatoon four years ago. Bizh realized English proficiency is incredibly important when trying to settle in Canada, so she decided to open her own online school to teach English. She just finished her business plan with the hub.

"Without the language, you will not be able to find a job, you will not be able to find friends," she said in an interview for CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning.

"They helped me to realize everything basically. I had this vision and mission of what I want to do, but I didn't know how [I could] do that."  

Bizh says she found the hub very helpful. (Submitted by Katarina Bizh)

Oyin Ajibola came from Nigeria to Saskatoon in 2018. She is starting a digital magazine through the hub to help other immigrant people get the essential information they need to settle in Canada. 

"I rapidly got to hear from my audience that there is a lot of misinformation and lack of information [with] regards to settling and integrating in the Canadian environment for immigrants out there," she said. 

During the first year in Canada, there are a lot of supports for newcomers and decent access to information, Ajibola said, but it's when people want to take it a step further beyond just the basics where they can run into roadblocks. 

"I realized there's a lot I can do to provide to provide the required and reliable information that Canadian immigrants need to successfully settle and thrive in all areas of life."

Before people apply for the Women's Business Hub, they should attend an information session, according to Open Door's website. Those are taking place Friday and next week. The deadline for applying is Feb. 19.

With files from Saskatoon Morning

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