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WOSEN’s Grow Program

Do you want to move your business forward with confidence?

Are you looking to build traction, expand your partnership and network opportunities, and develop yourself further as a social entrepreneur?

We’re here to help!

CSI and the Women of Ontario Social Enterprise Network (WOSEN) have designed a twenty-week program to support a cohort of ten women social entrepreneurs as they build, refine, and test their business models, and learn new skills to help them succeed. We serve trans and cis women, and programming is inclusive of Two-Spirit, non-binary, and genderqueer individuals.

You will collaborate with a supportive community of facilitators, experts, coaches, and a cohort of peers as you explore two main themes throughout the program: 1) business model development and 2) leadership. We will support you through an immersive learning journey with a hands-on, practical approach to refining and validating your business model. You will engage in focused research to identify the key market gaps you want to address and conduct interviews with potential clients and partners to help you validate your business model and test critical assumptions.

Our team will support you in developing emergent strategies to refine and differentiate your product or service based on your research insights. You will gain leadership skills and competencies required to better understand your market and build your business strategy with intention and impact. Participation is free, we take no equity, and your intellectual property remains your own!

Applications for Grow cohort are now closed.

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When and Where

Weekly on Tuesdays until March 1, 2022. No workshops on December 21 & 28. Our programming will take place on Zoom and Slack. 

Onboarding & Orientation: Week 0 (Oct 12)

Get to know your cohort and how to navigate our online program.

Part I

Business Model Refinement & Implementation: Weeks 1-7 (Oct 19 – Nov 30)

Engage in hands-on, practical research to identify the key market gaps you want to address. Learn the process of creating a sustainable business model and apply your learnings in real time towards your business. Connect with experts to learn how to conduct market research and interviews on a budget to iterate your business model based on your stakeholder needs. Get support with networking and creating effective partnerships.

Part II

Integrate Insights & Develop Your Strategy: Weeks 8-9 (Dec 7-14)

Assimilate data you’ve collected and integrate insights from your research and interviews to develop your strategy moving forward.

NOTE: No workshops on December 21st & 28th

Part III

Build Traction: Weeks 12-19 (Jan 4 – Feb 22)

Continue to iterate your business model and learn more about financial modelling to make better informed financial decisions. Meet our marketing, sales, and communications experts to help you develop more effective strategies for communicating your offering to your target audience. You will also have the opportunity to participate in a WOSEN Pitch Showcase & Networking Event! Deliver your pitch and connect with potential partners and funders in the entrepreneurship sector.

Offboarding: Week 20 (March 1, 2022)

Connect to relevant resources and explore your next steps for growth and support.

After the Grow program is done, you will have 1) gained confidence in knowing how to refine and validate your business model, 2) improved your leadership skills to support your team and 3) developed a clear strategy as you grow your enterprise and navigate forward.

The Grow program will allow you to develop core entrepreneurial competencies as you work on validating your social enterprise model. Here are some of the business and leadership skills you will learn from this course: 

  • Business Model Refinement & Implementation: Learn the process of refining and implementing your business model through an iterative design process.
  • Financial Modeling: Forecast the financial performance of your business and make better informed choices and financial decisions.
    Strategy & Decision Making: Select the best course of action that will bring about authentic change.
  • Design & Systems Thinking: Understand the numerous factors that contribute to a problem you want to solve.
  • Critical Thinking & Research Skills: Learn how to collect, organize, analyze, and interpret data to make informed decisions and iterations to your business model.
  • Networking & Creating Partnerships: Build your network and transform your network connections into collaborations and partnerships.
  • Interviewing Skills: Learn how to connect with key stakeholders to gather important insights.
  • Active Listening: Learn how to listen deeply and effectively in order to build strong relationships with stakeholders.
  • Storytelling: Craft and tell stories to understand the impact you want to make, and learn how to connect with audiences.
  • Confidence & Awareness: Gain inner strength to connect to your values and goals.

Important Timelines

  • Applications Close – September 12 (by 11:59pm)
  • Selected Participants Notified – September 20
  • Orientation & Onboarding: Week 0 – Tuesday October 12
  • Program Workshops – Online, Weekly on Tuesdays until March 1, 2022
  • NOTE: No workshops on December 21 & 28

Applicant Requirements

  • You are a woman, Two-Spirit, non-binary or genderqueer individual
  • You live in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) or the Central Ontario region
  • You are actively working on your business and are looking to refine and validate your business model
  • You have developed or are developing a product or service that will create measurable positive impact, and you currently have little or no customer traction
  • You are at least 18 years old
  • You are motivated and open to learning, feedback, and new ideas
  • You want to be part of and contribute to an outstanding community of women
  • You are available to join weekly workshop programming (Tuesdays from 1pm – 3:30pm ET)

Canadian citizenship is not required to participate in the Grow program. 

Participant Commitment

  • Attend weekly workshop sessions on Tuesdays from 1pm – 3:30pm ET
  • Be able to commit a minimum of ten hours per week
  • Participate in a weekly peer support session (throughout the program)
  • Complete relevant action work & interviews to refine your business model
  • Attend eight one-hour, one-to-one coaching sessions (an eight hour commitment outside of class)
  • Complete participant program evaluation surveys (baseline & post-program)
  • Always show respect and empathy towards your fellow participants, and support WOSEN’s commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity, and accessibility

Please note that we only have capacity to support 10 participants for this Grow program. Once you apply for this program:

  • Applicants will be screened based on eligibility criteria
  • We will reach out to a select number of applicants to conduct a thirty-minute outreach phone call to learn more about your goals and needs, and to assess program fit
  • Selected candidates will be notified on September 20 (via email) and will need to confirm their spot by September 24

Confirmed participants will receive an onboarding package by October 5 and will start orientation and onboarding on October 12.

Apply for Grow!

Questions? For more information, please contact Mitalie Makhani, Senior Programs Manager & WOSEN Central Ontario Program Lead, at mitalie[at]socialinnovation[dot]ca.

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The Women of Ontario Social Enterprise Network (WOSEN) offers a suite of programs for women interested in starting or growing their own ventures that seek to have a positive social, cultural or environmental impact through their operations, and/or the sale of their products or services.

WOSEN is dedicated to equity and inclusion, and the term “women” is used collectively throughout this page. We serve trans and cis women, and our programming is inclusive of Two-Spirit, non-binary, and genderqueer individuals. We prioritize those from underserved and underrepresented communities, including Indigenous folks, folks in rural or remote regions, racialized folks, newcomer folks, LGBTQ2+, and folks with disabilities.

Our programming works to unleash the entrepreneurial energy and capacity of women who have solutions that put people and the planet first. Together, we are redesigning how business supports are provided so these entrepreneurs can build the skills, make the connections, and receive the coaching needed to achieve their missions.

See all the programs within the WOSEN initiative here!

Partners and Funders

WOSEN is funded in part by the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario. The Government of Canada is advancing gender equality, women’s economic empowerment, and supporting women entrepreneurs through the new Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, announced in the Budget 2018. It is a $2-billion investment that seeks to double the number of women-owned businesses by 2025.

Fed Dev Ontario

Women of Ontario Social Enterprise Network

Part of the CSI Accelerates Initiative

At CSI, we support entrepreneurs’ success with resources, mentors, expertise and connections that lead to viable enterprising solutions. Learn more about our approach here

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