Paro Centre – We are finding new ways to empower women within their communities


Paro CentreTHUNDER BAY – The region continues to evolve using the latest technology to reach out past traditional barriers. The PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise have just launched a new and innovative distance education series designed specifically for Aboriginal women in Northern Ontario. This ground-breaking new training will connect prominent business leaders from across the region with Aboriginal women from northern communities for the very first time.

The training is comprised of six online learning workshops that will be conducted throughout the month of May. They will provide essential resources for women who are looking to start, grow or build a business and new networks across the region. The theme of the workshops is creating clusters; which is when a
group of three or more people/groups come together to share resources, maximize strengths, provide mutual support and work together.

PARO Executive Director, Rosalind Lockyer, says “The system and benefits of clustering for business growth is common practice all around the world but the concept hasn’t yet been realized within remote Aboriginal communities. Geographic isolation in particular continues to be a major barrier for women living in remote and rural communities. It prevents them from connecting and collaborating in the ways that many of us take for granted in our own communities. By offering this training online, PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise is really addressing an important need. We are finding new ways to empower women within their communities, while promoting economic development in the North.”

Paro Centre online engagementRecent data indicates that the number of Aboriginal entrepreneurs and business owners continues to increase across Canada on an annual basis. The workshops have been designed to be culturally sensitive by applying every day Aboriginal culture in the way facilitators share their professional knowledge and exchange ideas.

PARO Aboriginal Mentoring Coordinator Linda McGuire says “This is a new and leading-edge approach to training that appeals directly to the needs of Aboriginal women in Northern Ontario. We know that it is the Anishnawbe way of life to work in clusters; craft groups, cultural and traditional circles are great example of clusters in a traditional setting. Through this training, PARO will show participants how to apply traditional practices to achieve business success. The workshops really focus on the journey. Together, we will look forward at the path to self-sufficiency and teach women how dreams can come true.”

The workshops will also provide participants with an opportunity to establish contacts outside of their community while learning lessons learned from other women entrepreneurs. The training is being offered via Contact North Contact Nord’s web conferencing technology. The workshops topics include:

  • May 3- What is a Cluster? Jessica Hill from Women’s Economic Council; May 10- How a Cluster Works?: Sandi Boucher- Centre for Change;
  • May 17- My First May 17- My First Step- Pathway to Success: Linda McGuire, Cassie Riddle, and Darlene Angeconeb;
  • May 24- My “Shooniah” ( My Money): Kim Bird – Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund;
  • May 30- Social Networking- “Swinging the Web”: Alice Sabourin;

The PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise has helped thousands of women across Northern Ontario to start, grow or build new business opportunities.

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