THUNDER BAY – Business – Women across the North continue to have support from programming designed to enhance entrepreneurial skills and increase business success and growth. Today, local MPP Bill Mauro and Lesley Bell, a volunteer with the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) were visiting the PARO Presents Gift Shop on May Street, they formally congratulated PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise on receiving a $352,600 grant from OTF’s province-wide granting stream. The three-year grant will be used to build on opportunities for entrepreneurs to start and capitalize on business opportunities in Northern Ontario.
“I am pleased that our government, through the Ontario Trillium Foundation, is able to provide $352,600 of support towards enabling these Northern Ontario women and youth to achieve their potential. The PARO program is tailored to the needs of new entrepreneurs in our communities, giving them the necessary support and skills they need to succeed,” commented Bill Mauro, MPP Thunder Bay-Atikokan.
PARO is using these funds to help with the costs involved with salaries, training opportunities and producing materials for PARO’s training and mentoring program designed to help women and young adults develop their own businesses and be able to access procurement opportunities in 36 Northern Ontario communities. It will also support outreach activities for Aboriginal and Francophone women in the North.
“We want to help women make their mark on the Ontario economy. This crucial funding allows PARO to improve access to enterprise and social enterprise by development training, coaching and tools, while expanding networks for entrepreneurs at a decreased cost. The funding is instrumental in helping grow Northern communities. The funding received from the Ontario Trillium Foundation helps us meet these needs. With more women wanting to get involved in the business field, it is important that we are able to provide each aspiring entrepreneur with as much experience and support as possible. With increased funding it makes it possible for us to do this effectively and ensure that local businesses that begin at PARO are able to prosper.”
Since the launch of the not-for-profit organization in 1995, PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise has focused on diversifying its programs to meet the demands and needs of Northern Ontario communities. PARO Presents is operated by PARO women, and is also a part of the Centre’s ongoing business-training program. The shop shelves are filled with unique products from the local entrepreneurs and is an important resource in teaching aspiring entrepreneurs about retail sales.