What is a Chamber of Commerce?
A Chamber of Commerce is an organization with a goal to further the interests of the businesses they serve and to advocate at all levels of government for the interests of their members.
CanWCC is the first – and only – Chamber of Commerce for women-identified and non-binary business owners in Canada. (Before 2017, we didn’t exist, so there’s a lot of catching up to do). As a chamber of commerce, we represent your needs with the government. Our position and title as a chamber gives us access to people who impact change.
We’re working hard to make the change you deserve now- not in 100 years.
Why does Canada need a Women's Chamber of Commerce?
Women and non-binary entrepreneurs, founders, and CEOs deserve the same opportunity to reach their full economic potential as men and people who traditionally hold power do. While there is a Canadian Chamber of Commerce, we know not everyone feels welcome, seen, or heard there. CanWCC is here to prioritize the needs of women and non-binary entrepreneurs. Not make them an afterthought.
In 2015, CanWCC founder Nancy Wilson left the security of the corporate world behind in favour of the freedom, flexibility and possibility of entrepreneurship.
She hung her shingle as a freelance accountant serving women-owned businesses – but discovered quickly that being a woman entrepreneur in Canada came with some significant challenges and barriers.
She heard her own frustrations reflected back to her time and again through her clients – and couldn’t help but notice that they didn’t seem to translate to the male ‘experience’ of entrepreneurship.
At the same time, Nancy was looking for community – but found the vast majority of networking groups targeted to women were lacking in the substance she was looking for - real tools for growth and valuable connections that were useful for her business.
So she decided to do something about it – and, in 2018, The Canadian Women’s Chamber of Commerce (CanWCC) was born.
We’re building networks of women on the ground growing successful businesses.
We give you a chance to participate and contribute your voice and experience to building a new strategy for women in business.
We take this strategy as an advocacy agenda to policy makers and demand that they address systemic challenges to create lasting change.
Resources, discounts, and referrals from our partner network to achieve your goals.
Though we offer a ton of benefits you won’t find anywhere else what makes us unique is our ability to effectively advocate on our members’ behalf as the first – and only – Chamber of Commerce for women business owners in Canada.
We have a ‘come as you are’ philosophy
We believe that women-identified entrepreneurs and business owners are competent, innovative, and ambitious.
You do not need to be fixed - the system does.
Our team works every day to connect our members with the information and resources they need to succeed – on their terms – while advocating for the removal of systemic barriers to growth.
CanWCC is partially funded by a grant from the Department of Women and Gender Equality (WAGE).
We value: Community & Connection
We believe that business and community interests are not mutually exclusive. Just as businesses rely on community resources, they also have a responsibility to give back to the communities that support them.
We strive to promote, elevate and nurture cultural values, wellness and businesses that sustain both our communities and ourselves.
We believe in providing inclusive access to CanWCC’s programs, services, and resources and value the work done by all persons involved with the organization, both tangible and intangible.
We recognize the diverse experiences of newly immigrated, racialized, Indigenous, LGBTQIA2S+, gender non-binary, francophone, Northern and rural, low-income, young and senior women, and women with disabilities. We seek input from these communities to ensure programs, services, and resources provide equitable support to all women in business.
We value: Collaboration
We believe that change is better made in collaboration with others.
We choose to focus on complementing, rather than competing with, services, resources, and organizations in Canada’s business ecosystem. We value mutual benefit for all parties in all partnerships with members, sponsors, partner organizations, governments and the public.
We believe that compassion and empathy are the building blocks of connection and value the humanity, autonomy, and independence of all individuals.
Honestly, inclusion, and openness are essential to creating connection, and we strive to live these values in all interactions with members, sponsors, partners, governments and the public.
We value transparency and openness in our partnerships with members, sponsors, partner organizations, government and the public, and strive to be transparent in all communications. All advocacy, policies, programs, resources, and services are non-partisan.
We value: Change
We value agility, adaptability, iteration and self-efficacy in operations, advocacy, policies, programs, resources, services, and in all relationships with members, sponsors, partner organizations, governments and the public.
We strive to ensure CanWCC remains responsive to changes in the Canadian business ecosystem and member-voiced concerns. We will remain open to change and relevant to our membership for the lifetime of the organization.
Founder & CEO
Nancy Wilson is the Founder, CEO and chief rabble-rouser here at CanWCC.
In addition, Nancy is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CGA) with more than a decade of accounting experience in various corporate roles. She also owned and operated an accounting and business advisory firm serving women business owners and entrepreneurs.
Nancy launched CanWCC in January 2018 out of frustration regarding the barriers, lack of resources and difficulty finding connection she experienced as a business owner – and has been working ever since to create a powerful network of women through which to drive change and create equality in Canadian business.
Nancy is a driven and accomplished feminist entrepreneur who loves learning new things, meeting new people, discussing the philosophical underpinnings of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and watching horror movies.
Member Success Coordinator
Nobu leads our Membership Growth and Success activities across Canada lending her deep expertise on community building and engagement . Graciously over the past year, she’s led strategic communication opportunities and helped grow CanWCC’s new community initiative - CanACT. Nobu has also managed the hiring, training and onboarding of our volunteer team.
Having relocated to Canada in 2017, Nobu brings an extraordinary flare for writing, marketing, PR and outstanding high-touch communication experience to our team at CanWCC. With her past experience at companies like L’oreal, AMEX and the U.K Gove
Nobu is currently on Maternity Leave.
Founding Team Member (Currently on Sabbatical)
Paula is a social media and events manager who brings an eclectic mix of start-up, marketing, B2C, film, and television experience to her role of community manager at CanWCC.
Paula graduated from Ryerson University in 2007 with a BFA in film studies. She worked on projects for National Geographic, CBC, CTV, MTV and more, before finding her sweet spot in social media management.
A member of the CanWCC leadership team from day one, she built our social media and community strategy from the ground up. Paula expertly uses a variety of strategies and platforms to propel engagement and community growth and is a critical member of our leadership team because of it.
In her spare time, Paula takes quirky and colourful photos using Playmobil toys and posts them on her Instagram account, @PCLFletcher.