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Lloydminster women’s conference looks to connect local entrepreneurs with industry experts

In honour of International Women’s Day, StartUp Lloydminster will be holding a conference promoting women in business.

The Open City: Women in Business conference is returning to the Border City after its inaugural run last year. The lunch conference provides local businesswoman with a place to network and pitch ideas to one another.

“We’re expanding it doing our safari networking, our fishbowl discussion (panel) and our storm in a teacup where if someone is thinking about either opening a business or expanding a business, they’ll have an opportunity to get some advice from experts in a variety of fields,” says Glenys Reeves-Gibson, acting executive director of StartUp Lloydminster.

Reeves-Gibson mentions that all the speakers and experts will be local entrepreneurs who will share advice on financing, business planning and other topics. She also points out the disproportionate statistics when it comes to women in business.

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“When women tend to pitch a business idea, 32 per cent of the time they are able to access the support and funding that they need versus 68 per cent of the time for males. We know there is an opportunity to build some of that skill base and confidence.”

She says only 16 per cent of small and medium enterprises are women-owned and is an untapped market for economic growth.

StartUp Lloydminster has partnered with Project Gazelle for the conference. Project Gazelle is a program that helps women entrepreneurs access different support. Reeves-Gibbs says the program has been successful since it was introduced last September and they’ve reached out to over 500 people across Northwestern Saskatchewan and Northern Alberta.

“It’s been very positive. StartUp Lloydminster is one of the Project Gazelle incubators which means it offers specialized coaching and training for women and we’ve had a good uptake and are working with a number of women entrepreneurs in Lloydminster and area.”

The Open City event will be held at the Legacy Centre on March 9 and starts at 11 a.m.

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