By Viviane Monteiro
In the month when International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8th, the debate on the importance of valuing gender diversity and the inclusion of all people who are part of underrepresented groups in society, such as women, black people, indigenous people, and LGBTQi+, resurfaces.
In an effort to contribute to the development of initiatives that can reduce Brazilian inequalities, the Chamber of Commerce Brazil-Canada (CCBC), through its Diversity and Inclusion Committee, in conjunction with the Canadian Consulate, a country recognized as one of the countries that invest the most in female entrepreneurship and gender equality, has acted strongly in this segment.
Among the actions adopted by CCBC and by the Diversity Committee are the quarterly meetings and the annual Brazil-Canada Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Forum, which discusses concepts and important aspects in ethnic and gender diversity. Topics on accessibility and the obstacles that people with disabilities face on a daily basis are also presented, from different perspectives.
“We have noticed that women need guidance when exporting their products, and we have created a guide to assist them in this process”, explains the coordinator of the Diversity and Inclusion Committee, Esther Donio Bellegarde Nunes, also highlighting that this audience needs guidance on how to conduct a presentation, how to participate in a meeting with potential buyers, and understanding different cultures. “In this, we can help both as CCBC and as the Diversity Committee. We have taken some initiatives in this regard,” she affirms.
Exchange of experiences
The Consul and Senior Trade Commissioner of Canada to Brazil, Anouk Bergeron-Laliberté, coordinator of the CCBC Diversity Committee through the Canadian Consulate, explained that both countries have something to learn from each other in stimulating programs for women-owned business.
Anouk acknowledges, however, that Canada has a consolidated promotion policy, which is implemented by the federal government, the provinces, and the private sector. In Brazil, although there are excellent actions by governments and the private sector, being a country with greater diversity, there are more challenges for a uniform impact.
For example, she points out, that São Paulo, being a more structured state, has important actions that can serve as inspiration for other countries, including Canada. She cites the initiative of entrepreneur Luiza Helena Trajano, owner of the retail store chain Magazine Luiza, who created, along with other executives, the Women of Brazil Group, which aims to engage civil society in achieving improvements for the country.
Another relevant point in Canada is that there are several laws that determine public policy programs that encourage the promotion of women entrepreneurs with resources to support these initiatives.
Entrepreneurship in the post-pandemic
According to a new survey by US-based GoDaddy, Operating Company, a cloud platform dedicated to small businesses and domain registration for small and independent businesses around the world, Canada’s female audience have reached a historic level of interest in creating their own businesses. The rate reached 80% of Canadian women with an interest in entrepreneurship.
The survey – which analyzed opportunities and challenges associated with female entrepreneurship in Canada – revealed that the overwhelming majority of women have started or plan to start a small business both in search of financial opportunities and “lifestyle flexibility” in the post-pandemic period.
The result pointed to a significant change compared to 2021, when another similar study found that the majority of female millennials cited “passion” as the biggest motivation for investing in small business.
The survey was released the week of this year’s International Women’s Day.
Check out the calendar of initiatives of CCBC’s Diversity Committee in 2023
CCBC has released the calendar of Committee Meetings planned for this year. The next one will be on April 19th, under the theme: Ageism and gender. The other meeting will take place on July 26th, when “Mentoring in DE&I for companies in the private equity and venture capital sector” will be discussed.
In turn, the last Committee Meeting of this year will take place on October 25th, when there will be a chat with representatives from four renowned institutions in the Diversity field:
1) Private Enterprise Initiative;
2) LGBT Business Forum;
3) Generations Forum;
4) Women 360 Movement. To end the year, the Diversity Committee will hold the 2023 Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Forum on November 29th.
Want to know how the 2022 forum went? Access the details here.