THRIVE; Prospering PARO Women conference tackles barriers and enablers for women in business

PARO Centre offers resources for women and youth. Supported by Trillium Foundation

THUNDER BAY – On November 24th, PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise held their annual THRIVE; Prospering PARO Women conference, bringing together women in business to share the teachings and successes that come with navigating the business world, post-COVID.

The conference, held at the Valhalla Inn in Thunder Bay, covers a variety of topics pertaining to both emerging entrepreneurs and scaling business professionals. THRIVE sees diversity as a strength, and touches on the needs and goals of Indigenous women, Francophone women, 2SLGBTQQIA+ individuals, women who identify with disability, and those who are new to Canada.

Says Rosalind Lockyer, CEO of PARO; “THRIVE is all about giving women entrepreneurs the chance to meet face-to-face post pandemic – a place where they can talk about triumphs and challenges, what barriers they’ve faced and what they’ve learned. Whether they’re new to the world of business or have a lifetime of experience, there’s so much to be learned from each other.”

The conference also discusses how COVID-19 disproportionately affected women-owned businesses in Ontario; data shows that women shouldered the majority of increased child and elder care responsibilities during the pandemic, and women-dominated sectors such as small business, retail, food and services, were the most vulnerable to the economic losses of the pandemic.

Continues Rosalind Lockyer, CEO of PARO; “Despite the hardship that befell women-owned businesses during the pandemic, PARO women are optimistic about the future. The number of woman-owned businesses is on the rise, both locally and globally, and with the determination to break down barriers that women have demonstrated in business, we see nothing but a bright future.” 

The THRIVE; Prospering PARO Women conference also features keynotes from Cheekbone Beauty founder, Jenn Harper, and comic, storyteller, and mentor, Deborah Kimmett. It is being held as both an in-person and virtual event, inviting individuals from all across Ontario to partake in the teachings of new and seasoned business professionals.