As part of our efforts to support women business owners nationwide, Square recently partnered with StrikeUP 2022, a digital conference that provides a forum for growth, mentorship and financing to advance the economic empowerment of women and non-binary people and grow the number of women-owned businesses in Canada. The conference, which took place on March 3, 2022, attracted thousands of women entrepreneurs from diverse regions and backgrounds across the country.
This year, Square funded the sponsorships of 10 businesses to lower the barrier to entry. The partnership offered BIPOC women-owned businesses greater visibility in the 2022 StrikeUP Canada conference as ecosystem partners. The 2022 recipients included:
Foster Media Group
Uasau Soap Inc.
Royal Aleppo Food
Jenna’s Nut Free Dessertery
Shades of Gray Indigenous Treats
Len Jo Bakes
The Arepa Republic
The Beige Label Salon
Native Love Notes
Grace Jung, Head of Industry Relations, Payments, and Operations, Square Canada, describes the symbiotic nature of the partnership between Square and StrikeUP. “StrikeUP Canada’s mandate is to build confidence, competencies and connectivity of women entrepreneurs, to each other and an ecosystem to support them to build thriving businesses,” said Jung. “Square offers a broad set of business and financial tools so more Canadian entrepreneurs can fairly and easily participate in the economy. Square and StrikeUP Canada are well aligned in our missions and we’re excited to sponsor StrikeUP 2022 to help support more BIPOC women and non-binary-owned businesses across the country.”
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StrikeUP sponsor Lenore, owner of Kitchener-Waterloo’s LenJo Bakes, expressed her excitement at being part of a national forum for women and non-binary people to help her fellow entrepreneurs succeed in their businesses. “Being a part of StrikeUP, particularly as a sponsor, feels like I’m a part of this incredible force driving the success of female entrepreneurs all across Canada,” she said. “Sponsorship would not have been possible for me without the help of Square, so being empowered in this way basically embodies exactly what StrikeUP is doing for women everywhere!”
Farhana, owner of Calgary’s The Beige Label Salon, was honoured to be a sponsor of StrikeUP. “This sponsorship adds to my purpose of leaving not only the beauty industry, but my fellow women entrepreneurs, in a place of empowerment and fulfillment,” said Farhana. “I truly believe that tapping into our resources, making impactful connections, and sharing our experiences is what is elevating our ecosystem as a whole.”
How Square helped women entrepreneurs during COVID-19
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been especially evident how Square’s tools have helped women entrepreneurs navigate the challenges of operating during such a tumultuous time. “Running a business is hard, especially amidst a pandemic, but it’s easier with the right tools,” said Jung. “We’re focused on building solutions that give women across Canada the peace of mind and freedom they need to focus on their entrepreneurial vision and succeed on their own terms.”
Lenore described how Square was instrumental in helping LenJo Bakes to keep their doors open under COVID-19 restrictions. “Having an online shop, self-serve ordering, and many more innovations that just appeared when we needed them the most eased the transition from in-store shopping to contactless shopping,” she said. “I was trying to focus on just keeping my business open, and Square took away all of the pressure to innovate — and they were so much better at it than I was, since they had a lot of these things in the pipeline already.”
Farhana similarly credits Square with helping her business weather the last couple of years. “So many things have changed since I started my business, but one thing that has remained constant has been using Square,” she said. “At first, I was using it as a payment processor, and now it has fully integrated with my business. It’s our appointment calendar, online booking system, retail store, and inventory tracker. I love that I can do almost everything on one platform.”
Square’s commitment to helping women sellers grow and strengthen their businesses remains a priority. “56% of our sellers in Canada are women — that’s well above the 38% of self-employed Canadians who are women,” said Jung. “We believe that more women across Canada need to be able to fairly and easily participate and thrive in the economy, and we will continue to help level the playing field for them.”